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
About the Program
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. We have a longstanding, proven track record of academic excellence and high-level graduate employment worldwide.
Numerous guest lectures by influential speakers help familiarize students with the many professional options available in the international art world.
About Our MA Students
The MA in Contemporary Art program welcomes prospective students who have an interest in gaining a strong understanding of historical developments, critical debates and institutional networks in the world of contemporary art. Students graduate from this intensive year-long program with the in-depth knowledge and professional preparation to work in any area of the expanding contemporary art world. Our graduates are subsequently employed in private galleries, auction houses, museums and foundations, private and public collecting, art publishing, art investing and consulting, visual archives, charities and not-for-profits, art services and e-commerce, and academia.
Navigating the Art World
All of the MA programs are enhanced by a shared core curriculum, Navigating the Art World, which introduces students to the global art world and provides them with a comprehensive knowledge of art business principles and professional skills as well as critical understanding to mobilize at the completion of their degrees.
The program runs from September to September. Following the institute-wide shared core curriculum, students move on to the specialist study of contemporary art, focusing on the period between 1968 and 1990 in Semester 1. The first semester also includes regular gallery visits and extended study visits to Paris and Northern Germany. In Semester 2 we look at the period between 1990 and the present, concentrating on a small number of topical issues and debates. The second semester includes an extended study visit to the Venice Biennale or to Holland and Belgium, and studio visits.
Students also choose two elective units, either pursuing further specialization in contemporary art or undertaking options that will broaden their understanding of other areas of study, such as fine and decorative arts and design, modern and contemporary Asian art, or art business.
In Semester 3, students prepare and write their dissertations under the supervision of their tutors.
Build Your Concentration
The flexible structure of the Master’s program allows students to concentrate their studies on a chosen field by selecting 2 elective units. Specialist subject areas in which Sotheby’s Institute of Art - London faculty have high level of expertise include Contemporary Design, Photography, East Asian Art and Curating.
Qualification and course duration
Course contact details
- Admissions Manager
- +44 (0)20 7462 3250