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Sotheby's Institute of Art
A Summer of Art in London and New York
Semester Study Abroad
Sotheby’s Institute of Art—London offers a number of full-time fifteen-week Semester abroad courses, each combining academic study with a rare insight into the professional art world. Designed for students who have a strong interest in the visual arts, all courses include regular study visits to museums, galleries, historic houses, artists' studios, auction houses and private collections, for a total immersion in the London art world.

For those seeking a career in the international art world, Sotheby’s Institute of Art offers a range of postgraduate and Master’s degree programmes at our Institutes located in three of the world’s major art capitals in LONDON and NEW YORK. All postgraduate programmes start in early September, 2011 and our admissions process is on a rolling basis throughout the year.

For over forty years Sotheby’s Institute of Art has been preparing students for careers in the international art world. Our vision is to be universally acknowledged as the premier provider of advanced object-based art education, whose graduates combine passion for the visual arts with scholarship and market sophistication in order to flourish as leaders in the international art world. Our degrees are awarded by the University of Manchester in the UK and combine professional training with academic study.

The Institute has over 6,000 alumni worldwide, most of whom are working in a variety of arts-related careers. Students at the Institute learn by studying, observing and handling original objects. The acquisition of practical knowledge such as professional catalogue entry or installing an exhibition coupled with academic requirements form the basis of the unique learning experience at Sotheby’s Institute of Art.

Masters Degree in Art Business    LONDON  NEW YORK 
Students at SothebysLondon is at the centre of the global art and antiques market, where dealers trade in Asian and Indian art alongside British and European. New York City is home to the largest concentration of art galleries, auction houses, museums, foundations, art publications, and other visual arts organizations in the world. The city’s cultural resources and diversity, as well as its vast network of artists, collectors, and arts professionals are unsurpassed. This is a $60 billion plus industry, employing hundreds of thousands of professionals in small and medium-sized businesses as well as in a number of large enterprises, including auction houses, galleries, investment banks, insurance companies and other specialist service suppliers to the market.

Many of our graduates now hold responsible positions in the international commercial art world. The programme is not a business degree but a degree in the business side of art. It is designed for students with an art historical background who want to understand business theories and practice, as well as the technical and structural elements of the art market. An important theme of the programme is its analysis of a wide range of art market sectors. Students learn how to evaluate and market art objects from antiquity to the present day. Art Business graduates are prepared for a variety of visual arts careers, and are forming the next generation of leaders in the international art world.

Masters Degree in Contemporary Art    LONDON  NEW YORK 

The course is for those who wish to study contemporary art in depth while honing their practical and professional skills. This programme focuses on the period from 1960 to the present, emphasising the artwork itself and the tools we need to understand it. Close analysis of works in all media, from painting and sculpture to video and performance, forms a crucial part of the curriculum, as does the study of topical debates on the theoretical and institutional contexts of the art world today.

Established in 1991, the programme helps students to develop and discuss their ideas in regular one-to-one tutorials, which are a distinctive aspect of the programme, and in discussion groups. Graduates benefit from the global scope of the programme and go on to pursue a variety of rewarding careers in the world of contemporary art. Working in commercial galleries or public museums around the world, opening their own galleries or working as auctioneers, critics or editors, our graduates keep in touch via the Institute’s Alumni network and contribute to the broader contemporary art network.

MA Fine & Decorative ArtMasters Degree in Fine and Decorative Art   


The MA in Fine and Decorative Art is taught from the perspective of an art expert , with
attention paid to the history and practice of connoisseurship. Based on Sotheby’s original training scheme, the Works of Art Course, this programme has been offered for over forty years; the approach is object-based and often object-specific. Case studies in Old Master paintings, modern art, furniture and ceramics from the Renaissance to the present day form the core curriculum, along with the development of professional skills for attributing and cataloguing works of art, culminating in the House Sale project, which closely mirrors the auction house environment.

