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If you are thinking of submitting an application for our Master’s, Semester or Summer programs, please familiarise yourself with the admissions requirements for each program. For more information, we encourage you to attend an Open Day, Information Session near you or book an appointment to visit the Institute at our Bedford Square campus and meet with an Admissions Officer.

Campus Visits

Appointments to visit the London Campus can be arranged via the Admissions Office where you can discuss any questions about the admissions process. If you are unable to visit the campus we can also arrange a telephone appointment if more convenient.

To schedule  a visit or telephone appointment, please contact Samantha Roberts-Aird at


Our Master’s, Semester and Four-Week Summer programs are all validated by The University of Manchester, one of the largest and most prestigious universities in the U.K.

Master’s Programs

In London, we offer four Master's Degree programs: Art Business, Contemporary Art, Fine and Decorative Art and Design, and Modern and Contemporary Asian Art. All MA’s start with an intensive shared unit ‘Navigating the Art World,’ which provides an in-depth introduction to the art world and development of professional and critical skills. In addition, the flexible structure of the Master’s programs allows students to further specialize their studies, once they have completed the core units of their chosen MA, by choosing two electives from a broad range of expertly led units.
Learn more about the Master's program at the London campus here.

Postgraduate Diplomas

For each of the four Master’s programs a two-semester Postgraduate Diploma is available to students who complete the required coursework for an MA Degree program but who do not wish to write a Master's Degree Dissertation. Learn more about the Postgraduate Diploma at the London campus here.

Semester Programs

The Institute offers a number of full-time fifteen-week programs which run both in the Autumn and the Spring semester and some of which can be taken on a part-time basis. These programs do not require any previous university qualifications and are designed for students who have a strong vocational or professional interest in a specific subject. They can also provide the necessary foundation for students who lack a formal education in art history and are applying to an MA program at the Institute. Learn more about the Semester Study programs at the London campus here.

Summer Study Programs

The Summer Study programs offer intensive courses in areas of art business, art history, finance, contemporary art and design. The programs are designed for undergraduates, graduates, career changers and all those interested in art and the art world. Full-time courses are offered over two sessions and students have the option to attend both. Learn more about the Summer Study program at the London campus here.

Apply Now

Now accepting applications for fall 2017 Master's Programs. Apply Now
We welcome high caliber applications that meet our Admissions requirements.

Now accepting applications for Semester programs beginning in September 2017 and January 2018. Apply Now 

Post-EU Referendum (Brexit)

Following the outcome of the EU referendum, there has been a period of uncertainty for students wishing to study in the UK. Sotheby’s Institute of Art is proud to be a global institution, and we continue to welcome European and international students.

There will be a gradual exit process during which the UK will be in a state of transition. The change will not happen immediately. We anticipate that there will be no alteration in our admissions arrangements for the 2017/18 and 2018/19 EU student cohorts.

Throughout this period, we will continue to provide advice and guidance on studying in the UK. We aim to offer clarity on issues directly affecting our non-UK European students and deliver a first-class admissions experience for all of our students. For more information please read our Frequently Asked Questions.

Admissions Entrance Requirements Required Documentation Tuition Fees Financing Your Study Online Application After you apply – Master’s programs Brexit FAQ Contact

Entrance Requirements

Entrance Requirements for the Master's Degree and Postgraduate Diploma

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.

Applicants to our MA programs who have not completed an undergraduate Art History major or minor may be offered a place on their chosen program conditional upon completion of an assessed course in art history provided by the Institute. This may take the form of a summer course or courses in London, an online course, or a 15-week semester course in London. Semester courses begin in January and September each year. If you do not have a degree in Art History, you are encouraged to submit your MA application well in advance of the start of semester courses. For more information about semester courses, please click here.

Entrance requirements for Semester and Summer Study programs

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

Click here to find out about applying for Semester Programs.

Click here to find out about Summer Study.

Required Documentation

Required Documentation for Master’s Degree and Postgraduate Diploma
  • Academic transcripts/mark sheets from all post-secondary academic institutions attended.
  • Two letters of academic reference. These should be sent directly from your referees/references either by mail to the London campus (30 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3EE), or sent from a professional email address directly to using the Confidential Reference Form which can be downloaded from the application form.
  • Personal Statement (max 1000 words). Please tell us about your reasons for your choice of program, any relevant academic or art related experience, and your future career goals.
  • A writing sample. The writing sample helps the Admission Committee understand how a prospective student develops ideas, creates a theme or a position, communicates and defends the work in writing. Please submit one of the following: 1) A paper of no fewer than 1000 words, from a formal art history course, completed within the last 3 years. Include citations as originally submitted. OR 2) A 1000-word original essay for an art magazine (Frieze, Art Review or Artforum for example). Look at examples in the magazine and consider both the profile of the publication and the purpose of the article. Your essay should be a mock review of a current art exhibition that you have experienced directly. You should address some or all of these components: analysis of the works of art, information on the artist and his/her career, commentary on the installation of the exhibition, profile of host gallery or museum. Remember that your editor has asked for 1000 words: if you send him/her fewer than 900 or over 1100 words it will not be accepted. Footnotes are required for any citations.
  • A CV/resume that includes all relevant art related background.
  • English language proficiency exam. The Institute requires an English language Proficiency Exam for non-native English applicants. We require a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 for Masters and 6.5 for Postgraduate Diploma programs. If you have received an undergraduate degree from a University in a majority English speaking country, it may be possible to waive the English language Proficiency Exam, upon review of your application. If you require a Tier 4 (general) visa to study in the UK, you have to take the IELTS for UKVI test. No other tests are accepted as part of the visa application process, this includes other tests offered by IELTS. Further information can be found here.
  • An Interview. This is an opportunity for candidates to discuss their interests and abilities as well as to explore ways in which the Institute can help them meet their educational and career goals. Interviews may be with a faculty member or the director of the applicant’s program of choice and generally include a discussion of art historical or art related subjects and images. In person interviews are preferable and encouraged although telephone or Skype interviews may be arranged in cases where travel to either the London or New York campus is a hardship.
  • A non-refundable application fee of £50 (GBP).
Required Documentation for Semester and Summer Study Programs
  • A CV/resume that includes all relevant art related background
  • English language proficiency exam. The Institute requires an English language Proficiency Exam for non-native English applicants. We require a minimum IELTS score of 6.0 for Semester and Summer programs. If you have been taught in English, it may be possible to waive the English language Proficiency Exam, upon review of your application.
  • A diploma and/or transcript from most recent educational institution attended (Summer only).

Click here to find out about applying for Semester Programs.

Click here to find out about Summer Study.

Tuition Fees

Fees for Master’s programs 2017-2018

UK & EU Nationals
Deposit: £500
Semester 1: £ 9,550
Semester 2: £ 10,050
PG Dip total: £20,100
Semester 3: £4,800
Total: £24,900

Non-UK/EU Nationals
Deposit: £500
Semester 1: £11,050
Semester 2: £11,550
PG Dip total:£23,100
Semester 3: £5,700
Total: £28,800

These fees are exclusive of the cost of travel for study visits.

Travel Costs

Art Business: £3,050
Contemporary Art: £1,700
Fine and Decorative Art and Design: £1,945
Modern and Contemporary Asian Art: £3,900

Fees for Semester programs

Art and Business Full-time: £8,500, Part-time: £4,350
Art Business Foundation and Placement – £8,050
Art Museums, Galleries and Curating – Full-time: £8,050, Part-time: £4,100 + travel
Asian Art  and its Markets  – Full-time: £8,050, Part-time: £4,100 + travel
Decorative Art and Design – Full-time: £8,050, Part-time: £4,100 + travel

Foundations of Western Art – Full-time: £8,050, Part-time: £4,100 + travel
Click here to find out more...

Fees for Summer courses 2017

Click here to find out more...

Estimated Living Expenses in London

Our programs require travel that may include visits to galleries, special collections, art fairs and art-related events including destinations abroad on semester and MA programs. Travel costs are borne by the student and vary from program to program. So that the Institute can buy tickets and make reservations in advance, travel costs for each academic program are calculated and charged for the full program at the same time tuition for semester 1 is due.

