SOAS University of London

International Foundation Courses and English Language Studies

Art of the World in London

Academic Subject Summer Course

  • Overview
  • Structure
  • How to Apply


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This course not only provides an excellent introduction to European art via London’s outstanding galleries and museums, but also draws connections between it and the great art traditions of Asia, Africa, the Pacific and the Americas. It is intended particularly for students who are new to the study of art, but its wide scope and questioning approach is also stimulating and informative for those who already have some knowledge of the subject.

Students Visiting an Art Gallery
©Duygu Okumus

The syllabus follows a chronological pattern and has a global view, so that students have the chance to study everything from the art of the ancient Greeks and Indians to French Impressionism and Japanese prints to Pablo Picasso and West African art to contemporary art in London and East Asia.

For those thinking of continuing their studies in London, the course provides a relaxed, friendly and exciting introduction to a European university environment. The course ends with students giving their own short presentation on an aspect of art history that has interested them, which allows students to develop their confidence in public speaking. Assistance with vocabulary and guidance on giving presentations is provided throughout the course.

This is a very practical course, studying art of the world in the lecture room as well as the many galleries in central London. It is both good fun and educational! Your lecturers will accompany you to the galleries and teach you there about what you are seeing. They will then teach you more about theories and histories of art back in the classroom. 

Click on the Structure tab for more details and to see what structure the lectures will follow.


English language recommendations for students choosing subject courses: Students will need at least an intermediate level of English in order to understand the lectures, which are delivered at undergraduate level, and to engage in lively discussion in the seminars and tutorials. See our brochure for further details of appropriate language test scores. 


Block One

This three week course, which can either be taken independently or together with Block Two, focuses on the art of the ancient period up until the end of the nineteenth century.

  • Art of the Ancient Period (Classical Greece and Classical India)
  • Mediaeval Art (Europe of the Middle Ages and the Art of the Islamic Caliphate)
  • Renaissances West and East (The Italian Renaissance and Golden Ages in East Asia)
  • The European17th Century (Baroque Art and the Dutch Golden Age)
  • The European 18th Century (The Rise and Fall of the Aristocratic Age)
  • 19th Century Modernity (Impressionism, Van Gogh, the Japanese ukiyo-e school, and 19th century Indian art)

Guided gallery and museum visits include The Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Museum, Tate Britain, and The National Gallery.

Block Two

This three week course, which can either be taken independently or together with Block One, focuses on art of the world transformed by modernity and comes up to date with art and debates responding to post-modernism and new modernities.

  • The Beginnings of Modern Art (Picasso, Matisse, Epstein, and the Importance of African Art)
  • Modern Art, Anti-art, and the Rise of the Surrealists (Abstract Art, Dada and Surrealism)
  • The Art of the Cold War (Jackson Pollock and Abstract Expressionism, Soviet Realist Painting)
  • Pop Art and Postmodernism in Visual Art and Architecture (Andy Warhol, Nam Jun Paik, Cindy Sherman, and more)
  • Global Art at the Turn of the Century (The Young British Artists Movement, Yinka Shonibare, Jimmie Durham, Yayoi Kusama)
  • Contemporary Art in London and the World (The Art of the Now)

Guided gallery and museum visits include Tate Modern, The Courtauld Institute, The National Gallery, White Cube, and many of London’s fashionable private galleries.



How to Apply



(31st March 2020): Due to the Covid-19 crisis, we are unable to run the Summer Programme in 2020 and it is, unfortunately, cancelled. The information below is for reference only and we expect to provide details of the programme for 2021 from October onwards.


2020 Course Fees
  • 3 weeks (1 block): £1,500 GBP
  • 6 weeks (2 blocks): £2,900 GBP (save £100*)
  • 9 weeks (3 blocks): £4,000 GBP (save £500*)

*compared to the cost of a 3-week block

Accommodation Fees
  • per 3-week block: £790 GBP

We recommend you apply early, especially if you want accommodation in the SOAS Halls of Residence.

You will be sent an invoice and receipt for the course fees when you have accepted the offer and paid for your place on the course. A letter of registration will also be provided for visa purposes when you have paid the full fees. Refunds of accommodation and course fees are only made at the discretion of SOAS in exceptional circumstances.

If you have any queries, please email



Please fill in the online application form or print off the IFCELS Summer Programme 2020 Application Form (pdf; 147kb)   and post it to:

Head of Department, International Foundation Courses & English Language Studies (IFCELS)
SOAS University of London
Thornhaugh Street, Russell Square
London WC1H 0XG
United Kingdom

Please ensure you send a scanned copy of the photo/issue page of your passport with the application.

Summer Pathway Preparation Course PCI 2020 (pdf; 163kb)