Programmes for Credit

A UNIQUE PARTNERSHIP between the University of Buckingham and the British Institute of Florence offers the only UK university undergraduate art history programme in Florence. Students have an unforgettable experience learning about art and living for a term surrounded by monuments and masterpieces in the city where the Renaissance began. The University of Buckingham Art History in Florence Term Programme comprises courses designed and approved by the University and delivered by the British Institute. Eligible students are those registered for an Art History BA (Art History and Heritage Management, or Art History Major with a Minor Subject in English Literature, History, Journalism, or Language).

The courses are also open to visiting students, who can apply either to the University or to the Institute, and register as either Associate Students (students who take one course or more and complete the coursework assessments for University credit), or as Auditing Students (students who take one course or more without assessment for the award of credit). Students from other institutions can apply to take either individual courses or the whole programme for credit, subject to approval by the University and their own institution. The courses are taught by the Institute’s expert tutors, who are recognised by the University as Visiting Fellows in Art History. All the Florence courses are assessed by coursework: there are no examinations. All classes are delivered in English.

The Buckingham Art History in Florence Programme extends over the Autumn Term (from September until December). Students taking the whole programme complete three courses during the term, each of which attracts fifteen credits. The courses available are:


threeINTRODUCTION TO ART HISTORY: Style and Iconography
This course provides students with an introduction to two key areas of art historical analysis and recognition. This introduction serves as a primary foundation from which they develop their ability to view art and architecture technically, academically and formally. Students are encouraged to contextualise what they see and to remain aware of the importance of the circumstances of every artwork’s conception. They consider how artworks can be viewed as bearers of both explicit and implicit meaning, and they carry out close readings of artworks in order to observe the significance of specific details. The principal aim of the course is to make students aware that each work of art that they scrutinise is an articulate and articulated object, and that they have the capacity to understand what they see through systematic visual examination. The course will introduce students to fundamental developments in art history exemplified in the work of selected writers, who laid the subject’s foundations.


twoFLORENCE: History and Culture, Art and Architecture
This course provides an introduction to the history, art and architecture of Florence from the "comune" and republic of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries to the court culture created by the Medici princes. By focusing on a selection of major monuments and key works studied in relation to their style, purpose and context, students develop foundation skills in visual analysis and historical interpretation. They develop an awareness and understanding of the materials and methods that art historians use in order to situate works of art and architecture in their appropriate historical, cultural and creative contexts. This course encourages students to consider the historical background of the major monuments and masterpieces of Florence’s medieval and Renaissance art and architecture, and it develops their practical skills for identifying, defining and discussing key features of specific artworks. Students engage directly with original artworks on their class visits to sites and collections, in which they study buildings, paintings and sculptures in close detail. 


This course introduces students to the history of techniques and the characteristics of specific techniques, in the Early Renaissance and Renaissance periods. Through the analysis of works of art as well as through practical workshops, the course covers Renaissance artistic methods and highlights the importance of painting, drawing and sculpture for artists in the fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. It examines the ways in which artists were trained and acquired their skills, and also how artists’ workshops and academies functioned. Furthermore, this course explores the impact that the conservation and cleaning of Renaissance artworks has had on art historical studies, and it introduces students to some of the controversies and ethical issues surrounding current debates about conservation and restoration. Students develop a sensitivity to the question of condition and become equipped with basic knowledge of Renaissance artist techniques and workshop practices, and this consolidates and enhances their understanding of Renaissance artworks.


Italian Language, English as a Second Language, and Life Drawing can also be studied by separate arrangement with the British Institute (additional courses are not accredited by the University).

The University of Buckingham Art History in Florence Term is an integral part of the Art History BA Programme, which follows the distinctive Buckingham model of an intensively taught degree taught over two years, each of four terms, with a concentration on teaching in smaller groups, more contact hours, scheduled study visits for each taught course, and individual tutorials. Buckingham is the only independent not for profit university in the United Kingdom with a Royal Charter.  It has consistently been rated at the forefront of the National Student Survey for student satisfaction since 2006, achieving 97% in 2016 against the sector average of 86% and ranking equal first nationally (Source: Times Higher Education, 10 August 2016).  

In June 2017 the University received the highest GOLD designation in the first Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) published by the Higher Education Funding Council.  The TEF assesses a range of quality measures, including teaching quality, student satisfaction, academic support, student progression and success, and graduate employability.  


For more about the University and its national ratings from The Times/Sunday Times Complete University Guide please go to:

For further information about the University of Buckingham Art History in Florence Programme and the University’s Art History degrees, please contact University Admissions or Dr Adriano Aymonino, Director of Undergraduate Studies: