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Fields of Study: Humanities, Social Sciences

Add a professional edge to your UC degree by combining academic study with insights into the international art world. At the prestigious Sotheby’s Institute of Art, you’ll examine art’s international markets and practices while taking exciting art-focused courses. The institute’s faculty represent the best of the art world and will help you master the unique forces at play at the intersection of art and commerce. At the same time, living in the world capital of London allows you to take full advantage of the rich cultural resources the city offers.

Unique study opportunities

  • Explore different approaches to curation in the UK during a weeklong study tour to museums in the north, possibly Liverpool, Leeds, and Glasgow. 
  • Gain access to professionals, businesses, venues, and career paths within the art world to explore how your academic passion can lead to a career.
  • Experience the expanding field of art business firsthand and learn the inner workings of massive art exhibits and fairs.
  • Interact with the leadership and staff of international art organizations.


Language of Instruction: English

Language Study: None

Courses and credit

Requirements While Abroad

To successfully complete this program:

  • Take a full-time course of study: Four courses for a total of 24 quarter/16 semester UC units each term. 
  • You may take up to one-third (33%) of your total unit load pass/no pass. 

Current Program Courses

During the first part of the semester, you will take the Core Course alongside two Contemporary Culture Courses. During the second part, you can choose one of two Professional Experience Modules. 

Core Course (required - 8 quarter/5.3 semester UC units)

  • THE ART MARKET - uncovers the art world ecosystem, introducing the key concepts, individuals, and business models that underpin the global market and wider creative economy. Exclusive access to individuals and institutions within the art world is a crucial learning tool for this course.

Contemporary Culture Courses (required - 4 quarter/2.7 semester UC units each)

  • EXPLORING COLLECTIONS, EXPLODING CANONS - takes a critical look at the Western tradition of art history through a range of London and UK art collections, and engages with some of the key contemporary cultural debates around the politics of collecting and display. This includes decolonization, gender, and the future of monuments in the museums and cultural heritage sector.
  • DIGITAL FUTURES - ART AND TECHNOLOGY - introduces the dynamic discourse at the intersection of art and technology. It examines the fast-evolving digital world and how it is reshaping art practice, the international art market, and the curatorial field.

Professional Experience Module (choose one - 8 quarter/5.3 semester UC units each)

  • CURATOR ACADEMY - has a project-oriented focus and equips students with the conceptual knowledge and practical skill to plan, develop, and deliver a curatorial project. Topics include the curator as auteur, facilitator, mediator, and project manager as well as contemporary curatorial approaches and research methodology.
  • CREATIVE BUSINESS ACCELERATOR - teaches how to develop and present a business plan for a commercial or social enterprise within the creative economy. Students gain a range of sought-after hard and soft skills, across five key areas: market analysis, product or service design, branding, assessing resources, and an in-depth financial forecasting.

Catalogs and resources

Academic culture

Studying in the United Kingdom is interesting and challenging. Classes at the Sotheby’s Institute are small by UC standards, and the smaller size creates a stimulating learning environment, often with more personal instruction and student-teacher interaction than at UC. Students at the Sotheby’s Institute are of all ages and come from a wide variety of educational and professional backgrounds. The international makeup of the student body generates a rich and dynamic learning environment.

Essays are an integral part of undergraduate life, and there is significantly more emphasis on writing in the UK than at UC. Seminars and tutorial sessions often require papers and oral reports, and you may need to submit two or three essays per term.

Excellent writing ability is the norm, and marking down for poor writing, spelling, and grammar is common. It is important to express ideas clearly and coherently using well-supported arguments. This is as important in exams as it is in essays written during the term. To avoid spelling and grammar errors, change your laptop setting to “English (UK)” and use spelling and grammar tools regularly.

The style of essay writing is also a bit different. Instructors typically expect more secondary sources to be evident in essays than at UC. A good essay will attempt to insert itself into the critical discourse on the topic, not appear simply as the writer’s personal thoughts. Research your topic thoroughly and use that research in your essay. Pay close attention to the correct citation of sources. Plagiarism, even if accidental, will incur severe penalties.


You will earn direct UC credit and grades for all coursework. Grades are usually available mid-February.