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Experience the business side of art, delving into the theories, practices, history, and structural elements that define the art market.

The global art market is the circulatory system of the art world. Business transactions are the lifeblood of the system, moving art from the studio to the gallery, the auction room, the collector’s home, and the museum. Along the way, artists, dealers, art advisors, curators, art handlers, insurers, and auction house experts engage in a complicated dance to build and sustain the value of the work and the careers and interests of all parties. Our pioneering Art Business program provides a vocational bridge for art history students into this vast commercial art world. Art Business is now a developed academic discipline in which Sotheby’s Institute continues to play the leading role. Balancing academic rigor with real-world applications in a dynamic learning environment with privileged access to key art institutions — this program equips graduates with the skills and knowledge in art markets and business management, entrepreneurship, connoisseurship, and collecting.

To ensure the health and safety of our students, this Master’s program (starting in January 2021) will be offered in a hybrid format. The program may be completed remotely or customized for in-person components. 

Academic Structure

The MA in Art Business was the first program of its kind and our innovative curriculum continues to set the industry standard. Balancing academic rigor with real-world applications in a dynamic environment, the program provides an alternative to traditional academic models of study and stays in sync with the rapidly-evolving global art market. Core competencies in the art business world, from finance to marketing, are gained through courses that use the business-related tenets of economics to generate a modern, consistent, formal framework for strategic decision-making. In addition to learning with our faculty of thought leaders, scholars, and industry experts, students are given opportunities to engage professionals in the New York and international arts and cultural community and to learn directly from practitioners who are leaders in their field. Courses in art law, valuation, sales, strategy, marketing, and finance lay the foundation upon which students build a specialized program that suits their needs.

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 third semester.

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 addition to a full course load, students participate in two in-person or virtual field study trips in semesters one and two. Students may elect to undertake an internship to gain practical skills or take one elective to broaden their expertise.

The MA in Art Business culminates in a capstone project which can take the form of a traditional, long-form academic thesis, or a more flexible Master’s Project (often a business plan or curatorial project). Students may also elect to extend their studies an additional semester and either transfer to the Institute’s campus in London or return to New York and pursue core courses in either Contemporary Art or Fine and Decorative Art and Design.

The Details
  • Program Dates

    Program Dates

    January 25, 2021 – May 2022
  • Curriculum & Schedule

    Curriculum & Schedule

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

    • Spring 2021: Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York has scheduled in-person programming alongside live online lectures, which will mitigate the risk of large group gatherings and provide the invaluable added benefit of recorded lectures and guest speakers, online breakout sessions, and virtual discussion boards. Students will attend lectures online and may elect to participate in the in-person campus community and the New York art world with library access, small-group sessions, faculty appointments and office hours, field study site visits by appointment individually or in small groups, walking tours, as well social programming throughout the city (circumstances permitting).

    • Fall 2021: Students complete their on-campus studies, cultivate networking opportunities with faculty, guest speakers, and industry experts, as well as participate in field study (circumstances permitting). Students will also prepare for their capstone – thesis or master’s project. Additionally, students will be invited to social programming, networking events, and career development opportunities. Faculty will also offer office hours and small groups sessions. Fall semester may be completed remotely if students wish.

    • Spring 2022: The thesis or master’s project is to be completed by April 1, 2022. Students may also pursue an optional third semester of coursework at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York or London.

  • Faculty


    Brendan Burns (Consulting Program Director) has spent over 20 years at leading technology, graphic arts and financial institutions including, 1000|Museums, Moody’s Investors Service, Salomon Brothers, and AdOne, an Internet software pioneer. For the past 10 years Burns has managed consulting, advisory and strategic growth assignments under Stepping Stone Capital Partners and Stepstone Art Resources. Since 2004, Burns has been a professor and senior lecturer in the Entrepreneurship Program at Columbia Business School.
    Judith Prowda is an attorney, mediator, and arbitrator focused on art law, copyright, entertainment and commercial law. She is a founding member of Stropheus Art Law, a collective of art law and business specialists who offer unbundled services to the art community. She also participated in a small working group of lawyers who created the Court of Arbitration for Art (CAfA) in The Hague.
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  • Tuition


    Semester 1: $23,300
    Semester 2: $23,300 + Travel Fee TBD
    Semester 3: $13,300*
    *Capstone (thesis or project) may be undertaken remotely or while working. Students may also choose to do an optional 3rd semester of coursework + field study at Sotheby’s Institute of Art-New York.
    For more information on tuition and program fees, click here.
  • Field Study Trips

    Field Study Trips

    Spring 2021 will focus on the evolution of New York City as the art capital of the world. Taking an art historical and market-oriented approach, this Field Study will include lectures on architecture, cultural institutions, museums, gallery districts, auction houses, and more. Walking tours and site visits by appointment will also be available circumstances permitting, providing an immersive experience for students located in New York City. This course may be successfully completed remotely.
    All MA students in this cohort will be invited to two (2) optional future field study trips. Students will be notified as soon as this future trip is organized. Note: Students will not be charged for field study travel fees until they elect to participate. No Tuition fees will be required to participate in future optional field study trips.
  • 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.
    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

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