Foundation College

Art of the World in London

Key information

3 weeks
Start of programme
Summer 2022
Attendance mode
Russell Square, College Buildings

Course overview

This course provides not only 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.

The syllabus maintains a global perspective from a London base. Students will have the chance to encounter a wide range of references, 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.

The course ends with students giving their own short presentation on an aspect of art history that has most interested them. Assistance with vocabulary and guidance on giving presentations is provided throughout the course.
This is a very practical course, using London's museums and art galleries as an extension to the classroom to illustrate theories and histories of art.

For those thinking of further studies in the UK, the course provides a relaxed, friendly and exciting introduction to a British university environment.

As well as being educational it is good fun and a great way to make friends with fellow students from around the world.

Entry recommendations

To get the most from this course, students are recommended to have an intermediate level of English (around IELTS 5.5).


Block 1

This 3-week course 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)

Gallery and museum resources used include The Victoria & Albert Museum, The British Museum, Tate Britain, and The National Gallery.

NB: In 2021 Art of the World in London is running only in Block 1.

Block 2

This 3-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)

Gallery and museum visits in Block 2 include Tate Modern, The Courtauld Institute, The National Gallery, White Cube, and many of London’s fashionable private galleries.

Important notice

The information on the website reflects the intended programme structure against the given academic session. The modules are indicative options of the content students can expect and are/have been previously taught as part of these programmes. However, this information is published a long time in advance of enrolment and module content and availability is subject to change. 

Teaching and learning

Subject courses with English support are taught by two teachers, a subject specialist and a language expert. The subject classes use lectures, seminars and cases studies, whereas the integrated language classes focus on skills development (especially speaking and listening) using the subject content.

This is a full-time course with classes every day plus additional time for independent research. Students work towards delivering a presentation at the end of the course. You can expect to strengthen language skills and deepen subject knowledge, whilst gaining greater confidence in communicating in English in an academic setting.

All teaching takes place on campus with additional class excursions to places of interest in London.

The maximum number of students per class is 15.

You will receive a certificate for successful course completion.

Students will also have access to SOAS library including our wide range of e-books and e-journals.


Students should be at an intermediate level of English in order to follow and participate in classes. We do not require proof of English level, but as a guideline IELTS 5.5, TOEFL IBT 76 (or equivalent) are recommended.


For further information please see IFCELS frequently asked questions


Fees and funding


  • 3 weeks (1 block): £1,900 GBP
  • 6 weeks (2 blocks): £3,500 GBP (save £300*)
  • 9 weeks (3 blocks): £5,100 GBP (save £600*)

*Compared to the cost of multiple individual blocks. The reduced fees for multiple blocks above are available for 2 or 3 blocks booked at the same time. The fee for any additional blocks booked after the initial application will be £1,800 for one extra block and £3,350 for two.