Sotheby's Institute of Art - London
30 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury
London, England WC1B 3EE
+44 (0)20 7462 3232
+44 (0)20 7580 8160
Master's Degree in Contemporary Art
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.
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.
This twelve-month-long program is unique in combining rigorous academic study of contemporary art with the acquisition of skills of professional practice. The course runs across three semesters, beginning in September. The first two semesters are intensively taught on four (occasionally five) days per week. In the second semester, specialist electives can be chosen from across all Institute Master’s programs, allowing a student to build a personalized Master’s profile. During the third semester (June through September) there is no formal teaching. In this semester, students research and write their dissertation with the guidance of an individual supervisor.
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.
Lectures are given by both members of the faculty and consultant lecturers, many of whom are active in the art world, facilitating ample networking opportunities. Study visits (both local and international) are an integral part of the program.
Classification: Specialized Institution—School of art, music, or design
Locale: Large City