Placeholder image for Contemporary Art

Contemporary Art, M.A.

  • Anytime
    Application Deadline
  • Unknown
London, United Kingdom
The MA in Contemporary Art from Sotheby's Institute of 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. 


The MA in Contemporary Art program from Sotheby's Institute of Art covers developments in contemporary art from around the world, examining the most established and the more recent practice and institutional networks and structures. 

An intensive program of lectures by faculty members and guest speakers of international standing, visits to major London venues including Tate Modern and Frieze, and 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.

During the first semester, following the institute-wide shared core curriculum, Navigating the Art World, students move on to the specialist study of contemporary art, focusing on the period between 1968 and 1995.  

Semester 1 includes regular gallery visits in London and an extended study visits to a major European centre for arts (Venice for the Biennale or German cities). In Semester 2 we look at the period between 1995 and the present, concentrating on a number of topical issues and debates. 

The second semester also includes two extended study visits (to two of the following: the Venice Biennale, Germany, Amsterdam and Paris).

The flexible structure of the Master’s program allows students to concentrate their studies on a chosen field by selecting two elective units, either pursuing further specialization in contemporary art or undertaking options that will broaden their understanding of other areas of study, such as fine and decorative art and design, modern and contemporary Asian art, or art business. In Semester 3 (MA-registered students only) prepare and write their dissertations under the supervision of their tutors.

About 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 increasingly global world of contemporary art. Students graduate from this intensive nine-month (PG diploma) or year-long program (MA) with in-depth knowledge and professional preparation to work in any area of contemporary art. 

Graduates gain employment in private and commercial galleries, art fairs, auction houses, museums and foundations, private and public collections, art publishing, art investing and consulting, visual archives, not-for-profit organizations, art services and e-commerce, and academia.

Programme Structure

Courses included:

  • Navigating the Art World – Shared Core Curriculum
  • Contemporary Art Histories
  • Debates in Contemporary Art
  • Art and Authentication
  • International Art World: Public Sectors
  • Contemporary Chinese Art
  • Market for Western Antiquities and Old Masters
  • Contemporary Design and its Markets

Detailed Programme Facts

  • More details:

    Rolling admission

  • Programme intensity Full-time
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Get a free IELTS practice test

General Requirements

  • Academic transcripts/mark sheets
  • Two letters of (academic) reference
  • Personal statement (max 1000 words)
  • A writing sample
  • A CV/resume
  • An interview

Tuition Fee

  • International

    31100 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 31100 GBP per year and a duration of .
  • EU/EEA

    26300 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 26300 GBP per year and a duration of .
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.


  • MA total: £26,300
  • PG Dip total: £21,100


  • MA total: £31,100
  • PG Dip total: £25,000

Living costs for London

  • 1137 - 2160 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

Check your fit
Check your budget and academic fit with this study


Did you know you can compare your wishlisted programmes with our new Comparison tool?