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MA Contemporary Art


MA Contemporary Art

Fall 2024

Develop your expertise in art since 1968, examining the key movements, artistic tendencies, practices, and debates that have informed all aspects of contemporary art.

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.


Juliet Hacking

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...

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Marcus Verhagen

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...

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Pierre Saurisse

Senior Lecturer, MA Contemporary Art, London

Pierre Saurisse completed his Ph.D. in France, and he taught contemporary art at the Universities of Aix-Marseilles and Rennes. In 2007 his book on chance in European and American art of the 1960s (La Mécanique de l'imprévisible) was published by L'Harmattan. He has reviewed exhibitions and books for Beaux-Arts Magazine , Critique d'Art and Parachute. Learn more...

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Tom Snow

Faculty, MA Contemporary Art, London

Tom's research interests include critical art practice, visual culture, activism, and aesthetic philosophy. He also teaches at UCL, is editorial correspondent at Ibraaz, and was recently the research assistant for the UK-team of the DigiCONFLICT Research Consortium funded by a European Commission large research grant. His writings have appeared in multiple magazines, journals, and book publications. Learn more...

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Mike Cooter

Lead Consultant, MA Contemporary Art, London

Mike Cooter is an artist, writer, lecturer, and educator based in London and Lisbon. His work investigates the structural agency of objects, be they sculpture, cinematic props or other anthropological artefacts – objects co-opted or created to drive narratives, fictional or otherwise. Learn more...

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Next Steps

More Information

  • Academic Structure

    Academic Structure

    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.

  • Program Dates

    Program Dates

    SEPTEMBER 2024 ENTRY: September 2024 – December 2025


    • Early Action Deadline: December 1, 2023
    • Priority Decision and Scholarship Deadline: March 1, 2024
    • Regular Decision Deadline: May 1, 2024
  • Tuition & Fees

    Tuition & Fees

    Note: Fees are subject to annual review


    Semester 1: £10,000 (includes deposit of £3,000.00) plus travel fee (see below)

    Semester 2: £9,960

    Semester 3: £4,990



    Semester 1: £16,000 (includes deposit of £3,000) plus travel fee (see below)

    Semester 2: £15,970

    Semester 3: £8,000

    *Circumstances that may entitle you to a “home” fee status include:

    • you have settled or pre-settled status under the UK’s EU Settlement Scheme
    • you are from the Republic of Ireland and living in the UK prior to December 31, 2020
    • you are British but live in the EU
    • you hold dual citizenship with the UK and live in the UK


    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.

  • Frequently Asked Questions

    Frequently Asked Questions

    From visa information for international students to course credits, find answers on our FAQ page. If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, contact an Admissions counselor.

  • Student Policies

    Student Policies

    Explore our library of academic and campus policies here. All students who enroll for graduate study must agree to the Terms and Conditions upon accepting their offer of admittance.

  • Prospectus


    Download the Master’s degree prospectus for an in-depth look at the curriculum and what to expect this academic year.

  • Enterprise Studio

    Enterprise Studio

    The Enterprise Studio was created as an extra-curricular program for Master’s students to receive training and support for new business ventures, culminating in a start-up pitch competition, the Gavel. Through close access to mentors, students have the chance to shape their plans from ideation to execution with the winning Gavel team receiving significant seed funding for their future business.