Key facts

Average number of students offered a place per year


Average number of applicants per year


Our standard conditional offer for this subject is usually A*AA at A level or 41 - 43 points overall and 7, 7, 6 at Higher Level in IB.  All Colleges may modify offers to take account of individual circumstances.  Further information can be found here.

The History of Art course provides a practical and historical appreciation of art and architecture, focused mainly on Western European art, together with an understanding of how the subject has developed.

The teaching makes use of the exceptional resources of Cambridge’s collections and buildings. As well as greater knowledge of the subject, you will acquire critical and analytical skills and the ability to undertake independent research, all relevant for future job prospects.

The Director of Studies in History of Art is Dr Frank Salmon.

Applicants do not need to have studied History of Art at AS/A-Level, but History, a Modern language or both are desirable.The typical conditional offer for History of Art in the English A-Level system is likely to include an A* in an essay-based subject (and not, for example, in Art and Design). Downing aims to admit one or two Art Historians a year, who benefit from its own fine architecture, library provision and convenient location.

At present, History of Art applicants receive two half-hour interviews on the same day, with either one or two interviewers.

Prior to interviews, we ask you to send to the Admissions Office two marked essays, preferably in two different subjects, which you have produced during the course of your studies. These may provide some of the basis for discussion. Candidates will be shown photographs relating to art and architecture for comment during the course of one of their interviews.

Further advice about entry requirements and interviews for all subjects can be found in the Applying to Downing section of this site.

The reading list on the Faculty website is given as a guide to help applicants gain a better understanding of the subject matter. They are not intended as preparatory reading and interviewers will not expect candidates necessarily to have read any of these titles.

For resources related to studying history, including history of art, visit

Further details about the History of Art course can be found at the University of Cambridge site.