Art Market & Appraisal (Professional Practice) MA

Why choose this course?

If you are interested in developing a career in the art market, this course will prepare you for the opportunities lying ahead. You will develop the key skills and gain the knowledge to understand international art markets in a complex and ever changing art world.

Making the most of its location in Europe's art market capital in London, this Art Market & Appraisal degree draws on a high standard of academic teaching by recognised scholars, as well as on insights from art market professionals, both with long-standing careers and with rising entrepreneurs of the millennial generation.

The course is delivered through a carefully programmed mix of expert tuition, hands-on workshops and frequent exposure to a variety of enterprises across London's dynamic art scene, ranging from commercial galleries large (Pace, Hauser & Wirth) and small (Narrative Projects, Kate MacGarry), to global and regional auction houses such as Christie's or Rosebury's in leafy West Norwood. It also includes visits to artist studios, restorers, museums and non-commercial art spaces.

See what students have been up to on the course via Instagram and Twitter.

Mode Duration Attendance Start date
Full time 1 year 2 days a week September 2020
Full time 2 years including professional placement 2 days a week plus placement year September 2020
Location Kingston School of Art, Knights Park

Reasons to choose Kingston

  • This is the only antiques and fine art course accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for entry as a probationer practitioner, and its curriculum is uniquely focused.
  • You'll go on site visits, special behind-the-scenes tours and optional overseas study trips, to supplement classroom learning. Previous students have visited major galleries such as Hauser & Wirth, Pace and Gagosian but you will also explore off-the-beaten-track entrepreneurs such as DKUK – a hairdresser and gallerist in flourishing Peckham.
  • The course has developed a unique partnership with Dorich House, a studio house museum with a collection belonging to the University. Here we work on the history of the lost collection as well as with on-site objects to value them.
  • You will have the opportunity to volunteer at the annual Art Business Conference in London, allowing you to network with art world professionals and learn about the latest developments in the trade.

What you will study

You will benefit from a systematic approach to understanding the core functions of the art market across different periods and mediums, from pre-modern markets to today, allowing you to cater your studies to your individual interests. Your learning is structured through four distinct modules which give you different skills and experiences.

The History of the Art Market focuses your understanding of past and present art business practices and changes to the art market over the past 200 years. Professional Practice focuses on art valuation and appraisal through lively workshops and seminar sessions as well as an introduction to basic business principles such as marketing, business planning and strategic thinking. Art Law introduces key elements of art market regulation and problem solution. Cultural Heritage presents you with an object-focused insight into global trade and ethics.

Typically, you'll be expected to complete four equally weighted 30 credit modules, plus a major project of 60 credits.


Additional year with placement

This course gives you both an overview of the art market business and also the opportunity to gain detailed knowledge in a specific area of fine art and/or design.

Fundamental to the course are modules which introduce you to wide ranging subjects, from connoisseurship, object identification and authentication to cataloguing.

The modules will enhance your business practice skills, and through the research element of the programme, you'll develop your critical analysis skills as well as detailed knowledge within a chosen specialist area.

Core modules

History of the Art Market

30 credits

This module introduces you to the history of the art market, an interdisciplinary academic discipline of great dynamism. It draws attention to the developments of the key agents in the art market within their historical perspective, such as notion of patronage, distribution channels for works of art and the auction and dealer systems. The module emphasises the way in which the European phenomena of collecting and exchange were globalised in the 20th century and continue to develop in multiple ways in the 21st century. The module guides you through the resources available for research into the history of the art market and introduces you to the cross-disciplinary skills involving economic, political and collecting histories, which are necessary to develop a rounded understanding of the subject. On completion you should achieve a new perspective upon the history of art within its markets, integrating the aesthetic and the economic. Taught through a series of lectures and seminars, it is assessed by presentation and a critical essay. Independent learning skills will be developed throughout the module, through directed reading and study visits.

