History of Art and Museum Studies

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The Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi has an exclusive collaboration with the globally renowned History of Art department of Paris-Sorbonne (Paris 4) and École du Louvre. Both institutions are internationally acclaimed as some of the best places of tuition in Art History, Archaeology and Museum Studies in Paris. This rich heritage of joint excellence is now available in Abu Dhabi, exclusively designed in close collaboration with Agence France-Muséums, the Louvre, and French museums.

Within the next decade, the emirate of Abu Dhabi is poised to emerge as an important cultural city with plans of creating an artistic legacy in the region. Abu Dhabi’s premier development, Saadiyat Island, is set to be a multi-faceted cultural destination featuring the Zayed National Museum, Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and the Performing Arts Centre. This curriculum at Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi will be crucial in creating and encouraging a new generation passionate about arts and culture as well as to refine their skills and career potential to complement the city’s rapid and ambitious progress.

Covering the history of museums, the movements of art in different cultures, the theory  of museums, their evolution and relevance, and the substantial roles in museums’ operations, the programme engages students’ visual and critical capacities, expanding their analytical proficiency in objectively critiquing works  of art and interpreting them, examine how art connects cultures, societies, and media. Managing collections, caring and preserving artefacts, exhibition programming, acquisitions, loans, and collaborations are all key elements of this course.

Courses include surveys of art history, transversal themes, museums and law, heritage, the 21st century museum, and museum management.

Sorbonne AD has also integrated a mandatory internship at a French museum  in the second semester of the second year. This internship is designed to encourage critical thinking and improve students’ reasoning abilities with the aim of offering them an inspiring blend of theory and practice. Internships render the skills gained throughout the three semesters of theoretical study making it more relevant with first-hand experience, while also giving students access to a wide network of museum and art industry experts and influencers to help strengthen relations between French and Emirati cultural institutions.

The Paris-Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi’s Master’s degree has a different and a much more extensive scope than similar degrees delivered elsewhere. A significant amount of time is dedicated to the History of Art and Museum Studies, and, with the help of experienced professionals, a mix of theoretical courses and cases study is offered.

Beyond the lectures and seminars, you will be able to participate in workshops organised by professionals and prominent personalities from the Art departments of distinguished cultural institutions and museums. Students will learn to apply this know-how in the real world, through a mandatory internship at museums located in Paris.

The programme is taught entirely in English.

Each course takes place over one week and includes a total of 20 hours. End of semester assessment is based 70% on the final examination and 30% on the continuous testing that occurs throughout the semester. Students will be given one week to prepare before each final examination. A key factor for the final evaluation of students at the end of the second year is the internship dissertation, or thesis.

Semester 1

  • Introduction to Western Art History
  • Introduction to Non Western Art and Transversal Themes
  • Introduction to Islamic Art
  • Introduction to Museums
  • Museums and Law
Semester 2

  • Art History, Heritage and Museums
  • Archaeology in the UAE
  • The 21st century Museum
  • Museum, Management and law
Semester 3

  • Principles of conservation, management of collections and restoration
Semester 4

  • Internship (12 weeks in a French museum)
  • Thesis

Potential students come from a selection of about ten applicants from the region and the rest of the world, selected through a rigorous, scientific process of assessment by committee, ensuring the quality and standard of the programme allows students to successfully grow their professional network.

This Master’s degree helps students embark on a successful career in the field of arts, with several enriching career opportunities in museums, galleries, heritage centres, cultural institutions or auction houses with different areas of expertise that vary from collections, exhibitions and art fairs, education, art publishing, art conservation, interpretation and even art journalism. Key graduates have moved on to manage collections, production, mediation, cultural programming, publishing, communications, and public relations.