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Program Overview

About the Program
The Master’s in Fine and Decorative Art and Design derives from the oldest program at the Institute, the Works of Art course, which started in 1969. It offers an integrated study of fine and decorative art and design based on case studies drawn from the late Renaissance through to the late Twentieth Century. These studies are used as lenses through which to examine the production and materiality of art objects, and to consider aspects of consumption – including patronage and collecting – and the historical and contemporary art market. Students are equipped with sophisticated visual, critical, and research skills, enabling them to work in all areas of the international art world.

All of the MA programs are enhanced by a shared core curriculum, Navigating the Art World, which introduces students to the global art world and provides them with understanding of art business principles, professional skills, and critical understanding to mobilize at the completion of their degrees.

In Semesters 1 and 2, students follow two core units – Fine and Decorative Art: Production and Patronage and, Art and Design: Modernity and Modernisms. The units comprise workshops, seminars, and lectures given by faculty and visiting experts. Both semesters include regular visits to museums, private collections, galleries, and auction houses as well as a European study tour.  Past tours have included visits to Paris, Venice, the Netherlands, and Maastricht (TEFAF). Students complete a range of assignments, which are intended to develop both academic and professional art world skills. The flexible structure of the Master’s program allows students to concentrate their studies on a chosen field by selecting two elective units in the second semester, choosing either from Art and Authentication and Contemporary Design and its Markets, or from the other Sotheby’s Institute MA programs in areas such as Asian ceramics, photography, or art business. In Semester 3 students prepare a dissertation under the supervision of their tutor.

About Our Students
The program welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds who are motivated by an object-based approach to the study of fine and decorative art, and who wish to pursue a career working closely with art works – whether in an auction house, commercial gallery, art fair, museum, or as a consultant or independent researcher. The program allows students to specialize in areas of particular interest within the fine and decorative arts, and expand their knowledge of art with two elective units chosen from a range offered across the MA programs.

Our Curriculum
Access a copy of the 2019-20 London Master's degree curriculum and course descriptions.

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MA Fine and Decorative Art and Design Meet Bernard Vere, MA Fine and Decorative Art and Design Program Director at Sotheby’s Institute of Art - London
The Details
  • Curriculum-at-a-Glance


    ACADEMIC YEAR 2019-2020
    Units of Study
    Core Units

    • Navigating the Art World – Shared Core Curriculum

    • Fine and Decorative Art: Production and Patronage Fine Art

    • Art and Design: Modernity and Modernisms

    Elective Units
    (Choose any two of the below)

    • Art and Authentication

    • Contemporary Design and its Markets

    • The International Art World: Public Sectors

    • The Market for Antiquities and Old Masters

    • Strategic Management and the Art World

    • Emerging Markets

    • Ethics, Law and the Art Trade

    • Curating Contemporary Art

    • Performance Art

    • Photography: Image and Power

    • Photography and its Markets

    • Contemporary Chinese Art

    • Court and Literati Painting in East Asia

    • East Asian Ceramics

    • Curating Asian art

    • Modernism and its Markets

    • Art World Logistics and Operations

    • Work Placement (accredited internship)

    Dissertation or Practice-Based Dissertation (MA only) 

    Click here for the program electives summary.
  • Faculty
  • Course Fees & Application

    Course Fees & Application

    ACADEMIC YEAR 2019-2020

    Deposit: £500
    Semester 1: £10,050
    Semester 2: £10,550
    Semester 3: £5200
    MA total: £26,300
    PG Dip total: £21,100

    Deposit: £500
    Semester 1: £12,000
    Semester 2: £12,500
    Semester 3: £6,100
    MA total: £31,100
    PG Dip total: £25,000

    These fees are exclusive of the cost of travel for study visits.

    Travel costs: £2,250

    Click here to Apply 

    Click here to read Terms and Conditions.

    Click here to find out about Scholarships, Grants and Loans at Sotheby's Institute - London.

  • Program Prospectus

    Program Prospectus

    Click here to download the program prospectus.

    For further information, please contact: or Request Information
    T +44 (0)20 7462 3219
  • Contact And Request Information

    Contact And Request Information

    For further information, please contact: or Request Information
    T +44 (0)20 7462 3219
  • Field Trips

    Field Trips

    Many of the sessions of the MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design take place in London’s major galleries – whether it is the National Gallery with its collection of Old Masters, Tate Modern for modernist art, or the Victoria and Albert Museum for decorative arts and design. Students also visit smaller museums as well as commercial art fairs, auction houses, stately homes, and commercial dealers, allowing them to understand works in a variety of contexts, from private collections to public sales. There are one-day visits to both Oxford and Cambridge. Further afield, in the first semester we visit Madrid, focussing particularly on the Old Masters in the Prado and the Thyssen-Bornemisza collections. For much of the twentieth century, Paris was the undeniable heart of the art world and a trip to the city in the second semester has a greater emphasis on modernist art and design. Our schedule of study visits concludes with a visit to TEFAF Maastricht in The Netherlands, the largest and most prestigious fine art, antiques, and design fair in the world.

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