Sotheby's Institute of Art

Sotheby's Institute of Art (London)

Fine and Decorative Art and Design

The Master’s in Fine and Decorative Art and Design derives from the oldest programme 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.

The programme welcomes students from a variety of backgrounds who are motivated by an object-based approach to the study of the fine and decorative arts, 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. Students are able to specialise in areas of particular interest within the fine and decorative arts. In addition, students take two focused options which complement the core teaching, choosing from a range offered across the MA programmes.

Entry requirements

All MA and Postgraduate Diploma applicants are required to have completed a BA degree or its equivalent. Students in their final undergraduate year may apply for admission and will be required to provide proof of graduation prior to registration.

Applicants should demonstrate the following skills:

  • The ability to perform at a postgraduate level, as indicated by academic achievement and recommendations.
  • Knowledge of art history. This generally requires an undergraduate art history major or minor. In special cases, art-related work experience or exceptional exposure to art making and/or collecting will satisfy this requirement. (Applicants with insufficient art history background may be required to take coursework at the Institute or an institution of their choice that is approved by the Institute’s faculty.)
  • The ability to speak, write and analyse required subject matter fluently in English.

Work experience is not required. However, relevant employment and/or internships enhance a student’s application.

Application deadlines

The priority deadline for MA applications is 1 March 2016. Applications received after 1 March 2016 will be considered based on space availability.

Course modules

ACADEMIC YEAR 2016 – 2017

Core units

  • Navigating the Art World – core curriculum
  • Fine and Decorative Art: Production and Patronage Fine Art
  • Art and Design: Modernity and Modernisms

Optional units

  • 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
  • Dissertation projects (MA only)


Qualification Study mode Fee Course duration
PgDip Full-time £ 23,100 per Whole course (home fees) 8 months
MA Full-time £ 28,800 per Whole course (home fees) 12 months

Campus details

Campus name Town Postcode Region Main campus Campus Partner
Sotheby's Institute of Art, London Camden WC1B 3EE South East