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Get a 360-degree view of the art world and develop a foundational understanding of modern and contemporary art history with this accelerated and comprehensive program.

This intensive program is designed to demystify the art industry by introducing students to its key players, its infrastructure, and its vast cultural and economic history. Through lectures, seminars and visits to specialist museums and collections, and many key commercial galleries, students witness first-hand what it takes to make a business successful in today's art market.

Equal parts business and art, the program devotes one unit to art history and a second to art business. In the art history unit, students explore the history of modern and contemporary art and design and the ways in which art has been made, sold, and collected. In the art business unit, students will examine established art markets in the developed world and emerging art markets in the developing world, together with legal and management issues related to global art business practice, with a particular emphasis on the international auction house system. Designed to encourage the kind of entrepreneurial thinking on which the art world thrives, the semester culminates in a final project in which students develop a new art business and pitch it to investors.

The program prepares students for a wide range of careers in the art world, both commercial and not-for-profit sectors, or for further study on one of our postgraduate programs. Students learn practical skills connected to accessing and analyzing art market data, and to evaluating market value for art works across key sectors. Students are introduced to contemporary management models for commercial and non-commercial practices through theory, case studies and practical work. Branding and marketing issues are explored, and essential art market professional roles (e.g. art advisor, curator, gallerist, collector, journalist, art fund manager, etc.) are investigated, together with innovative new art business models, including online initiatives.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update: We continue to monitor and respond to the public health situation regarding COVID-19. If there are any changes to Semester programs, teaching methodology, in-situ site visits, or travel opportunities, we will update these program pages with new information. For all updates about the Institute and its programs as the situation develops, please click here.

The Details
  • Dates


    Dates coming soon.
    Download the Semester Booklet
  • Curriculum


    STRUCTURE: The program is divided into two units, one in art history and one in art business.
    - The business unit, entitled Foundations of Art Business, contains a further two components: Foundations of the Global Art Market, and The Art Market in Practice. These classes are taught on two days a week (Tuesdays and Wednesdays) across the entire semester. Topics covered in this unit may include: the Old Masters art market, innovation in public and private patronage, non-art commodities at auction (e.g. wine), buying and selling art online, international business frameworks, and much more.
    - For the art history unit, students focus on modern and contemporary art. This involves classes taught on two days a week (Thursdays and Fridays) across the entire semester. Part-time students can choose to study one unit only during the semester, or two units over more than one semester. Topics covered in this unit may include: Fauvism, Abstract Expressionism, performance art, Modernism in architecture and design, Cubism, and more.
    TEACHING: The teaching approach includes lectures, interactive seminars, and visits to auction previews, key art fairs, foundations, museums and galleries. The teaching is intensive and supportive, with an emphasis on individual and small-group learning, and on developing a broad range of entrepreneurial skills. It also emphasizes the acquisition of practical skills from an object-based perspective, enabling students to gain confidence in analyzing and identifying a wide range of art objects, both in a classroom setting and in numerous study visits to London’s world-class art collections. Students meet museum curators, auction specialists and art dealers. The unique opportunity to learn about objects close-up enhances students’ critical and visual skills, while immersion in the art world offers them an insight into a booming 21st century industry. Students also gain valuable practical experience in delivering visual presentations and preparing a business plan.
    ASSESSMENT: Students are assessed in the art history unit by a combination of visual analysis tests, essays, and oral presentations. In the business unit they are assessed by seminar contributions, an examination on international art law and business, and a detailed and comprehensive group business proposal.
  • Field Study Trips

    Field Study Trips

    London is a major center for the art world. A wide variety of faculty-led visits to museums, galleries, auction houses, and other locations forms an integral part of the learning experience. Sample venues:
    - Contemporary commercial galleries: ranging from established to cutting edge
    - Estorick Collection
    - Zabludowicz Collection
    - Tate Britain/Tate Modern
    - Royal Academy
    - Saatchi Gallery
    - Frieze Art Fair
    - 1:54 Art Fair
    - Sotheby’s auction house and storage facility
    - The National Gallery
    - Victoria and Albert Museum
    - The Courtauld Galleries
    - Barbican Gallery
    - Hayward Gallery
    - Artists’ studios
    - Whitechapel Gallery
    - Greenwich
    There is also a day trip outside London to an iconic art destination: recent trips have included Blenheim Palace, Petworth House, and Cambridge.
  • Faculty


    Jeffrey Boloten (Course Leader) is Co-Founder and Managing Director of ArtInsight Ltd., the education partner of art market research firm, ArtTactic. With a business and law background, he was a director with several leading international publishers, including Penguin Books, and has held posts at the Tate and as General Manager of a London art college. Boloten is a frequent speaker and lecturer at international art fairs and conferences on topics including the global art, photography, and art investment markets. He is a Founding Member of PAIAM, Professional Advisors to the International Art Market.
    Guest Lecturers
    Designed to introduce students to art world's many career paths, this program features a wide range of top-level guest lecturers who provide a wide variety of perspectives on the industry. Previous lecturers have included: Brendan Mitchell (Head of Sotheby's Bids Department), Alia Al Senussi (Curator, art advisor, and patron), Louisa Buck (Art critic, author, and contemporary art correspondent for The Art Newspaper), Sylvain Levy (Co-Founder of the DSL art collection), James Willington (International Finance Director, Gagosian Galleries), and Kirsten Dunne (Senior Cultural Policy Officer, Mayor of London’s Office).
    View all faculty
  • Student Stories

    Student Stories

    "Sotheby’s Institute prepared me for the role that I cover today and gave me the necessary tools to progress in my career."
    —Giorgia Parodi Brown (Student)
    Hear from previous students about their experience.
  • Credit & Validation

    Credit & Validation

    The program is validated by The University of Manchester, one of the UK’s leading universities. Students who complete the program successfully will gain 60 University of Manchester undergraduate credits.
    This generally translates to 16 undergraduate credits or 12 graduate credits in the US system and 30 credits in the European (ECTS) system. Students currently enrolled at other colleges or universities should be aware that transfer of credit is always made at the discretion of the accepting institution. Therefore, applicants should confirm the feasibility of credit transfer with faculty advisors at their home school in advance of registration.
    Students completing this program also receive a certificate from Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
  • Tuition


    Tuition information coming soon.
    Our programs require travel that may include visits to galleries, special collections, art fairs, and art-related events including destinations abroad on Semester programs. Local travel costs, i.e. (public) transport within London, are borne by the student and vary from program to program. Travel costs relating to scheduled trips to collections or museums outside of London but within the UK are borne by Sotheby’s Institute of Art.
    Click here to read Terms and Conditions.
  • Admissions


    Semester students come from a range of educational and professional backgrounds, from current students visiting from other institutions to career professionals looking to develop new areas of knowledge. As such, each application is assessed on an individual basis, and takes into account a variety of factors.
    For non-native English speakers, a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 or TOEFL score of 78 IBT is required.
    No prior art history or subject-matter knowledge is required.
    For further information, please contact: or Request Information
    T +44 (0)20 7462 3221

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