Professional Practice (Art Market)

30 credits

This module introduces you to the different elements of the art market with a professional lense in order to enhance your understanding of the field as a professional career place. The module seeks to emulate a series of real-world tasks to allow you to develop essential knowledge and skills required in the work place in the market. You will examine and critically analyse practical professional tasks such as valuing objects for different purposes, and write a business plan to enhance your entrepreneurial and business skills. A core element of these are the meaning of professionalism and professional ethics, professional standards and the role of professional bodies - especially the RICS (Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors), together with the role of different stakeholders within the art market including, gallerists, collectors and others.

The module is delivered through a series of lectures, seminars and debates and built around contributions from visiting practitioners. The module is assessed through a practical investigative exercise involving the research for and production of an auction catalogue in which the practice of valuation is thoroughly explored; and a business plan in which all the strands of the module are brought together to develop your awareness of the range of demands upon art businesses.

Art and Law

30 credits

This module aims to introduce you to issues thrown up by the interaction of law with the art world.  Beginning with the fundamental basics of how statute and case law are established, the module explains to you several key themes such as contract law and copyright. The module examines especially themes pertaining particularly to the art world such as international treaties to protect cultural heritage, and the problems of censorship and obscenity. You will develop an understanding both of the abstract problems of applying law to a market place, as well as studying in detail the most significant art-related cases of recent years.

Cultural Heritage: Ethics, Trade and Globalisation

30 credits

Cultural Heritage: Ethics, Trade and Globalisation investigates the political, ethical, social and economic questions clustering around cultural heritage objects. Responding to the resurgence of materialist philosophies and object oriented analyses, it examines how objects - primarily artworks and antiquities - function as actors in social ecologies, international relations and global trade.

Consideration is given to historical conditions such as colonialism and the imperial past, as well as to recent developments in liberal economic thought under the conditions of the global. The module asks: what is cultural heritage, how is it defined and by whom? How do objects acquire cultural, economic and social value and for whom, and what are the roles of nation states, international organisations and frameworks, art markets, museums and collectors in this process? How do heritage objects contribute to cultural contestation, for instance, by way of ownership, display or iconoclasm? What role do they play in the formation of identities and cultural belonging? What role do they play in regional and national revitalisation? How do they contribute to cultural diplomacy?

The module is delivered in one teaching block from September to December to enable an intensive engagement with the subject and leads to an assessment by presentation and essay.

Major Project

60 credits

The Major Project is the capstone module of the Masters programme. Focusing on skills of critical research, analysis and presentation, the capstone project enables you to synthesise and apply the knowledge and skills they have acquired throughout the course. It provides them with the opportunity to craft their own approach to the field through critical-theoretical and/or creative, practice-based research, supported by a series of taught sessions, enabling a depth and breadth of engagement with research methods. The Major Project can accommodate research projects developed through a range of academic and professional contexts depending on the motivation and interests of the student. It can be presented either as a dissertation or as a creative project, such as a portfolio comprising a chosen medium or media, accompanied by a critical commentary. The intensity of the workload increases across the three teaching blocks, allowing increasing focus in line with the level of your expertise.

Optional modules

Professional Placement

120 credits

The Professional Placement module is a core module for those students following a masters programme that incorporates professional placement learning, following completion of 120 credits. It provides you with the opportunity to apply your knowledge and skills to an appropriate working environment, and to develop and enhance key employability skills and subject-specific professional skills in your chosen subject. You may wish to use the placement experience as a platform for your subsequent major project module, and would be expected to use it to help inform your decisions about future careers.

The Art Market & Appraisal course includes an optional, integrated work placement or placements, which can enable you to develop your professional skills and enhance your employability further. You will receive support from the University in finding a suitable placement.

Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme.

The information above reflects the currently intended course structure and module details. Updates may be made on an annual basis and revised details will be published through Programme Specifications ahead of each academic year. The regulations governing this course are available on our website. If we have insufficient numbers of students interested in an optional module, this may not be offered.

Entry requirements

Typical offer

Applicants should:

  • hold a good honours degree or equivalent in any discipline; and
  • preferably have either a degree qualification related to the subject material or a proven knowledge and interest in the subject demonstrated through, for example, work experience.

We welcome applications from mature applicants with proven relevant professional experience.

Additional requirements


We normally invite applicants for an interview prior to selection. We can make alternative arrangements for international students based overseas.

