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Core Curricula

All of the Master’s programs at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London, New York and Los Angeles* are enhanced by shared core curricula that provide a powerful set of professional skills and critical understandings for our students to mobilize at the completion of their degrees. With 45 years of experience in providing specialized programs for highly motivated and focused students, Sotheby's Institute has prepared generations of art world professionals to flourish as leaders in the field.

Drawing on this experience and reflecting the extraordinary success of our graduates in a wide variety of professional venues, the Institute’s core curriculum brings students from all areas of study together for a common introduction to current issues in the art world – its structures and organizations, as well as its essential skills and protocols. Site visits, lectures and panels, case studies (including, for example, Sotheby’s auction house, the Metropolitan Museum and Frieze Art Fair) and workshops provide students with both new information and context, as well as real-world examples and experiences.

The first semester of every Master’s program begins with an intensive and multi-faceted introductory unit which explores six major topics, each vital to successful engagement in the professional art world.

  • Mapping the Art World: structures and networks
  • How to approach art: from historic to contemporary; visual literacy
  • The Art Market; history, development and emerging markets
  • Collecting, Collections and Exhibitions: private, corporate and institutional
  • Business and Valuation: concepts, finance, investment
  • Law and Ethics: principles, cases and authenticity

The first semester will also introduce students to core study skills at postgraduate level including academic and professional writing and good practice. They will  then focus on the application of this foundational knowledge and skill-set through practice-oriented content and individual or group projects.

Shared core curricula, combined with the focused study of the MA curricula, equip Sotheby's Institute students with vital skills for the art world.


*Sotheby’s Institute of Art – Los Angeles through its partnership with The Drucker School of Management at Claremont Graduate University, offers a dual core curriculum and, currently, six areas of concentration, leading to a Master of Arts in Art Business or a Master of Arts in Arts Management. Click here to find out more...

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