young people stood outside the Courtauld Institute of Art, waving hands and smiling

Summer University

Thank you to everyone who attended a Summer University 2023
Applications for Summer University 2024 will open around Easter 2024
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Summer University at The Courtauld provides the perfect opportunity for Year 12, state school or college students to explore the exciting and dynamic subject, History of Art.

Whether you’ve never engaged with the subject before, or have always been curious about art history, Summer University enables attendees to engage with art collections, academics and current History of Art topics, to enrich their understanding of this exciting discipline.

For 2023, The Courtauld ran two Summer Universities, one in-person (Art and London) and one online (Art and Identity). You can find more information about these Summer University programmes which took place below.

Summer University – Art and Identity (online)

Theme: Art and Identity

In 2023, the theme for Summer University online was Art and Identity, questioning how identity can be examined, interpreted and explained through art.

Supported by online resources, each day, attendees explored a different Art History theme, from Portraiture, and Identity, to Architecture, and Public Art. Students developed their knowledge by attending the lunchtime lecture series lead by various representatives from The Courtauld Institute and Gallery such as Curating, Conservation and Prints & Drawings. During our daily Live Discussion Classes attendees explored a different daily theme with their Summer University peers, supported by current PhD students at The Courtauld.

Portrait of Nina Hamnett, Roger Eliot Fry (1866–1934), © The Courtauld Gallery i Portrait of Nina Hamnett, Roger Eliot Fry (1866–1934), © The Courtauld Gallery
‘I really enjoyed the programme. It was an enriching opportunity, which has ignited my quest of studying Art History at university.’
Summer University attendee 2022.

Summer University – Art and London (in-person)

Theme: Art and London

Wherever you look while in London, you see Art, from public art, street graffiti and statues, to architecture. Our in-person Summer University programme, Art and London, explored the history and art that forms part of the unique identity of London.

Over the course of the programme, students looked at artists who have captured and been inspired by London such as Leon Kossoff and Claude Monet. Attendees got the chance to explore and debate which History and Art is selected and displayed in London, concentrating on public monuments and Trafalgar Square’s 4th plinth. The cohort also discovered and learnt about the patchwork architecture styles which can be viewed across London. The programme aimed to provide students with the understanding of what it is like to be an undergraduate student at The Courtauld studying History of Art.

i Leon Kossoff (1926 – 2019) ‘View of Ridley Road street market 1975’, Charcoal on paper, 67.9 x 101 cm, Courtesy of L.A. Louver, Venice, CA © The Artistic Estate of Leon Kossoff

To be eligible students must:

  • Live in the UK
  • Be in Year 12 (or equivalent) as of September 2022
  • Currently attending a state school or college
  • Have an interest and desire to explore History of Art

We welcome applications from Year 12 students who meets the above criteria. We are particularly keen to welcome applications from students who meet our widening participation criteria. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Students with care experience
  • Student currently in, or who have been in care
  • Students with a disability
  • Students who identify with being Gypsy, Roma and Traveller

Applications will open on Wednesday 15th March and will close on Friday 12th May 2023.

You are welcome to apply to one or both summer universities.

If you apply by the deadline , you will now hear back on W/B Monday 15th May.

This course is designed to give you:

  • A better understanding of Art History as a subject
  • The opportunity to meet university lecturers, museum professionals and current undergraduate students
  • The opportunity to find out about The Courtauld from current students and alumni, and what it’s like to study in London
  • Space to think about whether this might be the right option for you
  • The confidence and support to apply to The Courtauld Institute of Art for your BA should you wish to do so
  • Students who participate will be eligible to attend a series of online Study Skills Workshops delivered by The Courtauld during Autumn Term.

For more information please contact Jonathan Bridges, Widening Access Schools Officer.


The Art History Summer University is part of The Courtauld Institute of Art’s Access Agreement.

100% of attendees rated Summer University as Excellent or Very Good

90% of attendees said their visual analysis skills were hugely or greatly improved

80% of attendees said the Summer University significantly/quite a lot, increased their confidence in applying to university

(2022 – Summer University evaluation)