Name of Programme
MA Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors
MA Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors [Part Time]
Final Award
Awarding Institution/Body
University Of Buckingham
Teaching Institution
University Of Buckingham
School of Study
School of Humanities and Social Sciences [History and History of Art]
Programme Code(s)
PMAF1PDAHI / Full Time / 1 Year
PMAP2PDAHI / Part Time / 2 Years / MA Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors [Part Time]
Professional Body Accreditation
Relevant Subject Benchmark Statement (SBS)
QAA SBS Art and Design
Admission Criteria
Second class degree or equivalent work experience
Applicable Cohort(s)
FHEQ Level
Summary of Programme
Educational Aims of the Programme
• To provide students with a range of skills and knowledge which will help them to pursue careers in such fields as museum curatorship, antique dealing and auctioneering, historic house management, teaching and research, interior design
• To provide students with a broad historical and art-historical understanding of the development of the interior in Britain and France 1660-c.1830 and its interrelationship with architecture, painting, sculpture and the applied arts.
• To provide students with a contextual understanding of the ways in which rooms and their furnishings interrelated historically and how the planning, decoration and arrangement of rooms changed in response to changing social conventions.
• To develop students’ general awareness of the interrelationship between Britain and France in terms of style, fashions, patronage and the consumption of visual culture
• To develop students’ awareness of revivalism and the ways in which the nineteenth and twentieth-century re-interpretations of objects and interiors have affected our perception of the eighteenth century
• To encourage an understanding of the consumption, production and marketing of luxury goods as well as of patronage and collecting and of the relationships between function, design and decoration
• To improve and develop students’ visual and critical skills and understanding of issues of connoisseurship through first-hand study of objects, where possible within historic room contexts and through slide tests and photographic analysis.
• To develop students’ critical awareness of historic interiors and their presentation through first-hand study of a wide-range of examples on study trips in England and France
• To develop students understanding of curatorial and conservation issues relating to the care of objects and interiors including such issues as visitor management and health and safety regulations which would be relevant for careers in museums and the heritage.
• To raise students’ awareness of the historical and ethical problems of conserving, restoring, researching and reinterpreting the historic interior and decorative art objects which have particular vocational relevance
• To give students practical experience of researching a topic related to either an historic interior or an object or collection of objects through a project based within a museum or historic house context. The project will call upon a range of historical, curatorial, organisational and presentational skills and aims to instil a basic understanding of the practical principles involved in project research, researching and interpreting an historic property, organising an exhibition within a museum or advising on the conservation and display of objects, which would be of particular relevance to those seeking careers in the museums or built heritage fields
• To train students to work independently to tight deadlines
• To develop students’ ability to argue improve their oral presentational skills through the presentation of seminar papers and of the project
• To train students in academic analysis and argument and research methodologies and improve their writing skills through essays, project and dissertation
• To provide students, through Project and Dissertation, with the necessary skills of independent appraisal of primary sources and secondary literature to carry out independent original research and present that research in an academically correct manner thus equipping equip students to carry out further research.
Programme Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

• Broad knowledge of art-historical/ historical framework for the development of the interior and decorative arts within the period studied
• Some detailed knowledge of particular areas covered
• Practical understanding of production processes and materials used in interiors and decorative arts
• Visual knowledge and awareness; understanding of principles of connoisseurship
• Awareness of patronage/ collecting and how both have conditioned the design and decoration of objects and their presentation within the interior.
• Knowledge of social history and its relationship to objects and room use.
• Historical knowledge of revivalism & how this conditions the way we “read” period interiors.
• Conceptual understanding of problems of defining/reconciling authenticity with current usage and of principles of restoring an historic interior;
• Awareness of conservation issues.
• Understanding of the interpretation of objects/ interiors in a variety of contexts and to differing audiences which equip students for curatorial roles

Teaching/Learning Strategy

• Slide lectures, gallery talks, & class trips to provide the historical framework for first-hand contact with objects and interiors.which develops historical and visual/critical awareness
• Dissertation develops detailed knowledge
• Tutorials, essays and slide tests consolidate and test this knowledge.
• Oral presentations practise communications skills and demonstrate knowledge and awareness.
• Talks by Wallace Collection staff and a visit to Conservation Department enhance visual awareness/understanding of practical processes and curatorial/conservation issues.
• Lectures on history of collecting, revivalism and practical/ethical issues of restoring historic interiors and interpretation of objects/interiors by outside experts, develop professional skills applied in depth through project research .
• Lectures and dissertation supervisions provide guidance on methodology, feedback on research and advice on correct academic method in presenting the results of the research

Assessment Strategy

• Exams, essays, and slide tests test broad historical/arthistorical knowledge of the development of the interior and decorative arts, practical understanding of production processes and historical knowledge of social history and its relationship with room use.
• Dissertation and project test detailed knowledge of some areas of the curriculum
• Essays and seminars test broad awareness of patronage, collecting & revivalism
• The project tests awareness of conservation ethics, principles of restoration and the interpretation of objects and awareness of practical curatorial issues.
Programme Outcomes

Cognitive Skills

• Ability to analyse historical data.
• Ability to bring together historical and visual analysis in a coherent and productive way and draw conclusions.
• Ability to identify and evaluate differing points of view and argue a case.
• Skill in identifying practical problems.
• Skill in searching for information using art libraries and databases.
• Research skills –use of primary evidence and ability to evaluate secondary literature.
• Skill in critically evaluating buildings and art objects and drawing visual comparisons.

