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To be eligible for admission, applicants must have earned a bachelor's degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution by the date on which they enroll at the Institute.
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. Applicants without an art history background might receive conditional offers based on completing pre-requisite coursework.
- Excellent verbal and written communication and analytical skills. For international students, an IELTS score of level 7, TOEFL 100 IBT, or its equivalent is required.
- Professional experience is not a required element of our application process, however relevant employment and/or internships enhance a student’s application.
All prospective students must apply using the online application. A complete application includes:
- Academic transcripts/mark sheets: from all undergraduate and post-secondary academic institutions attended. An official copy of the transcript, indicating that the degree has been awarded, must be sent directly from the student’s institution to Sotheby’s Institute in a sealed envelope.
- Unofficial copies of transcripts are sufficient for the application process and for issuing decisions. The documents must be in English. The admissions department will require an official transcript once you enroll in the program.
- Official international transcripts must be accompanied by certified course by course credential evaluations. The evaluation will convert the grades and GPA into the United States grading scale. For more information, please visit the World Education Services website: wes.org
- Two (2) letters of reference: References from an academic or professional contact. For those candidates with work experience, at least one reference should be professional.
- A personal statement (1,000 words maximum): Please tell us about yourself, your reasons for your choice of program, any relevant academic or art related experience, and your future career goals.
- A writing sample: A graded paper of no fewer than 1,000 words from an art history or art-related course or 1,000-word original essay or mock review written for an art publication or website. Footnotes are required for any citations.
- A curriculum vitae or résumé
- An English language proficiency exam (required for non-native English speakers): A minimum score of IELTS level 7 or TOEFL 100 IBT will be considered. If your undergraduate coursework was conducted in English or if you have extensive English-speaking professional experience, it may be possible to waive the English language proficiency exam, upon review of your application. Note: TOEFL and IELTS scores expire two years after the test date.
- Payment of the application fee: A nonrefundable fee of $100 (USD) is required for the 2020 online application. Applications are not considered complete until the fee has been paid.
GRE test scores are not required, but are accepted. The GRE code for Sotheby’s Institute of Art is 4161.
Months of entry
Although the program primarily focuses on Contemporary Art from 1960 to the present, students also receive an introduction to art and theory from the post-war period (1945-60), which serves as a springboard for the program and an important point of reference throughout. This program combines art history, curatorial studies, critical theory, and professional development. The program gives students key intellectual and practical skills to work in the production, exhibition, and sale of contemporary art. The program is anchored in the close study of visual art and critical thought, with an emphasis on professional skills and in situ learning in the galleries, museums, and artists’ studios of New York City and beyond. Students are trained to be conversant with art’s objects and ideas as well as the commercial and institutional contexts in which they are embedded, preparing them for a wide range of careers in the art world.Academic Structure
Designed to immerse students in all aspects of the Contemporary art scene, this program provides students with privileged access to arts professionals and guest speakers drawn from every sector of the industry.
The program’s first semester supplies foundations in the study of objects, ideas, histories, and exhibitions. In the second semester, we examine the history of art since 2000; we survey key institutions — galleries, auction houses and museums — through which contemporary art flows; and a course on business skills covers keys areas in art law, commerce, and fine art valuation. An intensive program of lectures by faculty members and guest speakers of international standing, virtual and in-person visits to major New York and international venues, as well as small group seminars, workshops, and student presentations, help students gain confidence in reflecting and speaking on all forms of contemporary art – from painting and sculpture to video and installation as well as the most recent web-based, collaborative, and multidisciplinary practices
The Master’s degree is awarded for 30 credits across semesters one and two, as well as the completion of a 6-credit thesis or capstone project in the third semester.
In the first semester, Navigating the Art World brings students from all MAs together for faculty lectures and expert panel discussions to investigate the inextricable connections between art and business in today’s economy. In addition to a full course load, students participate in two in-person or virtual field study trips in semesters one and two. Students may elect to undertake an internship to gain practical skills or take one elective to broaden their expertise.
The MA in Contemporary Art culminates in a capstone project which can take the form of a traditional, long-form academic thesis, or a more flexible Master’s Project (often a business plan or curatorial project). Students may also elect to extend their studies an additional semester and either transfer to the Institute’s campus in London or return to New York and pursue core courses in either Art Business or Fine and Decorative Art and Design.
Qualification, course duration and attendance options
- full time12 months
- Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
Course contact details