Philosophy and Art History

Two female students in a coridoor looking at a art work

Studies for the real world

In the School of Philosophy and Art History, you will take a bold view of art and ideas, and root your work in real-world issues. You will question everything, you will always challenge why, and your ability to combine imagination with critical thinking will put you at the forefront of making a difference in a crucial time of change.

Dive straight into your studies at Essex and choose from a range of degrees, including philosophy, art history and curating. Interested in studying more than one subject? You can choose to combine these areas, or study them alongside a variety of other subjects, such as film, law, politics and literature.

Perhaps you're interested in studying topics which transcend across disciplines, such as the environment, society, culture and the world in which we live in? We've got you covered. The Interdisciplinary Studies Centre, also housed within our School gives you the opportunity to study courses which combine topics from across the humanities and social sciences, offering degrees in Social Change, American (US) Studies, European Studies, Global Studies, Latin American Studies and Liberal Arts.


In philosophy, we are known for our unique combination of Anglo-American and European philosophy, and as a leading centre for critical theory, phenomenology, German idealism and medical humanities. As an Essex philosophy student you'll benefit from our close-knit community and have your future fully invested in by our passionate academics from the moment you arrive. 

Art History

You will be taught by experts in the history and theory of art and visual cultures from the Renaissance to the present, and in curating cutting-edge exhibitions in museums and galleries around the country. We believe that art history has real world implications, and we prepare you for them by offering you the chance to handle real artworks, use digital media to understand museum displays and curate an exhibition.  As an art history student, you will learn to see the world through new perspectives and it will become clear that the impact studying an art history degree can have on contemporary culture is unquestionable. At Essex, we redefine what it means to study art history.


Discover our courses Chat to our students and staff


Philosophy on social media:

Art history on social media:


choose us?

92% of our Philosophy and Art History students are in employment or further study (Graduate Outcomes 2020)
Top 20 for art history (The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020)
6th among art history departments in the UK for research excellence (REF 2014, mainstream universities, THE 2014)
Experience artworks first hand with our Essex Collection of Art from Latin America - the largest collection of its kind in Europe
University of the Year (Times Higher Education Awards 2018)
Ranked 22nd in the UK for Philosophy in the QS World University Rankings by Subject (2021)
Essex graduation ceremony
Male kneeling on the floor writing on large piece of paper containing collated notes and snippets
Dr Matt Lodder
two members of staff hanging art in a gallery
UoTY winners 2018
Female student writing on a whiteboard
Artwork above bed in a hotel room depicting forces member in pillow fight with civilian militant
Our research

Our school features a dynamic group of art historians and philosophers. Our art historians investigate the production and reception of images and built environments, across cultures and media from the early modern period to the present. Our philosophers are also internationally recognised for research in critical theory, existentialism, phenomenology, and medical humanities.

Explore our research
Latest news
Colombia's fragile tropical highland explored in 431-year-old chapel
18 Oct 2021
MA exhibition brings art and philosophy into healing harmony
03 Jun 2021
Exploration of colour wins student an exhibition in Times Square
12 May 2021
Two female students talking
Get in touch with us

If you would like any more information about Philosophy and Art History or have a question you would like to ask, please complete this short enquiry form.

Contact the School of Philosophy and Art History
Contact the School of Philosophy and Art History
Wivenhoe Park, Colchester, CO4 3SQ