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About the Program
The MA Contemporary Art Program gives students key intellectual and practical skills to work in the production, exhibition, and sale of contemporary art. The program is anchored in the close study of visual art and critical thought since 1945, with an emphasis on professional skills and in situ learning in the galleries, museums, and artists’ studios of New York City and beyond. Students are trained to be conversant with art’s objects and ideas as well as the commercial and institutional contexts in which they are embedded.

Teaching in the field is a fundamental part of the program. Students become immersed in New York’s art scene and receive privileged access to arts professionals and guest speakers drawn from every sector of the industry. Students also learn about global contemporary art through international Field Study, visiting major art centers and events around the world. Past international Field Study trips have included Beijing and Shanghai, Venice, Dubai, Mexico City, and Havana.

The first semester’s curriculum supplies foundations in the study of objects, ideas, histories, and exhibitions. In the second semester we examine the history of art since 2000; we survey key institutions – galleries, auction houses and museums - through which contemporary art flows; and a course on business skills covers keys areas in art law, commerce, and fine art valuation. Students also have the opportunity to choose an elective. The MA in Contemporary Art culminates in a capstone project which can take the form of a traditional, long-form academic thesis, or a more flexible Master’s Project. Students can choose to submit their work in the summer and thereby complete their studies within one year. Alternatively, they can extend their studies into the fall and either transfer to the Institute’s campus in London or return to New York and pursue core courses in either Art Business or Fine and Decorative Art and Design.

About Our Students
Students come from every corner of the globe and our approach to teaching, as well as our Field Study destinations, seek to demonstrate that art and its markets thrive far beyond the traditional centers of New York, Paris, and London. A great many of the students begin their studies having already received some experience in galleries, museums, or auctions, and that leads to rich discussions among their peers - peers who go on to become valuable colleagues in The Institute’s global network of 8,000 alumni.

Our Curriculum
Access a copy of the 2020-21 New York Master's Degree Curriculum and course descriptions.

Explore our Viewbook, click here to receive a copy.

In the spring semester, students have the opportunity to mount an exhibition in our landmark Art Deco General Electric building in midtown Manhattan. This takes place as part of the course, “Curating Contemporary Art”. Admission to this popular elective is by special application.

Learn more about the exhibition series.

Explore our Viewbook, click here to receive a copy.

The Details
  • Curriculum


    Access a copy of the 2020-21 New York Master's Degree Curriculum and course descriptions.

    Learn more about the  Contemporary Art curriculum, click here to watch the webinar recording.

    Note: Course offerings subject to change
  • Faculty
  • Admissions


    Now accepting applications for MA programs starting in fall 2020. For admissions requirements and an overview of the application process, please click here.

    Sotheby’s Institute of Art reviews all completed applications on a rolling basis, and you can apply at any time. Space is limited so we strongly encourage qualified candidates to submit their applications as early as possible and use the below deadlines as a guide. Our enrollment team is available offer support and answer any questions you may have: or +1.646.438.7234

    Deadlines for Fall 2020 MA program:

    • Apply by Wednesday, January 15 for priority consideration around financial aid.

    • Apply by Monday, March 2 to qualify for scholarships.

    • Apply by Monday, May 18 if you are an international student who will need to secure a visa.

  • Tuition


    Semester 1: $23,300
    Semester 2: $23,300
    Semester 3: $13,300 (offsite) or $23,300 (onsite)
    Off-site: capstone (thesis or project), can be undertaken remotely or while working
    On-site: includes a third semester of coursework, capstone, and field study 

    For more information on tuition and program fees, click here.  

    For Gainful Employment Disclosure for this program, click here.
  • Field Trips And Study Visits

    Field Trips And Study Visits

    The MA in Contemporary Art program includes two Field Study trips during which students immerse themselves in an art world destination. These trips are integrated into the core MA Contemporary Art curriculum and are designed to take students to both established and emerging destinations for contemporary art. As a culmination of a series of lectures in the Field Study course, the trip contextualizes art history and art production in a local market through intensive daily visits to museums, galleries, private collections, artists’ studios, and new hybrid institutional models. At each of these locations and throughout the Field Study experience, students have the opportunity to interact with local art world professionals. Students are expected to be active participants, through both individual presentations as well as seminar discussions. Destinations vary per year to include timely and relevant exhibitions, art fairs, and international events. Past trips have included Venice Biennale and Milan; Sharjah Biennial, Art Dubai and Abu Dhabi; Zona Maco Mexico City; São Paulo Biennial; Marfa, Texas; Pacific Standard Time, Los Angeles; Havana, Cuba.
  • Contact And Request Information

    Contact And Request Information

    For further information, please contact:
    Email: or Request Information
    T +1.646.438.7234
MA Contemporary Art Meet Morgan Falconer, Director of MA Contemporary Art, New York

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