To help you estimate the financial obligations required to attend Sotheby’s Institute of Art - London, the following budget is provided. The figures were taken from a recent student survey. From the figures shown you will see that the level of expenditure incurred depends greatly upon lifestyle.

Monthly Spend
Food & Accommodation: £588 - £2,181 (Middle 80%): £1,347 (Average)
Other Expenses: £70 - £585 (Middle 80%); £295 (Average)
Total Monthly: £658 - £2,766 (Middle 80%); £1,642 (Average)

Financing Your Study

Sotheby's Institute of Art offers a range of financial assistance through both full scholarships and grants. Accepted students may apply for both scholarships and grants (excluding Summer Study).

Click here to find out about Scholarships, Grants and Loans at Sotheby's Institute - London.

Online Application

The online application system allows candidates to submit scanned copies of all required documents, with the exception of references. If necessary, transcripts, references and other relevant documents may be submitted separately from the application and at a later date. However, it is preferable that all documents be received prior to an applicant’s interview.

For more information please review our Frequently Asked Questions

After you apply – Master’s programs

Applicants will receive an email from the Admissions team acknowledging receipt of their application within two working days. This email will include an update on any documents or required information that may still be outstanding. These should then be sent directly to the campus at which the application was submitted.


After the Admissions team has received sufficient documentation, eligible candidates will be contacted for an interview.

Admissions Decisions

The Admissions Committee reviews and processes applications on a “rolling basis.” This means that applications are considered throughout the year as long as space is available. Applicants whose documentation is complete generally receive an admissions decision within two weeks of their interview.

Confirmation of Attendance and Deposit

Admissions Committee decisions will be sent by email. A deposit of £500 is required of accepted applicants which should be submitted via the Enrollment Form on the Welcome Site, where applicants also confirm they accept the Terms & Conditions of Enrollment. A digital Student Reply Form will be issued and sent as a PDF attachment both to the applicant and the Admissions Department. Accepted applicants who require additional time to make this decision and deposit must contact the Office of Admissions to request an extension.


Applicants who require visas are advised to apply through their appropriate consulate or other government agencies at least 10 weeks prior to the start of classes in order to ensure sufficient time for processing. Students who require visas will receive visa documentation after they confirm their intention to enroll by submitting their Enrolment Forms and deposits, but no earlier than three months prior to the start of classes.

Applicants to the London campus from non-EU countries who require visas to enter the UK are urged to begin the application process three months before the start of their course. UK processing time for a Tier 4 Points Based System General Adult student visa may take 10 weeks or more. For more information, please visit

Please note that UK visa regulations mean that students attending an Institute postgraduate program in London on a Tier 4 visa or a Semester or summer course in London on a Short Term Student Visa are not permitted to undertake any form of (paid or unpaid) work in the UK. For further information please consult the following:

Online Welcome Site

Applicants who have been accepted to the Institute will be given access to the Students’ Welcome Site. This site will provide an opportunity to connect with other incoming students over the summer and to access important information about accommodation and health care. Reading lists and other academic information will be posted on the site during the summer.

Brexit FAQ

In June 2016 the British public voted to leave the European Union. The official process of Britain leaving the EU began on March 29, 2017, with the Government invoking Article 50 of the Treaty of the European Union. There is now a two-year window for withdrawal.

Please note that EU law still stands in the UK until it ceases being a member. The UK will continue to abide by EU treaties and laws, but not take part in any decision-making.

As the current situation stands, the vote to leave the EU will not result in any changes to the immigration status of current or prospective EU students.

There are many negotiations in place, so this will be a slow and gradual process. No member state has ever left the EU, so this will be a complicated and lengthy procedure.

Click here to read Brexit Frequently Asked Questions.


London Admissions

Jessica Bearne Admissions Manager
Tel: +44 (0)20 7462 3250

London Campus

Admissions Office
Sotheby's Institute of Art
30 Bedford Square, Bloomsbury
WC1B 3EE United Kingdom