The Courtauld Institute of Art, an independent college of the University of London, is a world-leading centre for the study ​of art history, conservation and curating. Based at the historic and beautiful Somerset House in London, a two-year project is currently underway to transform conservation studios, laboratories and library facilities, as well as the famous Courtauld Gallery.

City Centre
City Centre

In or close to the centre of a city


Specialises in a single subject area, or a small range of subjects

UCAS Code: C80

Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF)

TEF Silver is awarded to institutions that deliver high-quality teaching, learning and outcomes for their students, and consistently exceed "rigorous national quality requirements" for higher education in the UK. Find out more about TEF.

Student Statistics

Student population


Level of study

  • Undergraduate 41%
  • Postgraduate 59%

Mode of study

  • Full Time 98%
  • Part Time 2%

Where students come from

  • UK 65%
  • EU 14%
  • Other 21%

Student gender

  • Male 20%
  • Female 80%

Student Services and Facilities

Libraries and Information Services

  • A book library provides access to some 200,000 titles, including exhibition catalogues and rare books; most are at Vernon Square, with oversize and special collection books at Somerset House. There are also thousands of e-books, journals and e-journals across the visual arts, design, cultural studies, and humanities disciplines.
  • Image libraries hold extensive resources, with over one million images at the Conway Library covering architecture, sculpture, and craftwork. The Witt Library has around two million reproductions of works by 70,000 artists.
  • Students have access to computers, printers and more within IT Centres and an Internet Café, and there is secure Wi-Fi or wired Internet across nearly all areas including student halls. A virtual learning environment holds course materials, and students are provided with cloud storage and software including Microsoft Office and image editing programmes.

Student jobs

  • Some work is available within the institute, mainly on an ad-hoc basis.
  • There are many external opportunities within the surrounding area of central London.

Careers advice

  • All students can access bespoke, one-to-one careers guidance throughout their studies. The Courtauld careers service offers advice and support on exploring career and further study options, finding internships, enhancing employability, understanding and navigating the jobs and self-employment market, and making successful applications.
  • The Courtauld’s careers consultants also offer a tailored interview practice service, with detailed feedback, enabling students to prepare effectively for interviews.
  • The Courtauld Association Careers Programme helps students to explore career paths, develop work-related skills, learn how to manage their career path and also get tips from alumni and employers. Those attending the required number of sessions are invited to an exclusive alumni networking event, where each year students secure job opportunities.

Counselling and Mental Health Support

  • A Student Counselling service offers short to medium term support and can offer information of other external services. As well as sessions with qualified and accredited counsellors, there are drop-in sessions.

Disability support

  • The Courtauld welcomes applications from disabled students, who are considered on the same academic criteria as all other applicants.
  • The college takes all reasonable steps to make adjustments and provide necessary facilities to enable any student with a disability to attend a course for which they have been accepted on academic grounds.

Other services and facilities

  • Two Royal Literary Fund Fellows (RLF) help students to improve their academic writing skills, reading strategies and organisation of material. an Academic Skills Tutor gives specific advice on skills relating to Art History, including research, visual analysis and presentation.

Students' Union

  • The Courtauld Students' Union represents the interests of all students and provides a base for social activity with a variety of activities, societies, outings and parties throughout the year.
  • Student Central, situated on Malet Street in nearby Bloomsbury, offers a wide range of facilities and activities for students in London.
  • Membership is free for students enrolled at one of the University of London colleges.


  • The Courtauld Institute of Art was founded by Samuel Courtauld, Viscount Lee, and Sir Robert Witt in 1932 as the UK's first university department devoted to the study of art.
  • It was originally housed in Portland Square, Marylebone, and quickly established itself as a beacon of art scholarship and study. As the Courtauld grew, a new location was necessary and it moved to Somerset House in 1989.
  • Samuel Courtauld's private collection of Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings were donated as a resource for the students to study.

Fascinating Fact

  • The Courtauld Institute of Art offers an MA Buddhist Art: History and Conservation. This uniquely combines the study of Buddhism, Buddhist art, and the techniques and conservation of Buddhist art.

Notable Alumni and Famous Faces

  • The Courtauld has over 7,000 alumni, many of whom fulfil key roles as museum directors, curators, academics, conservators, critics, journalists, and various roles in the commercial art world.
  • They include directors of the British Museum, Tate and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York).


The Courtauld Institute of Art, Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 0RN