Career Prospects - The Courtauld Institute of Art

Career Prospects

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Career Prospects

“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.


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.


The Courtauld utilizes the services of both Kings College London and the University of London Careers Service, where students can obtain both general advice and support as well as individual attention in a range of services such as interview preparation and CV design. In addition, a diverse program of careers advising events, led by Courtauld graduates, take place both in the UK and abroad, introducing students to different roles both within and outside the art world.

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 dobies, 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 postgraduate 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.

Careers preparation

Our students benefit from careers preparation services from the University of London Careers Group, who provide individual advice on-site and in their offices at neighbouring King’s College.

Besides information on work experience, part-time work, graduate training schemes and further study, the Careers Group shows students how to prepare excellent CVs and applications, and helps them prepare for interviews and assessment.

Courtauld association

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.

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