To be eligible for admission, applicants must have earned a bachelor's lower second-class honors (2:2) degree or its equivalent from an accredited institution by the date on which they enroll at the Institute. Please be advised that a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent is a mandatory requirement, work experience cannot be accepted in lieu of this qualification.
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 academic score of level 7 overall, TOEFL 100 IBT, Pearsons PTE Academic 61-65. Please be advised the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition is not accepted for entry into the degree programs.
- 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.
- Unofficial copies of transcripts are sufficient for the application process and for issuing decisions. The documents must be in English. If your original degree certificate, academic transcript or other relevant documents are not in English you must provide an officially certified translation. 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 Kingdom grading scale.
- 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. Luxury business applicants should provide a writing sample about an aspect of luxury/the luxury industry. Footnotes are required for any citations.
- A curriculum vitae or résumé
- An English language proficiency exam (required for all international students (EU included): A minimum overall score of IELTS academic level 7 or TOEFL 100 IBT or Pearsons PTE Academic 61-65 must be achieved. We also accept a number of additional Secure English Language tests. Please be advised the TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition is not accepted for entry into the degree program. Please note if you are from, or have studied in, an English-speaking country, you may be exempt from the need to provide additional evidence of your English language ability.
- Payment of the application fee: A nonrefundable fee of £75 (GBP) is required for the 2021 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
Hone your visual, critical, and research skills through an integrated study of fine art, decorative art, and design from the Renaissance to the late Twentieth Century.
The MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design established the model for Sotheby’s Institute’s rigorous and teaching-intensive MA programs. Tracing its origins back to the Works of Art course founded in 1969, it offers an in-depth exploration of connoisseurship and the integrated study of fine and decorative art and design, based on case studies drawn from the late Renaissance to the late twentieth century. Issues examined include style, materials and techniques, copies and revivals, but also investigation of patterns of patronage, collecting, and a consideration of the historical and contemporary art market for a range of fine and decorative art and design objects. The program is aimed at students who seek an immersive object-based approach to the study of a wide range of art works, and who intend to pursue a career within the professional art world whether as an auction house expert, dealer, art advisor, curator, or academic.
MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design students analyze a range of predominantly European objects dating from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century. 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.
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 Fine and Decorative Art and Design degree include Fine and Decorative Art, and Art and Design: Modernity and Modernisms.
For the first two semesters, an intensive program of lectures given by faculty and by visiting experts is supported and enriched by visits to museums, galleries, historic houses, auction houses, fairs, temporary exhibitions, and by handling sessions, which provide first-hand experience of materials and techniques. Students will examine objects them from a stylistic point of view, but not neglecting the wider historical, social, economic and cultural factors which have influenced the production of these art works. The program aims to develop critical understanding of the terms: “fine art,” “decorative art,” and “design,” as well as the synergies and divergences between art objects across a range of media and periods. Through detailed study of objects, students will also gain an understanding of the consumption of art works, examining patterns of patronage and collecting, and the historical and contemporary art market.
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.
Students will be assessed through coursework, which will typically include essays, individual and group presentations, projects, reviews, and a final academic or practice based dissertation.
Qualification, course duration and attendance options
- full time12 months
- Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
Course contact details