English language requirements

All non-UK applicants must meet our English language requirement, which is Academic IELTS of 6.5 overall, with no element below 5.5. Make sure you read our full guidance about English language requirements, which includes details of other qualifications we consider.

Applicants who do not meet the English language requirements could be eligible to join our pre-sessional English language course.

Applicants from a recognised majority English speaking countries (MESCs) do not need to meet these requirements.

Teaching and assessment

The course is assessed through a mix of academic essays, seminar papers and presentations, case studies, and a major research-based project or dissertation. There are no written exams, but a focus on coursework only.

Guided independent study

When not attending timetabled sessions, you will be expected to continue learning independently through self-study. This typically involves reading and analysing articles, regulations, policy document and key texts, documenting individual projects, preparing coursework assignments and completing your PEDRs, etc.

Your independent learning is supported by a range of excellent facilities including online resources, the library and CANVAS, the University's online virtual learning platform.

Support for postgraduate students

At Kingston University, we know that postgraduate students have particular needs and therefore we have a range of support available to help you during your time here.

Your workload

Year 1: 14 % of your time is spent in timetabled teaching and learning activity.

  • Scheduled teaching and learning: 256 hours
  • Guided independent study: 1,544 hours

Contact hours may vary depending on your modules.

How you will be assessed

Assessment typically comprises exams (eg test or exam), practical (eg presentations, performance) and coursework (eg essays, reports, self-assessment, portfolios, dissertation).

The approximate percentage for how you will be assessed on this course is as follows, though depends to some extent on the optional modules you choose:

  • 100% coursework

Feedback summary

We aim to provide feedback on assessments within 20 working days.

Class sizes

To give you an indication of class sizes, this course normally enrols between 15 and 20 students. This can vary by academic year and study mode.

Who teaches this course?

This Art Market & Appraisal course is delivered by Kingston School of Art, which has its roots in the studio-based approach of Britain's art school system (the original School of Art was founded in the 1890s).

Course leader, Stephanie Dieckvoss, is a former art market professional who draws on her networks to ensure the course content is current and responsive to the latest industry changes. You'll also hear from numerous art market professionals, who are on hand to share their experience and expertise. Guest speakers have included:

  • experts from Christie's Auction House
  • experts from Axa Art Insurance
  • independent art evaluators
  • gallerists
  • artists
  • art fair organisers
  • PR recruitment agents.

Fees for this course

Home and European Union 2020/21

  • MA full time £10,200
  • MA part time £5,610

Overseas (not EU) 2020/21

  • MA full time £17,600
  • MA part time £9,680

Fees for the optional placement year

If you choose to take a placement as part of this course, you will be invoiced for the placement fee in Year 2. Find out more about the postgraduate work placement scheme and the costs for the placement year.

Funding and bursaries

Kingston University offers a range of postgraduate scholarships, including:

If you are an international student, find out more about scholarships and bursaries.

We also offer the following discounts for Kingston University alumni:

Additional costs

For this course you can take part in optional study visits and/or field trips.

You may incur extra costs associated with your studies, which you will need to plan for.

In order to help you budget, the information below indicates what activities and materials are not covered by your tuition fees:

  • Personal laptops.
  • Personal copies of books (not obligatory).
  • Optional study visits and field trips.
  • Mandatory field trips to London.
  • Printing costs.
  • Cost of visiting external shows and exhibitions.

Panel discussion on Art as Investment

Course leader, Stephanie Dieckvoss, contributed to a panel discussion on Art as Investment, hosted by Dellasposa Gallery - watch the full discussion in this video. The panel of experts discuss the notion of art and asset for investment. The debate questions whether art can be considered an asset for investment. Trends in the current art market are covered with a forecast for the year ahead, key considerations of value in art, and strategies for collecting art.

  • Guest speakers: Sebastian Duthy of Art Market Research, and Stephanie Dieckvoss, Arts Management Consultant, Lecturer at Central Saint Martins, and Art Market Journalist
  • Moderator: Jessica McBride, Director and Co-Founder of Dellasposa


There is a wide range of facilities at Kingston School of Art, where this course is based.

