Sotheby’s Institute of Art


Sotheby’s Institute of Art is an institution of higher education devoted to the study of art and its markets with campuses in London (UK), New York City and Los Angeles (USA). The Institute offers full-time accredited Master’s degrees as well as a range of postgraduate certificates, summer, semester and online courses, public programmes and executive education.


The Institute runs full-time master’s degree programs in Art Business, Contemporary Art, Fine and Decorative Art, East Asian Art, Contemporary Design, and Photography. At the London campus, Master’s degrees are awarded by the University of Manchester. In New York, Master’s degrees are granted through the Regents of the State of New York and accredited by the National Association of Schools of Art and Design. In Los Angeles, the Master’s in Art Business is awarded by Claremont Graduate University.


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 course work 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.

For students whose first language is not English the Institute requires certification of English language competence. They accept IELTS level 6.0 or equivalent for Semester and Four-Week Summer Programs. If the students have been taught in English for two years or more, it may be possible to waive the English language Proficiency Exam, upon review of their application.


Sotheby’s Institute of Art aims to provide students with education on the business of art while exploring both the scholarly and practical sides of the art world. In 1995, Sotheby’s Institute of Art – London was granted the status of an Affiliated Institution of the University of Manchester’s Department of Art History and Archaeology. At the end of 2002, Sotheby’s sold its Institute to a US-based information and educational services firm, Cambridge Information Group (CIG), which retains the Sotheby’s name. The current President of the Education Division of Cambridge Information Group, and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, is David C. Levy. Sotheby’s Institute continues to have strong links with Sotheby’s auction house, having members on the Sotheby’s Institute of Art – London advisory board and students having access to internships, auctions and exhibitions at Sotheby’s.


The Institute has a number of effective mechanisms for providing an oversight of learning and teaching. Minutes of the staff/student consultative and programme committees indicate that the students have an effective voice in the management of their learning. Staff Review for Educational Oversight: Sotheby’s Institute of Art 8 Review for Educational Oversight: Sotheby’s Institute of Art use the programme and module questionnaires to evaluate the student learning experience. The students met by the team confirmed the high quality of teaching. Learning methods are varied, including overseas trips on some programmes, extensive use of London museum collections and involvement with institutions in the commercial art market. The Institute’s policy on the peer observation of teaching has encouraged its widespread use across the teaching staff. The programme annual monitoring reports require comment on the outcomes of these teaching observations. Peer observation is a compulsory element for all lecturers during probation.

The programme annual monitoring reports provide an effective tool for oversight of feedback to students. They are an effective means of capturing staff and student views, and tracking actions. The students met by the team find the written and verbal feedback they receive helpful in preparing for their future assessments.

The Institute has mechanisms that ensure there is appropriate staff expertise to deliver its programmes. It has a comprehensive recruitment and selection policy. The present recruitment policy for academic staff is to reduce the consultant staff with an increase in full-time and fractional appointments. All academic staff must be approved by the University of Manchester. Recently, the Institute has reviewed its staff induction process to enhance its effectiveness. For example, there is now compulsory observation of teaching and mentoring for new lecturers. Programme directors are responsible for carrying out appraisals for those teaching on their courses. The annual appraisal process monitors and evaluates staff performance. The process results in action plans identifying staff development opportunities. Analysis by the Institute concluded there was a need for additional staff development on academic management and leadership for programme directors and this is now in place.


Their mission is to enable their graduates to fulfill their professional goals through a comprehensive program of career services and professional development support. Sotheby’s Institute Career Services work in concert to facilitate students and alumni accessibility to career services support in both the US and UK.

Series of workshops, as well as career resources to support students’ success in securing job/internships opportunities. Topics include Developing Tools to Marketing Yourself Effectively, Networking, and, Recruitment Practices, Making the Most of their Internship Opportunity.

Opportunities to network with their alumni population through Alumni Panels, Alumni-Student Networking Events, and Employer Roundtables / Career Fairs.

One-on-one confidential and impartial sessions with their experienced Career Directors customized to meet each student’s individualized needs whether they are early career starters or re-focusing their career into the art world.

Access to College Central, their job portal where students and alumni can locate job and internship opportunities. This site currently has over 1,000 employers registered with an average of 1000 opportunities advertised per academic year.

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