Art History

If you have an interest in art history, this is the ideal course for you. Covering art history from the 15th century to the present day, it will help you approach architecture, painting and sculpture with a fresh and informed eye. You will study many of the major art movements and works of a variety of artists from different periods, learning to identify the differences between styles and movements and developing a better appreciation of art in its historical context.



Course requirements

You will need some basic essay-writing skills. This is an online course so you will also need access to the internet.

Duration of study

As a guideline, you should allow for approximately 80 hours' study time, plus additional time for completing assignments. You will have tutor support for a period of up to 12 months from the date of enrolment.


Module 1: Studying art history
  • What is art history?

Module 2: An introduction to art history
  • Discussing works of art
  • Themes and topics in art

Module 3: Art in context
  • Historical and cultural contexts
  • How art is made and displayed

Module 4: Painting, sculpture and architecture in Italy and Flanders from c.1400 to c.1520
  • Painting in Italy and Flanders from c.1400 to c.1520
  • Sculpture and architecture in Italy from c.1400 to c.1520

Module 5: Painting, sculpture and architecture in Europe and the USA from c.1906 to c.1980
  • Painting in Europe and the USA from c.1906 to c.1980
  • Sculpture and architecture in Europe and the USA from c.1906 to c.1980


This course has:
  • 12 assignments

Set texts and resources

Additional texts:
  • Gombrich, The Story of Art, 16th edition, Phaidon
  • Murray, Penguin Dictionary of Art and Artists, Thames and Hudson
  • Murray, The Art of the Italian Renaissance, Thames and Hudson
  • Murray, The Architecture of the Italian Renaissance, Thames and Hudson
  • Olson, Italian Renaissance Sculpture, Thames and Hudson
  • Frampton, Modern Architecture: A Critical History, Thames and Hudson
  • Lynton, The Story of Modern Art, Phaidon

Using learn@nec

Your course is delivered online through learn@nec, so it’s important that you have access to a computer and the internet. We recommend that your computer is using one of the following operating systems and browsers to improve your experience of using learn@nec:

Operating systems:
  • Windows 7 or later
  • Mac OSX 10.7 or later
  • Google Chrome OS
  • Android 4.4 or later, using the Chrome browser
  • iOS 6 or later, using the Safari browser

  • Google Chrome (latest version)
  • Mozilla Firefox (latest version)
  • Safari 6 or later
  • Internet Explorer 10 or later (excluding IE11)

learn@nec may work on other operating systems and browsers with some restrictions. You can see full details of the system requirements by clicking here.

How to enrol

There are several ways to enrol with NEC:
  • Click the ‘Enrol now’ button above.
  • Telephone us on 0800 389 2839 or +44(0)1223 400200 and speak to our course advice team.
  • Ask us to send you an enrolment form which you can complete and return by post.

Paying in instalments

It’s your choice: you can pay in full at the point of enrolment, or you can spread the cost over monthly instalments with our finance offer. To pay in instalments you will need to enrol by telephone.

Representative example:
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Monthly payment:  
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  6 months

The National Extension College (NEC) is the trading name of the Open School Trust, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 676788). Finance is provided through the Deko platform by a number of lenders. You will be offered the best rate available based on your credit history and the lenders’ credit decision policies.

Deko is a trading name of Pay4Later Ltd who act as a credit intermediary. They are registered in England and Wales (company number 06447333) and authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (register number 728646). For more information please go to or visit
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Art History Course Sample

Thank you for your interest in this course.

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What our students say...

"Before choosing NEC, I looked at several other distance learning programmes and the NEC was the best value for the quality of the courses and the help available. I have loved the excellent course materials and layout of the information, it’s been clear and easy to understand. The support from the tutors has also been exceptional, they are more qualified than any teacher I ever encountered in 13 years of Canadian education."
— Thomas Blampied