Kingston School of Art at Knights Park is our art, design and architecture campus and is situated on the Hogsmill River, with its restaurant and bar opening on to the waterside.

The relatively small campus has a friendly, creative feel and benefits from recently refurbished workshops and studios, a reception area with a gallery, art shop and space, and the light and airy open-plan learning resources centre.

There are also well-equipped lecture theatres, seminar rooms and computer resources on campus.

Find out more about the Kingston School of Art Knights Park.

Studios and workshops

Many of our art, design and architecture courses focus on studio-based learning - it is here that your ideas come to life. This is why we provide great workshops and the latest equipment to support and enhance your learning experience.

We have recently expanded and upgraded our workshops, enabling you to work alongside and be inspired by students from other creative disciplines.

Our specialist support and technical staff will help you get the most from our facilities. Specialist facilities include:

  • digital media workshops;
  • photography suite;
  • printmaking studio;
  • 3D materials workshop;
  • state-of-the-art filming environment and animation suite.

Find out more about our studios and workshops.

Library and learning resources centre

The learning resources centre (LRC) at Knights Park, on the ground floor near reception, is at the heart of the campus and is the perfect place to study. It has specialist book and journal collections, a wide range of electronic resources, including image databases, and a large slide collection.

Find out more about the library and learning resources centre.

Museum and gallery facilities

Kingston University also has its own galleries:

Kingston is just a 30 minute train journey away from central London. Here you can access a wealth of exhibitions, museums and galleries, including the V&A Museum, the Tate Modern and the Natural History Museum.

After you graduate

Our students come from all corners of the world and often take the learning of the course back to their own countries. Graduates from the Art Market & Appraisal (Professional Practice) MA course set up galleries and online platforms, manage collections and advise collectors, work for auction houses or galleries. More and more students set up their own companies or expand their current businesses. Through our engagement with the RICS we have a large number of students taking up work in auction houses, insurances or as independent valuers.


Many of our courses are accredited by independent professional bodies which could enhance your career prospects. Accreditation for this course is detailed below.

The Art Market and Appraisal MA is accredited by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) for entry as a probationer practitioner. It is the only RICS-accredited course for antiques and fine art and you can join RICS as a student member when you enrol. RICS student status is exclusively for those working towards a professional career in surveying.

Being a RICS student is free and can help you realise your potential by working to the highest standards of education at college or university. The study support and networking opportunities available to you as an RICS student helps you to not only excel in your course but gives you the support to take your first step to becoming a future leader of the profession.

Successfully completing an RICS-accredited course is the first step to becoming a Chartered Surveyor. RICS works in partnership with universities to ensure that our accredited degree courses are relevant to industry - this means that when you study on an accredited degree this will be recognised by employers as the benchmark of quality.

With an RICS-accredited degree you are eligible to enrol onto the Assessment of Professional Competence (APC), RICS' two-year structured training programme. Candidates with a non RICS-accredited degree will typically need to have five years' industry experience before being eligible.


What our graduates say

The course provides practical experience; in many ways it's all about meeting professionals from the industry and learning from them, rather than just studying theoretical disciplines.

We had dozens of guest speakers throughout the course, and almost all of them were senior managers, including from amazing organisations like Christie's, Gagosian and Hauser & Wirth.

This course offers a unique insight into the art world, which I thoroughly recommend!

Yulia Glushkova

The art market course at Kingston was instrumental for what I am doing today. I doubt I would be at the place where I am now without this course.

What the art market course taught me about the market, the dynamics of it, the history, the stories, the issues on authenticity, connoisseurship, collecting and auction business, continue to help me inspire my team and many more to join our project, as we are about to build the next logical step in art dealing history: a database to systematise the private art market.

So much of what I learned at Kingston helped me also in the masters degree I finished soon after at LSE, in which I focused my dissertation yet again on the art market for a completely different subject (Information Systems).

Christian Huhnt

When I applied for the Art Market and Appraisal MA at Kingston, I was working full time so approached my employer for sponsorship. I wanted to use the masters degree to work towards my RICS accreditation, which my employer positively encouraged. I found that the course complemented my existing job within the auction world, and the staff at Kingston University were sympathetic to any conflicts in my timetable that arose from existing work commitments.

