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

Become an art connoisseur, developing an intimate understanding of the techniques, materials, and history that contribute to the value of an object or artwork.

The Fine and Decorative Art and Design curriculum is based on a simple belief: the fundamental currency of the art world is objects. The Master’s program examines the diverse cultural histories of objects, makers, and markets of each period, focusing on providing a strong foundation in the history of art, iconography, materials, and techniques in America, Europe, and Asia. Students learn how to engage directly with the marketplace and gain essential skills in connoisseurship, valuation, and curation, which are necessary to study and evaluate objects. Whether in sales, valuation, art history, or cultural institution management at museums, galleries, or auction houses — graduates of the Master’s degree program in Fine and Decorative Art and Design are prepared for a range of careers and leave with an expanded professional network.

Academic Structure

MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design students analyze a range of objects dating from the Renaissance to the late twentieth century, examining them from a stylistic point of view, but not neglecting the wider historical, social, economic and cultural factors which have influenced the production of these art works. The program aims to develop critical understanding of the terms “fine art,” “decorative art,” and “design” and of the synergies and divergences between art objects across a range of media and periods.

The MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design 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 Contemporary Art.

Students will spend much of the course looking at objects first-hand in a variety of settings, including museums, art fairs, auction houses and collections, in the United States. They are encouraged to make judgements about the aesthetic value, and sometimes the commercial value, of what they see. The knowledge and experience gained equips them for employment in many different areas of the international art world and alumni can be found working in auction houses, museums and commercial galleries in many different countries.

The Details
  • Curriculum


    The Master’s degree is awarded for 30 taught credits across semesters one and two, as well as the completion of a 6-credit thesis or capstone project.
    In the first semester, Navigating the Art World brings students from all MAs together for faculty lectures and expert panel discussions to investigate the inextricable connections between art and business in today’s economy.
    In semesters one and two, students participate in two field study trips. In semester two, students undertake an internship to gain practical skills and take one elective to broaden their expertise.
    Download the Curriculum
    Note: Course offerings subject to change
  • Faculty


    Ann-Marie Richard (Program Director) is a fine art asset and design specialist, art historian, curator, author and advisor. She was previously Executive Vice President at the art advisory firm Gurr Johns. She has lectured extensively on the topics of retrospective and emerging art markets, connoisseurship, collecting, conservation, provenance, and the related subtleties of appraising fine and decorative arts and design. She has spoken on these topics at Columbia University, the American Association of Museums, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Fashion Institute of Technology, Pratt Institute, and The Aspen Institute.
    View all 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.
    Space is limited so we strongly encourage qualified candidates to submit their applications as early as possible.
    Deadlines for Fall 2020 MA program:

    • Early Decision Deadline: January 15, 2020

    • Regular Decision/Final Financial Aid Deadline: March 2, 2020

  • Tuition


    Semester 1: $23,300
    Semester 2: $23,300
    Semester 3: $13,300 (offsite)* or $23,300 (onsite)**
    *Offsite: capstone (thesis or project), can be undertaken remotely or while working
    **Onsite: 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 Study Trips

    Field Study Trips

    In addition to frequent visits to art and cultural destination in and near New York City, the MA in Fine and Decorative Art and Design program includes field study trips during which students immerse themselves in the study of art, objects, and architecture. These trips place students directly in front of objects they have studied so they can understand the many factors that impact their successful presentation and interpretation. Past trips have included Art Basel Miami Beach, The Netherlands, London, and Paris.
  • Questions?


    Some of your questions may be answered in the frequently asked questions section of our website. If you do not see your question, we are happy to help. All prospective students are encouraged to contact our Admissions Office to schedule a one-on-one information session to learn more about the program, the application process, tuition, financial aid, and more.
    Email us:
    Call us: +1.646.438.7234
MA Fine and Decorative Art and Design Meet Ann-Marie Richard, Director of MA Fine and Decorative Art and Design, Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York

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