Taught course

Modern and Contemporary Asian Art - London

Sotheby's Institute of Art · East Asian Art

Visit the institution website for COVID‑19 updates

Entry requirements

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


Course content

Develop a theoretical and empirical grounding in Asian art through the examination of its key developments, major artistic figures, and its rising profile in the global art market.

The Master’s degree in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art provides students with critical tools for understanding Asian art – a growing field with increasing significance in the international art market. The program examines how Asian art has developed in the modern and contemporary period in relation to its complex historical backdrop. Students are exposed to Asian artists and art production both within Asia and in the extensive Asian art diaspora around the globe. The program equips graduates with expertise for application in the professional art sphere – from museums and art fairs to public and private art institutions worldwide. Graduates take up a range of positions in galleries, art fairs, museums, and auction houses, working in major cultural centers around the world. Graduates may also embark on doctoral studies for deeper specialization toward an academic career or a museum curatorship.

Academic Structure

The MA in Modern and Contemporary Asian Art prepares students to specialize in the diverse and exciting field of Asian art. Graduates of this program will contribute to a growing area of expertise in the international art world where Asia and Asian art plays an increasingly significant role. The program is designed for students who wish to gain an in-depth understanding of modern and contemporary art from Asia and who intend to pursue careers in this growing and dynamic field. Its approach is a combination of rigorous academic study along with continuous professional development through direct exposure to artworks, artists and Asian art specialists working in the international art world.

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 program is of twelve months’ duration and runs from January 2021 through December 2021.

The first two semesters are intensively taught. In the first semester, Navigating the Art World (30 Credits) brings students from all 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 Modern and Contemporary Asian Art degree include Modern Asian Art and Contemporary Asian Art.

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.

Qualification, course duration and attendance options

  • MA
    full time
    12 months
    • Campus-based learningis available for this qualification

Course contact details

Admissions Manager
+44 (0)20 7462 3250