There was a wide range of students from different backgrounds on the course, which brought a depth of experience to the classes. The facilities at Kingston were excellent, with tutors available to give as much or as little help as needed or wanted.

I would recommend the course to anyone interested in pursuing a career in the arts, especially if they have one eye on becoming a member of the RICS. Juggling work, studies and, in my case, a young family, requires a certain level of dedication and commitment – but the end results are worth it!

Will Axon

I joined the Art Market and Appraisal MA full time. My first degree was in languages – but it was some years since I'd done anything remotely academic. Initially I found the presentation side daunting, but it's amazing how quickly you adjust and start to flourish.

I'd wanted a career change and felt that taking a course was probably the best way in. It gave me the chance to survey the art market from lots of different perspectives; we had seminars with auctioneers, art dealers, art consultants, specialist insurance brokers, and the Met's art and antiques unit, among others.

We also did an extremely useful module in art law - I'm practising stuff now that I learnt in my art and copyright law lectures (thank you Daniel McClean). It was a really comprehensive introduction to the dynamics of the art world but also gave you an insight into the variety of jobs out there.

By the end of the year I'd worked out where I really wanted to be - working for a contemporary art gallery, nurturing and promoting artists. Which is exactly where I am, thanks to the opportunities that opened up to me while I was researching my dissertation. So, all in all, a really positive experience.

Emma Lilley

Links with business and industry

Our links with professional practice provide a real-world base for our courses with London, the world's third biggest art market, on our doorstep. London is capital of the European art market and offers an invaluable insight into the industries from the world's largest auction houses to the most innovative start-ups.

Teaching staff on the course also keep close professional links to the art world and ensure your studies are kept up-to-date and relevant to the changing work environment.

Guest speakers

Guest lectures and visits to businesses in the art market give you the chance to meet a wide range of professionals directly involved in the art market. Guest speakers have included valuation and art insurance experts, PR professionals, Christie's Auction House experts, independent art evaluators, valuers and appraisers, gallerists and artists, art fair organisers and recruitment agencies.

Visits include trips to auctions houses and secondary and primary market dealers in London, visits to shippers and conservators, public and private collections and foundations.

Visiting speakers include: Tom Dale and Silvia Giambrone (artists), Andrew Davies (Axa Art insurance) Dr. Gareth Fletcher (Sotheby's Institute of Art), Caroline Gillis (Independent Art Valuer), Matthew Hockley Smith (Art advisor), Toby Kidd (Head of Communications, Blain|Southern), Lynda McLeod Associate Director, Librarian, Christie's Archives) and many others.

Behind the scenes tours include visits to: Christie's, Dickinson, Simon Lee, the Fine Art Society, the London Art Fair, Melissa Lewis (Modern British Conservation), Gander & White Shipping, and many others.

Study visits

The art market has to be experienced. Apart from frequent visits to London, the course offers two optional study trips.

A study trip to TEFAF (Maastricht) gives you access to the most important art and antiques fair in the world while a further study trip to Art Basel offers you insights into the most important contemporary art fair. Please note that there is an extra charge for these trips.


MA Art Market & Appraisal supports students to engage with the industry through internships or work placements and help students to engage with professionals in their area of interest.

The course work with SOFA, The Society of Fine Art Auctioneers, who provide bespoke internships across the UK as well as with a number of contemporary art galleries, PR agencies and others.

Research areas

Many of the staff in Kingston School of Art are research active. This ensures they are in touch with the latest thinking and bring best practice to your studies.

Kingston School of Art has a well-established and internationally renowned research culture that encourages and supports high-quality, innovative research through practice, history and theory. This rich spectrum encompasses the critical practices of fine artists, curators and cultural commentators and historians, alongside that of designers, film makers and architects, all of whom have extensive professional, industrial and commercial links.

Our aim is to foster a dynamic and stimulating environment that realises and supports individual and collaborative research projects. This is achieved through an exchange of ideas and practices within and across the disciplines, directly benefitting the wider academic community as well as industry, business and the public.