The defining characteristic of this programme is its frequent and regular visits to museums and galleries, the auction house, and country-house collections for first-hand observation of art objects. The visual and hands-on approach, supported by a thorough grounding in materials and techniques, gives a firm foundation for postgraduate research and the excitement of exploring the material culture of the past.

Masters Degree in East Asian Art    LONDON
The art history of China, Japan and Korea from the Neolithic to the present day is the focus of this programme, designed for those who wish to become Asian art specialists. The course offers an art historical training in key features and concepts, encouraging students to make cross-cultural links in the art history of East Asia. Teaching focuses on an object-based approach and is organised into three strands: ritual and religious art, decorative art and pictorial art. Another unique aspect to this programme is the additional knowledge of auction house, art market, museum and gallery practices which equip students for professional careers within the Asian art field. Graduates go on to pursue a variety of careers within the academic, museum and auction house world as well as opening their own specialist galleries. Students with no prior background in Asian art may consider our summer courses in Asian and our 15-week Semester course, Arts of Asia.

Masters Degree in Photography    LONDON
This programme offers an in-depth study of the history of photography,its place in cultural and critical theory, and its significance for modern visual culture. Students are introduced to the critical analysis of the history of photography from the earliest experiments to the most recent developments. Although applied photography such as police records and advertising images are touched upon, the focus is upon photography as an aesthetic practice. The increased presence of photography in public and private collections, and the art market, is one strand of investigation; photography’s role within the politics of representation is another. The core timetable is supplemented by lectures by distinguished guest scholars and experts as well as study visits to museums and galleries, art fairs and private collections. Graduates go on to pursue a variety of careers, often within the photographic gallery and auction network or the contemporary art world.

Masters Degree in Contemporary Design    LONDON
This programme combines academic study of 20th century and contemporary decorative arts with an exploration of the professional design world. Furniture, ceramics, glass, patterns, metalwork, jewellery and dress from the Art Nouveau period to the pluralism of the present day are examined in relation to architecture and interiors, and wider theoretical and contextual issues. The interrelationship between the fine and decorative arts is a strong theme throughout the programme.

The course promotes an object-based methodology and the development of visual, analytical and interpretative skills that are relevant to a range of careers. Throughout the programme, contact with practitioners in the field introduces students to aspects of the professional design world.

Masters Degree in Interior Design LONDON  NEW YORK

A Combined Master’s Degree / Certificate Program with New York School of Interior Design Open to all students at the New York campus, and to London campus students by advisement. This two-year option leads to both an MA degree from Sotheby’s Institute of Art and a Certificate in Basic Interior Design from the New York School of Interior Design. The program’s first year is completed at Sotheby’s Institute in either London or New York and is identical to the MA curriculum in any of its major areas of study. Two additional semesters of hands-on Interior Design studio training are then completed at the New York School of Interior Design (NYSID) and a final interior design project, completed during the program’s last semester, takes the place of the MA thesis. This design project draws upon the studio and design techniques taught throughout the year at NYSID and is grounded in the historical/ critical/ business content of the first two semesters of coursework at Sotheby’s Institute. This final project is coordinated through a two-semester seminar, jointly supervised by NYSID and Institute faculty.


London    LONDON
LondonOur location in London is in the heart of Bloomsbury, only minutes away from the British Museum and within walking distance of the National Gallery and Sotheby’s auction house, as well as the University of London. You will also be in the heart of London’s sights, life and retail centres, providing a unique place to live and study.

New YorkNew York    NEW YORK
Our New York campus is in the centre of Manhattan with easy access to its rich cultural and historical resources as well as to leading galleries and museums.

Faculty    LONDON  NEW YORK  
Our faculty comprise leading academics and practitioners in their field, many of whom write in the media and press and publish books on a regular basis. For example, the London MA Art Business faculty have published, “The Art Business” published by Routledge in 2008 and a new book is due in 2011, ‘New Art from Emerging Markets’. For further details, please see our faculty pages at the campus to which you would like to apply.

Contact links for information, advice and brochures.     LONDON  NEW YORK  

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