Courtauld Institute of Art (University of London)



History: Founded by textile magnate Samuel Courtauld, Viscount Lee of Fareham and Sir Robert Witt, in 1932. As a centre for the study of the history of art, the Courtauld Institute became a self-governing college of the University of London in 2002.

Address: Situated in central London on the Strand, in the stunning setting of Somerset House, one of the most important 18th century buildings in Europe.

Ambience: The only college in the UK to specialise solely in the history and conservation of art. With its central location in one of the most exciting cities in the world, Courtauld also offers the benefits of a lively social life that makes studying in such a prestigious environment even more rewarding. The small student body leads to a close community feel.

Who's the boss? Prof Deborah Swallow was appointed director in 2004. She used to be a curator at the Victoria and Albert museum, and is an expert on Indian and south-east Asian textiles.

Prospectus: 020 7848 2645; peruse their course here.

UCAS code: C80

what you need to know

Easy to get into? Pretty tough; the undergraduate course asks for a minimum of AAB at A-level, but those without formal qualifications are still encouraged to apply.

Vital statistics: There are 286 students in total. 59 full-time undergrads, 227 postgraduates and 25 researchers. Roughly 25 per cent are international students.

Added value: Probably the most prestigious and specialist college for the study of the history of art in the world, with an excellent gallery collection, plus good links with public lectures at other galleries. The art collection in the Courtauld Gallery is particularly impressive, housing French Impressionist and Post-Impressionist paintings. The college was ranked second nationally for History of Art in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise.

Teaching: 94 per cent of students said they were satisfied with the quality of the teaching in the 2010 National Student Survey.

Any accommodation? Yes – They are able to house about 80 students who apply for accommodation (40 postgraduates and 40 undergraduates), and international and first year BA students are given priority. Prices range from £177 - £252 a week.

Cheap to live there? Nope. Rents will be upwards of £100 per week.

Transport links: All roads, tracks, and flight paths lead to London.

Fees: £9,000 for UK and EU students wishing to study an undergraduate course.

Bursaries: The Courtauld awards minimum standard bursaries to all students in receipt of a full maintenance grant, which will cover the difference between the tuition fees and the full grant amount.


Glittering alumni: Major museum directors and curators worldwide, including Neil MacGregor, director of the British Museum; the actor Vincent Price; Nicholas Serota of the Tate; art critic Brian Sewell; and Thomas Campbell director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

Nightlife: Anything and everything London has to offer.

Sporting reputation: There are no sporting facilities offered by the university, however, should you really get the urge to exercise there are a number of good gyms nearby.