Learning to Look at the Visual Arts, Short Course | Part time online | University of Oxford | United Kingdom
Short Online

Learning to Look at the Visual Arts

3 months
300 GBP/full
300 GBP/full
Tuition fee
Apply date
Start date


Have you ever looked at a picture in a museum or gallery and been able to see and feel its characteristics but not had the vocabulary to put your thoughts into words? This Learning to Look at the Visual Arts course at University of Oxford offers you the opportunity to learn how to study and analyse paintings.


In this Learning to Look at the Visual Arts course at University of Oxford you will learn about the qualities that make up a picture including composition, space, form, tone and colour, why each element is important, and how they relate to each other to create the aesthetic appearance of the image. You will also learn to understand the importance of subject matter, original function and setting of a picture in appreciating its visual meaning.

Teaching and learning will be through guided reading and by interaction and question and answer sessions to promote visual understanding through appreciation of a series of paintings from the fifteenth century to the present day. A key element of the course is art criticism where you will take part in guided viewings of paintings and then have the opportunity to put your new visual vocabulary into practice working on tasks with your fellow students.

Course aims

The course aims to:

  • Teach students to look at painting from a more visual and analytical point of view.
  • Teach the necessary visual vocabulary or language of looking.
  • Provide a method for looking at paintings, drawings and prints which is both flexible and clear.
  • Generate understanding of pictorial qualities and their integration for the aesthetic appearance.
  • Create a feeling for the integration of the aesthetic appearance with the subject matter and period of the picture.

Course Objectives

The course will enable students to:

  • Learn how to look in a more objective and analytical way.
  • Learn the visual vocabulary and glossary of terms.
  • Understand pictorial qualities and what they mean, that is Composition, Space, Form, Tone, Colour, Subject Matter.
  •  Think critically.


FHEQ level 4, 10 CATS points

Programme Structure

Programme details

  • Introduction to learning Look at the Visual Arts
  • Composition
  • Space
  • Form (2 weeks)
  • Tone
  • Colour
  • Subject-matter
  • Drawing and its purposes
  • Looking at print

Key information


  • Part-time
    • 3 months
    • Flexible

Start dates & application deadlines


10 alternative credits



Academic requirements

We are not aware of any specific GRE, GMAT or GPA grading score requirements for this programme.

Other requirements

General requirements

  • You will be set two pieces of work for the course. The first of 500 words is due halfway through your course. 
  • This does not count towards your final outcome but preparing for it, and the feedback you are given, will help you prepare for your assessed piece of work of 1,500 words due at the end of the course. The assessed work is marked pass or fail.

Technological requirements

This course is delivered online; to participate you must to be familiar with using a computer for purposes such as sending email and searching the Internet.

Tuition Fee

To always see correct tuition fees
  • International

    300 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 300 GBP for the full programme during 3 months.
  • National

    300 GBP/full
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the tuition of 300 GBP for the full programme during 3 months.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Our partners

Learning to Look at the Visual Arts
University of Oxford
Learning to Look at the Visual Arts
University of Oxford


Go to your profile page to get personalised recommendations!