Close Request Information
Back to Master's Programs in New York


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, alongside further art historical study and a course on art world business skills, students have the opportunity to develop specializations through the choice of two electives. Here, students can draw on the rich resources of The Institute’s graduate programs in Art Business and Fine and Decorative Art and Design, opening a wealth of possibilities. 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 campuses in London or Los Angeles, 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 2019-20 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.

MA Contemporary Art Meet Morgan Falconer, Director of MA Contemporary Art, New York
The Details
  • Curriculum


    Access a copy of the 2019-20 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
  • Course Fees & Application

    Course Fees & Application

    Click here for tuition and application requirements.

    Now accepting applications for Master's programs starting Fall 2019. Apply Now.

    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.
  • Access To Top Art Research Centers

    Access To Top Art Research Centers

    In addition to research and study at the New York campus library, Sotheby's Institute of Art students have access to some of the top art research centers in the United States. These include the Museum of Modern Art Library, the Frick Art Reference Library, the Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum, and the extensive art and architecture collection of the New York Public Library.
  • Contact And Request Information

    Contact And Request Information

    For further information, please contact:
    Email: or Request Information
    T +1.646.438.7234

Have a Question?

Provide your contact information and we’ll send you more information about our courses.

Continue Exploring

Meet Our Alumni Careers Events Request Information