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. The program covers developments in contemporary art from around the world, examining a broad range of artistic practices and institutional structures, from the highly established to the most innovative. The program is designed for those who are fully committed to the study of contemporary art and who intend to pursue careers in the field. Graduates of this program have gone on to work at museums, commercial and not-for-profit galleries, auction houses, consultancies, journals, international art fairs, and universities. Download the Master’s prospectus.
Experiential learning Visits and international study trips are significant learning events, with the travel, seeing the art in situ and informal access to tutors serving to intensify the experience.
Personal tutors and individual feedback Students are allocated a personal tutor who engages with their academic and professional progress in one-on-one meetings throughout the year.
Partnership with Chelsea College of Arts Curate shows at Chelsea’s Cookhouse Gallery featuring the work of students from Chelsea’s MA in Fine Arts.
Unique and specific projects For ‘The Project’, students work together in small groups on a project to create a hypothetical exhibition or a new art journal or webzine, culminating in a ‘shark tank’ style pitch of their ideas.
Renowned and inspiring speakers Previous guest speakers include artists Sonia Boyce (winner of the Golden Lion, Venice Biennale 2022); William Kentridge; Alfredo Jaar; Anthea Hamilton; Martin Creed; and Zarina Bhimji.
Program Director, MA Contemporary Art, London
The author of 'Lives of the Great Photographers' and general editor of 'Photography: The Whole Story', Juliet Hacking began her academic career as a Visiting Lecturer at the Universities of Derby and Reading, and at the Courtauld Institute. Learn more...Read More
Senior Lecturer, MA Contemporary Art, London
Marcus Verhagen wrote his doctoral dissertation on visual culture in France in the late nineteenth century. Still working on nineteenth-century art, he taught in the nineties at universities in both Britain and the States. Working primarily on contemporary art in the years since 2002, he has written about seventy articles and reviews for art magazines such as Art Monthly, Art Review and Frieze. He has published in several periodicals, including Representations, New Left Review, Third Text and Afterall. Learn more...Read More
Field study is a hallmark of the Master’s programs, taking graduate students around the globe to explore established and emerging markets during key events and with an itinerary ranging from art fairs to visits to artist studios and private collections. Upcoming destinations for Contemporary Art students include Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands, and Italy for the Venice Biennale.
Students are exposed to the dizzying array of contemporary arts organizations, exhibitions and events in London, from the rarefied international art auctions and blue chip commercial galleries of the West End to the smaller, independent art organizations found in the East End and South London. The program introduces students to this vibrant and historic artistic hub and to the myriad possibilities for working with contemporary art in London, both commercially and non-profit.
Contemporary Arts students are passionate about contemporary art, critically astute, curious and driven. People seeking to do an MA in Contemporary Art wish to grow both intellectually and professionally and are keen to join an international cohort of fellow students who, together with the educators on the program, will form the basis of their professional network in the art world. Applicants may be network-shifters, hungry to acquire the knowledge and skills needed for a new career, whether that be as a gallerist, critic, entrepreneur, or curator.
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 first two semesters are intensively taught on four (occasionally five) days per week. In the first semester, Art Futures (15 Credits) brings students from different MAs together for an exploration of the art world of the future, with particular emphasis on technology, sustainability, inclusion and the politics of cultural property (restitution). In Professional Practice (15 credits) students are introduced to professional art world skills and career options and to a variety of research methodologies within the field of contemporary art. During 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 Contemporary Art degree cover the period from 1968 to the present. 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 careers.
All students will be involved in assignments that simulate “real world” tasks, projects, and scenarios; for example, exhibition reviews, collection/catalog entries, and planning for a hypothetical exhibition or journal. For the MA degree, students must complete the 60-credit dissertation in their third semester.
September 2023 – October 2024
Note: Fees are subject to annual review
Semester 1: £13,000 (includes deposit of £3,000.00) plus travel fee (see below)
Semester 2: £12,500
Semester 3: £6,100
Semester 1: £16,000 (includes deposit of £3,000) plus travel fee (see below)
Semester 2: £15,500
Semester 3: £7,690
*Circumstances that may entitle you to a “home” fee status include:
Travel Fee: £2,900
Travel fees are mandatory. They cover all mandatory study trips outside of London, including transportation from the departure hub (airport or train station) to the destination, and all transportation, entry tickets and 3 or 4 star accommodation at the destination during the trip. Where the accommodation includes breakfast, this is covered by the fee. Otherwise all expenses for meals and other costs are the responsibility of the student.
Download the Master’s degree prospectus for an in-depth look at the curriculum and what to expect this academic year.