"Studying at The Courtauld was an important springboard for my career, working first as a freelance writer, then at the National Gallery, and now at the Hayward Gallery."
Our graduates have gone on to careers as professional art historians and conservators, artists and critics, art dealers and curators (including directors of many of the world's leading galleries and museums); but they have also become journalists, actors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, publishers, teachers and civil servants.
What History of Art Gives You
All of our courses offer highly transferrable skills. Not only will our graduates be equipped with a detailed knowledge and understanding of the history of art, but they also learn how to:
- analyse visual imagery and articulate sophisticated ideas about it in formal writing
- read critically and economically
- assimilate complex material
- formulate and express different kinds of arguments
- present ideas to an audience
- develop independent research skills
- experience collaborative work in groups
The Graduate Diploma offers similar skills in a compressed 9-month course, while the MA courses and research degrees develop academic and critical abilities at the level of advanced study and professional research.
Three of our postgraduate courses provide specialist education required for careers in conservation and the arts. Virtually all graduates of the MA in the Conservation of Wall Painting, the Postgraduate Diploma in the Conservation of Easel Paintings, and the MA in Curating the Art Museum have gone on to careers in these specialist fields.
Preparing you for your Career
Our students benefit from a bespoke careers service and a well-connected network of alumni.
We also offer various opportunities for students to gain work experience through placements and internships during their study at The Courtauld.
The Courtauld is famous for its prestigious alumni over the years. Well-known Courtauld alumni include the artist Jeremy Deller, Director of Tate Nicholas Serota, broadcaster and historian Andrew Graham-Dixon, novelist Anita Brookner and art critic Brian Sewell.Recent Courtauld graduates have gained positions at Christie's, the Royal Academy of Art, White Cube, Birkbeck College, Tate and Frieze magazines, the Victoria and Albert Museum, and the National Gallery.Many of our graduates also continue to further academic study both at The Courtauld and other universities in Britain and abroad.
A Selection of our Alumni
We offer various opportunities for students to gain work experience through placements and internships during their study at The Courtauld.
Work experience is available to current students in various departments of the Institute.
These are available in the Prints & Drawings Study Room and positions in the Witt and Conway photographic libraries, as well as opportunities to give Gallery talks. We also provide training for such work.
The Courtauld Student Ambassador Scheme
This is run by the Courtauld's Public Programmes department, which put on an extensive programme of public events and opportunities for adults and young people, whatever their age or background, to benefit from the Institute's unique resources.
Students can get involved in their schools, community, outreach and public events, gain invaluable skills and help promote Art History as a subject and the work of the Institute more widely.
‘The Courtauld’s Student Ambassador Scheme has given me some of the most fruitful and amazing experiences I have had at the Institute. The scheme has shown me how dedicated the Institute is in its quest to widen participation to people of all ages and backgrounds."
- BA student and Ambassador
Gain curating experience
The student-curated East Wing Collection has given many undergraduates a valuable experience of curating a loan exhibition.
Every year Research Associates are appointed from the student body to work on aspects of The Courtauld's collections in a project organised by The Courtauld's Research Forum. The Research Forum offers students valuable experience in organising public scholarly events with the full support of professional administrators and academic advisors.
These internal opportunities complement a wide range of paid and unpaid external internships or part-time and temporary jobs regularly available in London, which are frequently filled by Courtauld students and graduates.
Further internships and volunteering opportunities
Students have access to JobOnline, the jobs board run by The Careers Group, University of London. This database provides thousands of paid internship opportunities both in and outside of the arts, alongside part-time work, volunteering opportunities and graduate jobs.
Internships are integral to the curricula of our professionally focussed courses.
The MA in Curating the Art Museum assigns each student to a six-month, two-day-a-week placement in a leading London museum or gallery.
Students on the conservation courses develop their professional skills by working on real projects for a significant proportion of their three years of study. For easel painting, this includes works from The Courtauld Gallery as well as the National Trust and various other owners. This provides not only invaluable technical diversity but immersion in varying structures of curating, collections management and preventive conservation.
