2019-2020 Bulletin 
    Jul 29, 2021  
2019-2020 Bulletin [ARCHIVED BULLETIN]

Art Business and Fine Art, MA (Interfield Degree)

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Art Business + Fine Art, MA

See the Addendum  to this Bulletin for changes to this degree program.

A first of its kind program, this innovative MA is designed for a new generation of artists looking for the entrepreneurial acumen that is necessary today to build a sustainable creative practice and professional life in the arts.

The new program merges studio practice from Claremont Graduate University’s Master of Fine Art (MFA) program with coursework in the business, markets, history and theory of art, as well as core courses in finance, accounting, law, and marketing. Students maintain a fine art practice while learning broadly transferable business and management principles and techniques. In contrast to a conventional MFA, candidates for this degree pursue an entrepreneurship sequence, capped by the Startup Studio—a course in which creative initiatives are pitched to panels of artists, arts professionals, business leaders, and entrepreneurs from the Los Angeles community.

Understanding the culture of the studio, and the kind of work, planning, and management required to engage in ambitious artistic projects, either at large scale or over long periods of time, is more necessary today than at any time before.

Entrance Requirements

Criteria for admissions include the high probability of the student’s success in graduate study and their potential to thrive in subsequent professional careers following graduation. In keeping with the philosophy of Claremont Graduate University and Sotheby’s Institute of Art, the admission decision is individualized and based on a wide range of information about the applicant, rather than on rigid, pre-selected criteria.

As part of the portfolio required for this degree, as student’s ability as an artist will be considered in the application process.


Documentation Requirements & Evaluation

Applications will be evaluated based upon the following:

  • Quality of previous undergraduate and, if applicable, graduate work. CGU requires applicants to submit proof of a completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university. The school also requires a minimum standard of a B average in undergraduate coursework (3.0 on a 4.0 scale). Applicants with international credentials must submit academic records in both their original language and literal English translation.
  • A writing sample. The writing sample helps the Admission Committee understand how a prospective student develops ideas, creates a theme or a position, communicates and defends the work in writing. Please submit one of the following:
    • A graded paper of no fewer than 1000 words from an undergraduate or graduate course, completed within the last 5 years. These may be course papers, published articles, professional reports, or other materials that exhibit the candidate’s capacity for written communication. An emphasis on business, performing/visual art, or communications is preferred.
    • A 500-word original review of a current performance or visual art exhibition (modeled on a standard newspaper or magazine review). Please address some or all of the following: analysis of the work, information on the artist and his/her career, profile of the organization hosting the piece.
  • Strength of CV/resume. Candidates are required to submit a resume as part of the application.
  • Candidate’s personal statement of his or her academic career objectives and their relation to the intended program of study. The personal statement allows the faculty to gauge whether the candidate’s research will thrive with the goals of the department and greater University.
  • Strength of letters of recommendations from individuals competent to judge the candidate’s probable success in graduate coursework. These letters are usually from individuals the candidate knows well including former professors, mentors, supervisors or those who can give an in-depth evaluation of the candidate’s strengths and weaknesses in regard to his or her preparedness for graduate study. All applicants are required to submit two letters of recommendation. A third is recommended, but not required.
  • Interviews. All applicants that are invited for an interview will be notified via email. Interviews are required for admission.
  • Other evidence of potential success in graduate studies. Candidates may submit additional materials that they think are relevant to their application to CGU.
  • A non-refundable application fee of $100 (USD).
  • Portfolio (only applicable to MA Art Business + Fine Art applicants). Applicants must electronically upload a portfolio of representative work for evaluation. Portfolios should consist of 15 images of recent artwork that represent a cohesive body of work. Performance and/or video artists may submit work that is no longer than 3 minutes in length.


  • TOEFL/IELTS (Only Applicable to International Students) The Institute does require an English language Proficiency Exam for non-native English speakers. We require the following exam scores for Masters and Certificate programs: A minimum TOEFL score of 75 iBT, or a minimum IELTS score of 6.0, is necessary to be considered for admission to CGU through the International Scholars Program (ISP). A minimum TOEFL score of 95 iBT, or a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 with no sub-score lower than 6.5, is required for direct-entry admission. Admitted students who score below 95 iBT on the TOEFL, or below 7.0 on the IELTS, will be required to successfully complete ISP (earning a grade of B or higher in each required ISP course) prior to beginning their degree programs.


Curriculum Sequence


Semester 1: 16 units (6 Art; 10 SIA)

Independent Studio (2)

Finance & Accounting for Creative Industries (4)

Survey of Contemporary Art (4)

Marketing Management (2)

Art Business Dynamics (4)

Creative Industries Colloquium (0)

Field Study (0)


Semester 2: 16 units (10 Art; 6 SIA)

Installation: Context Power and Placement (3)

Independent Studio (3)

Ideas of Contemporary Art (4)

Markets Elective (2)

New Venture Creation (2)

The Gallery Business (2)

Field Study (0)


Semester 3: 16 units (10 SIA; 2 Art; 4 T-Studies)

Independent Studio (2)

Legal Foundations for Creative Industries (4)

Startup Studio (4)

Marketing Elective (2)

Transdisciplinary Studies Course (4)



Capstone: The Entrepreneurship Sequence: All students are required to complete a capstone project developed from the entrepreneurship sequence of New Venture Creation and Startup Studio courses, in which business plans for new ventures, initiatives, or businesses are presented publically to panels of arts professionals and leaders.


Art Business on Site: All students are required to participate in field study travel in their first two semesters within the program.  In the past, students have traveled to Mexico City, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Tokyo.




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