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All MA and Postgraduate Diploma applicants are required to have completed a BA degree or its equivalent. Students in their final undergraduate year may apply for admission and will be required to provide proof of graduation prior to registration.
Applicants should demonstrate the following skills:
- The ability to perform at a postgraduate level, as indicated by academic achievement and recommendations.
- Knowledge of art history. This generally requires some formal study of art history, probably at undergraduate level. In special cases, art-related work experience or exceptional exposure to art making and/or collecting will satisfy this requirement. (Applicants with insufficient art history background may be required to take course work at the Institute or an institution of their choice that is approved by the Institute’s faculty.)
- The ability to speak, write and analyse required subject matter fluently in English.
Work experience is not required. However, relevant employment and/or internships enhance a student’s application.
Months of entry
To ensure the health and safety of our students, we are providing remote learning for this Master's program in Fall 2020. Our on-campus experience in the London art world begins in Spring 2021.
Students may elect to enter the program in the Fall or Spring. For students entering the program in Fall 2020, our remote learning methodology will take students virtually into emerging and established markets, provide global access both online and onsite to galleries, museums, artists’ studios, private collections, and art fairs, introduce them to international experts and artists, and provide them with skills for doing business in the digital era, such as virtual appraisals, online auctions, and much more.
About the Program
Develop your expertise in art since 1968, examining the key movements, artistic tendencies, practices, and debates that have informed all aspects of contemporary art. The MA in Contemporary Art is the longest running specialized Master’s program of its kind in the world. Established in 1991, it focuses on art in the period from 1968 to the present, with strands on art history, curatorial studies, and critical theory, and a strong emphasis throughout on professional career development. The program covers developments in contemporary art from around the world, examining a broad range of artistic practices and institutional structures, from the highly established to the most innovative. The program is designed for those who are fully committed to the study of contemporary art and who intend to pursue careers in the field. Graduates of this program have gone on to work at museums, commercial and not-for-profit galleries, auction houses, consultancies, journals, international art fairs, and universities.
This twelve-month-long program is unique in combining rigorous academic study of contemporary art with the acquisition of skills of professional practice.
The Master’s degree is awarded for 120 taught credits across two semesters, as well as the completion of a 60-credit dissertation over the course of an additional semester.
The first two semesters are intensively taught on four (occasionally five) days per week. In the first semester, Navigating the Art World (30 Credits) brings students from different MAs together for an introduction to the art world and to a variety of postgraduate research skills and methodologies within the disciplines of art history and art business. Later in the program, specialist electives can be chosen from across all Institute Master’s programs, allowing a student to build a personalized Master’s profile. Students take two 15-credit electives across a variety of offerings for deeper expertise or to develop specialties. Core units (60 credits) for the Contemporary Art degree cover the period from 1968 to the present.
Students complete a range of assignments during the program that are designed to help them become sophisticated graduates with high caliber academic and vocational skills and knowledge, preparing them for success in their career. Object-based assignments foster students’ skills of observation, description and interpretation. Other assignments, such as essays, develop skills of research, analysis, contextualization, and criticism, promoting students’ ability to present material in different written and spoken modes. Students are encouraged to consider the networks in which art is created, exhibited, and collected. All students will be involved in assignments that simulate “real world” tasks, projects, and scenarios; for example, exhibition reviews, collection/catalogue entries, and planning for a hypothetical exhibition or journal.
For the MA degree, students must complete the 60-credit dissertation in their third semester. During this final semester there is no formal teaching, with students researching their dissertation topics under the guidance of individual supervisors. At the start of the program, students are allocated a personal tutor who supports their academic and personal development throughout. Lectures are given by members of the faculty as well as by consultants whose main work is within the art world, thus facilitating networking opportunities.
Qualification, course duration and attendance options
- full time12 months
- Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
Course contact details
- Admissions Manager
- +44 (0)20 7462 3250