When I was applying to University and came across the Plymouth University BA (Hons) Fine Art and Art History joint honours degree, I knew straight away that these two subjects were exactly what I wanted to do. In this blog, I want to explain how the joint honours aspect of my course works for those of you who are perhaps debating choosing a joint honours course – i.e. two half degrees that form a whole degree, as I like to put it.
Firstly, this combination of courses was only offered at a few universities around the country. I have always enjoyed art from a young age, and it was always what I was ‘good at’ at school. To be honest, however, I worried about doing Fine Art as a single honours course, as I had always done the practical art-making alongside other essay-based subjects (I took English Literature and History at A-Level too). Art History was a subject that I had never done before, but was something that interested me. The idea of creating artwork for half of my course and studying the History of Art for the other half, to provide context, seemed perfect!
So what does a joint honours course entail? An exact 50/50 split in terms of the amount of time I spend on each course. It differs slightly each year, as in first year I took more credits from Art History, which means it counted more towards my overall mark for the year. As for second year, Fine Art counts more this year. Still, I had the choice to choose modules for Art History too. So in my first term of second year, I chose two Art History modules alongside one Fine Art module: I chose the Renaissance module, a module on Vienna as an interdisciplinary city, and for Fine Art I have an independent project. I also need to prepare for a placement in the second term. It sounds chaotic, but I love being busy and you definitely get the hang of time management after a few weeks on the course!
My second term this year then consists of one Art History module (which is a module based on a field trip to Florence!) and two Fine Art modules: placement and another project. What I love the most about the joint honours programme is that I effectively graduate with experience on two courses. It also looks impressive to employers because it shows that you are able to balance your time between two courses – with deadlines coming at you in every direction! I get to paint and create more or less whatever I feel inspired to make, whilst studying art from hundreds of years ago that inspires the way I work today.
Lastly, here’s a few things to consider if you are thinking about choosing a joint honours degree:
· Are there two subjects that you’ve always enjoyed/that interest you?
· Job prospects – is there a joint honours course that would make you stand out from fellow graduates in your subject area?
· How are you at balancing your time between more than one subject? Would you miss doing more than one subject after your A-levels?
· Look into the modules on each course, and see if you get to choose any modules at all.
· Are any fieldtrips involved? We went to Berlin with Art in first year, and are going to Florence in February with Art History. It is definitely a highlight of the course!
There are only two of us on the joint honours course this year, and I’ve definitely found a friend for life in Tereze! Having fairly small groups on both Fine Art and Art History is nice because you get to know your lecturers really well, and they really do care. I couldn’t do it without them! I’ve met amazing people on both aspects of the course, and I am so glad I chose to do both! Thank you for reading, and I hope that this helped anyone that was looking into a joint honours course here at Plymouth.