Similarly, for wall painting conservation, international fieldwork projects in Europe and Asia, many at World Heritage sites, offer technical challenges and team-building while introducing the international student body to diverse administrative infrastructures.
Our students benefit from a bespoke on-site careers service, which offers impartial advice, information and guidance on a wide range of careers and employability topics including internships and work experience, part-time work, graduate jobs and further study.
Students can access individual consultations or careers events to explore their career options, understand the jobs market, and enhance their employability. Careers consultants will also work with students to perfect their CVs, applications, and assessment and interview technique.
An annual cycle of careers events is run by the Courtauld Association, an association of current and former Courtauld staff and students.
The Association draws upon the expertise of our alumni, hosting regular, well-attended sessions for students featuring guest speakers who provide careers information and guidance on how to progress your career.
It also identifies employment and internship opportunities, which are often exclusively available for Courtauld students and alumni. The Courtauld Association website includes an online Career Centre, which includes a facility for uploading CVs. The alumni of the Courtauld Association also help us to gain feedback from employers about the profile of our graduates, which in turn helps us continuously to improve our teaching and their employability.
In May 2010, the British Government’s Coalition Programme signaled its intent to begin publishing more information about the costs, graduate earnings and student satisfaction of university courses. Each university has therefore been required to publish a statement that summarizes what it offers to their students to support their employability and transition into employment. Statements are expected to focus on the support available, rather than the employment outcomes themselves, as the latter is already available on the Unistats website.
Career planning and employment
The Courtauld has its own bespoke careers service, supported by The Careers Group, University of London. Students can access impartial advice, information and guidance in a range of services including CVs and applications, interviews, how to get an internship, understanding key skills and making career decisions, thinking about further study and more. In addition, a diverse programme of careers events, led by careers consultants, alumni and employers, takes place both in the UK and abroad. These events support students in exploring career options both within and outside the art world, developing key employability skills, and building their network of contacts. All students have the opportunity to complete The Courtauld Association Careers Certificate by participating in a unique programme of careers events.
Opportunities and support for work experience and placements
The Courtauld’s single undergraduate degree does not include work experience as an accredited part of study, although students are encouraged to seek out work experience through internship and volunteering, both within the sector and also at The Courtauld itself. The MA in Curating the Art Museum does include work experience as part of the formal assessment of the course.
Courses accredited or endorsed by professional bodies, employers or Sector Skills Councils
The single undergraduate course offered at The Courtauld does not confer any accredited status. The MA in Curating the Art Museum was created specifically to train the curators of the future, and was designed in conjunction with the museums and galleries sector to meet their needs.
Support for the development of employability within courses
All programmes have generic skills development within them. At the postgraduate level, employers give guest lectures and have been involved in curriculum design and assessment, most notably in the conservation and curating programmes.
Opportunities for personal development planning and recording achievements
The Courtauld operates an institution-wide scheme to encourage students to keep a record of the personal development during the course of their time at the institution. This will be relaunched in 2010/11 with the introduction of our Virtual Learning Environment. The student body also designs an annual art exhibition at The Courtauld, and all students are encouraged to participate in this activity.
Support for postgraduates and research students
Postgraduate students receive specialized training according to their individual needs. To support the development of research skills for doctoral candidates, two formal sessions for all students are held over two weekends during their first two years of registration.
Opportunities for developing employability outside the curriculum
Students and alumni have access to the Courtauld Association Network, a live and online community which enables them to meet others in the art world and discuss their opportunities.
Equality and diversity
The Courtauld Institute of Art is committed to the elimination of all forms of discrimination, and to providing an environment where individuals are treated fairly, with respect and dignity. This commitment is demonstrated through active promotion of the Institute’s equal opportunities policy, the aim of which is to ensure that no student receives less favourable treatment on the grounds of race, colour, religion, nationality, national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, transsexualism, marital status, parental or caring responsibilities, disability, age, trade union membership, or beliefs or lawful preferences held privately on any matter including religion, politics, and sex.