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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

  • Interact with the leadership and staff of international art organizations.
  • Participate in an internship 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.
  • Benefit from faculty-led tours at museums, galleries, and auction houses.
  • Go on day trips to Oxford, Chichester, or Aylesbury and longer field trips to Vienna, Paris, or Rome.


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. Exception: If you choose the internship track, you take two courses in addition to the internship.
  • Select one track for the entire term. Combining courses from different tracks is not possible. 
  • Submit academic work on time to avoid being marked down or receiving a mark of zero.

Current Program Courses

Sotheby’s Institute courses cover the art market and the history of modern and contemporary art. Choose one of six unique semester tracks and immerse yourself in the rich artistic resources available in London. Each individual course is worth 6 quarter/4 semester UC units.

Tracks in the Fall and Spring

Art and Business

A wide variety of faculty-led visits to museums, galleries, and auction houses are an integral part of the learning experience. Courses:

  • Foundations of the Global Art Market
  • The Art Market in Practice
  • The Modern Period, 1900-1959
  • Contemporary Art and Design

Art of Luxury

Examine the intersection between the worlds of fine art and luxury through central London sites such as Savile Row ateliers, Victoria and Albert Museum, and Newport Gallery. You'll be introduced to industry insiders from a variety of luxury sectors and take a four-day visit to Milan, another European center of luxury. Courses:

  • The Luxury of Business
  • Art and Luxury

Art Museums, Galleries, and Curating

In addition to visits to London museums and galleries, day trips to Oxford, Chichester, and Aylesbury are included. A European field trip to Amsterdam is planned (additional fees apply). Courses:

  • Historic Museums and Galleries I and II
  • Modern Galleries and Contemporary Exhibition Spaces I and II

Internship and Art Business Foundation

You’ll spend 50% of your time in class and 50% of your time in an internship placement. The internship earns 12 quarter/8 semester UC units. Sample field trip venues include Frieze Art Fair and Sotheby's Auction House and Warehouse. You take two courses in addition to the internship:

  • Foundations of the Global Art Market
  • The Art Market in Practice
Tracks in the Fall only

    Decorative Art and Design

    Visit a wide variety of museums and galleries as part of this course. Field trips to Vienna (fall, four days) and Paris (spring, three days) are included (additional fees apply). Courses:

    • The 17th and 18th Century I and II
    • The 19th and 20th Century I and II

    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.


    Many UCEAP participants find British academic culture to be far more independent than the UC culture. You’ll often see suggested rather than mandatory readings and a higher expectation of independent study. There is rarely any immediate accountability for the material presented in lectures; you demonstrate mastery of material in exams at the end of the term. Final grades are highly dependent on just one or two essays or exams. There are also fewer tests and assignments. As a result, you may not know where you stand academically in some courses until final exams. The advantage of such a system is that you can set the agenda of your own education and tailor it to your particular interests.

    Writing Ability

    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.