Teaching/Learning Strategy

• Essays and seminar presentations test and develop analytical and argumentative abilities.
• Slide tests, photographic questions and first-hand analysis of building/objects on class trips develop critical skills.
• Seminars and group work promote the ability to identify varying points of view, argue a case and listen critically to the opinions of others
• Essays, seminar papers, project and dissertation develop research skills and the ability to draw meaningfully upon both visual and documentary evidence. This helps to prepare students for the dissertation where these skills are developed in greater depth.
• “Topics and issues” lectures and The project promote understanding of practical problems.

Assessment Strategy

• Unseen examinations, essays and seminar presentations test and develop analytical and argumentative abilities.
• Slide tests, and photographic questions test critical and visual skills.
• Essays, seminar papers & the project test research skills, awareness of differing methodologies and the ability to interrogate primary and secondary sources, both visual and textual, which is developed and tested in greater depth in the dissertation.
Programme Outcomes

Practical/Transferable Skills

Key skills:

• Ability to analyse visually buildings and objects and understand the relationship between form, decoration and function.
• Ability to evaluate historical;/documentary evidence.
• Skill in presenting that evidence in a structured and coherent way both orally and in written form.
• Ability to work both independently as a researcher.
• Ability to listen to and evaluate the opinions others and bring them together in a group situation.

Practical skills:

• Problem solving skills.
• Ability to analyse objects and buildings and make decisions as to dating, physical structure and condition.
• Ability to plan a project and work to a budget within a tight timeframe.
• Skills of interpretation/education
• Skills of independent research.
• Oral and written presentation

Teaching/Learning Strategy

• Slide tests, gallery workshops, class-trips and lectures promote visual awareness.
• Preparation for essays and seminar papers teaches skills in evaluating and presenting evidence.
• Dissertation teaches research skills and fosters intellectual independence.
Group work in seminars encourages team- work and listening to and evaluating and opinions of others

• The project teaches problem solving, research, marketing,practical/interpretive skills.
• Class trips and project work develop analytical skills
• The dissertation teaches independent research skills.
• Seminar papers and the project require oral presentation skills.
• Essay writing teaches written presentation skills.
• Coursework, the project and exams develop time management skills.

Assessment Strategy

• Visual awareness assessed through side tests & photographic questions
• Ability to evaluate documentary/historical evidence assessed through essays, unseen examinations, professional practice project and the dissertation
• Written presentational skills assessed through essays and the dissertation
• Oral presentation skills through seminar presentations and the project
• Independent working assessed through the project and dissertation

• Problem solving skills assessed through the project
• Skills of physical analysis assessed through the project
• Planning skills assessed thorugh the project
• Interpretation/education skills assessed through the project & essays
• Research skills through project & dissertation.
• Oral presentation: project/seminars
External Reference Points
• Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (Link);
• Relevant Subject Benchmark Statement(s) (Link);
• Other (list)
Please note: This specification provides a concise summary of the main features of the programme and the learning outcomes that a typical student might reasonably be expected to achieve and demonstrate if he/she takes full advantage of the learning opportunities that are provided. More detailed information on the learning outcomes, content and teaching, learning and assessment methods of each course unit/module can be found in the departmental or programme handbook. The accuracy of the information contained in this document is reviewed annually by the University of Buckingham and may be checked by the Quality Assurance Agency.
Date of Production
Date approved by School Learning and Teaching Committee
Date approved by School Board of Study
Date approved by University Learning and Teaching Committee
Date of Annual Review



MA Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors

PMAF1PDAHI / Full Time / September Entry
Term 1
British Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors (1660-1790) [L7/25U] (HPFBDA1)
French Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors (1660-1789) [L7/25U] (HPFFDA1)
Term 2
British Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors from 1790 [L7/25U] (HPFBDA2)
French Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors from 1789 [L7/25U] (HPFFDA2)
Term 3
Dissertation (Decorative Arts) [L7/80U] (HPFDSDA)
Term 4
Dissertation (Decorative Arts) [L7/80U] (HPFDSDA)
Postgraduate Examination


MA Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors [Part Time]

PMAP2PDAHI / Part Time / September Entry
Term 1
French Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors (1660-1789) [L7/25U] (HPFFDA1)
Term 2
French Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors from 1789 [L7/25U] (HPFFDA2)
Term 3
British Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors (1660-1790) [L7/25U] (HPFBDA1)
Term 4
British Decorative Arts and Historic Interiors from 1790 [L7/25U] (HPFBDA2)
Term 5
Dissertation (Decorative Arts) [L7/80U] (HPFDSDA)
Term 6
Dissertation (Decorative Arts) [L7/80U] (HPFDSDA)