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Develop your expertise in art since 1968, examining the key movements, artistic tendencies, practices, and debates that have informed all aspects of contemporary art.

The MA in Contemporary Art is the longest running specialized Master’s program of its kind in the world. Established in 1991, it focuses on art in the period from 1968 to the present, with strands on art history, curatorial studies, and critical theory, and a strong emphasis throughout on professional career development. The program covers developments in contemporary art from around the world, examining a broad range of artistic practices and institutional structures, from the highly established to the most innovative. The program is designed for those who are fully committed to the study of contemporary art and who intend to pursue careers in the field. Graduates of this program have gone on to work at museums, commercial and not-for-profit galleries, auction houses, consultancies, journals, international art fairs, and universities.

Academic Structure

This twelve-month-long program is unique in combining rigorous academic study of contemporary art with the acquisition of skills of professional practice.

The Master’s degree is awarded for 120 taught credits across two semesters, as well as the completion of a 60-credit dissertation over the course of an additional semester.

The first two semesters are intensively taught on four (occasionally five) days per week. In the first semester, Navigating the Art World (30 Credits) brings students from different MAs together for an introduction to the art world and to a variety of postgraduate research skills and methodologies within the disciplines of art history and art business. Later in the program, specialist electives can be chosen from across all Institute Master’s programs, allowing a student to build a personalized Master’s profile. Students take two 15-credit electives across a variety of offerings for deeper expertise or to develop specialties. Core units (60 credits) for the Contemporary Art degree cover the period from 1968 to the present.

Students complete a range of assignments during the program that are designed to help them become sophisticated graduates with high caliber academic and vocational skills and knowledge, preparing them for success in their career. Object-based assignments foster students’ skills of observation, description and interpretation. Other assignments, such as essays, develop skills of research, analysis, contextualization, and criticism, promoting students’ ability to present material in different written and spoken modes. Students are encouraged to consider the networks in which art is created, exhibited, and collected. All students will be involved in assignments that simulate “real world” tasks, projects, and scenarios; for example, exhibition reviews, collection/catalogue entries, and planning for a hypothetical exhibition or journal.

For the MA degree, students must complete the 60-credit dissertation in their third semester. During this final semester there is no formal teaching, with students researching their dissertation topics under the guidance of individual supervisors. At the start of the program, students are allocated a personal tutor who supports their academic and personal development throughout. Lectures are given by members of the faculty as well as by consultants whose main work is within the art world, thus facilitating networking opportunities.

The Details
  • Program Dates

    Program Dates

    January 11, 2021 – December 2021
    APPLICATION DEADLINE: NOVEMBER 27, 2020
  • Curriculum & Schedule

    Curriculum & Schedule

    CURRICULUM
    Click here for a copy of the MA prospectus, which includes curricula, course descriptions, and information for all London Master's programs.
    SCHEDULE

    • Spring 2021: This cohort’s first semester begins the week of January 11, 2021 in person on our London campus, circumstances permitting. In addition to core coursework, students take two elective (including the opportunity to apply for a work placement elective which includes an accredited internship), and two or more field study trips, travel and health advisories permitted.

    • Summer 2021: Students complete their on-campus studies by August 13, 2021.

    • Fall 2021: The dissertation is to be completed by December 2021.

  • Faculty

    Faculty

    Dr Juliet Hacking (Program Director) began her academic career as a visiting lecturer at the Universities of Derby, Reading and the Courtauld Institute. She joined Sotheby’s Institute-London in 2006, and was the Program Director of the MA in Photography for 10 years. In 2016, she became a member of the MA in Contemporary Art faculty and was appointed its Program Director in 2018. She is the author of Photography and the Art Market (2018), Lives of the Great Photographers (2015), and general editor of Photography: The Whole Story (2012).
    Dr Marcus Verhagen
    Working primarily on contemporary art since 2002, Verhagen has written more than seventy articles and reviews for art magazines such as Art Monthly and Frieze. He has published in several periodicals, including Representations, New Left Review, Third Text and Afterall. Much of his recent work revolves around globalization. His book Flows and Counterflows: Globalisation in Contemporary Art was published in 2017.
    Dr Pierre Saurisse taught contemporary art at the Universities of Aix-Marseilles and Rennes. In 2007, his book on chance in European and American art of the 1960s, La Mécanique de l’imprévisible, was published by L’Harmattan. Since he wrote a chapter in a book on performance in 2010, his research has focused on this field. Saurisse has reviewed exhibitions and books for Beaux-Arts Magazine, Critique d’Art, and Parachute, and has had articles published in Territoires Contemporains and Visual Culture in Britain. He recently wrote a chapter in the book The Mediatization of the Artist.
    View all faculty
  • Tuition

    Tuition

    Semester 1: £10,850 (UK/EU citizens) or £13,000 (other countries)
    Semester 2 + Travel Fee*: £13,700 (UK/EU citizens) or £15,850 (other countries)
    Semester 3**: £5,500 (UK/EU citizens) or £6,700 (other countries)
    Deposit: £1,000
    *Travel fees are indicative only and subject to change.
    **Students pursuing a two-semester Postgraduate Diploma do not incur Semester 3 tuition.
    For more information on tuition and program fees, click here.
  • Field Study Trips

    Field Study Trips

    All of our Master’s programs include field study opportunities that enable students to become immersed in the international art community. Field study contextualizes lectures and discussions through visits to fairs, galleries, private collections, museums, artists’ studios, and more.
    In-person field study trips are planned to commence in Spring 2021. Destinations are yet to be determined.
    We continue to monitor and respond to the public health situation regarding COVID-19.  We will take every precaution to ensure the health and safety of our students, faculty, and staff and will adhere to all government travel recommendations.
  • Admissions

    Admissions

    Now accepting applications for all MA programs. For admissions requirements and an overview of the application process, please click here.
    View Terms & Conditions
    Space is limited so we strongly encourage qualified candidates to submit their applications as early as possible.
    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: admissionslondon@sia.com
    Call us: +44 (0)20 7462 3232

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