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Hi there fellow art history majors!  I have tried asking my question in the decisions board but to no response, so I’m looking to you guys for help :)

I'm an international and I'm not looking to continue on a phd degree and hope to work outside of Asia after graduating, hopefully in museum or auctions houses. 

My current offers are from NYU IFA Art History/ Courtauld MA Art History/ SOAS MA Art History of East Asia. My question is, should I choose prestige over interest? I have currently ruled out NYU due to the cost (though having 2 years of study is appealing) so I am trying to decide between SOAS and Courtauld. SOAS has more flexible courses that I find interesting compared to the specialized option at Courtauld (which I am moderately interested), but the school name is making me lean towards picking Courtauld over SOAS.

So, for art history majors with a focus on Asian art, which one would be a better pick career-wise? Would going to Courtauld give me an edge or would it be odd to study asian art in a more western art history focused school? Should I choose SOAS out of interest even if I am not planning on doing further research in the future (how are job placements for SOAS art history students?)

Choosing to continue study with art history I already know that the job prospects are harder compared to other majors, which is why I'm also trying to balance it out with more practical choices. It is a bit hard to understand school reputation as an international student (no one has heard of Courtauld which also makes me a bit worried)so, any advice is welcomed, thanks!

Edited by viiciouscircle
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Congratulations on your acceptances! They are all great programs. I know it's difficult to choose from.

No worries about the prestige of these schools. As far as I know, both programs are reputed. Courtauld is quite famous in Taiwan art history circle. Some Taiwanese professors graduated from Courtauld such as Tsai Pei-Kuei.

Given that you'll work in the art market in the future, I think you can find a place that not only benefits your art history studies but also allow you to develop practical skills or knowledge you can use in museum and auction afterward. It would be better if these schools offer you internship opportunities when you're in school. Also, you can try to search for information about alumni, connections and future development. They will become your potential resource. Or you can try to find someone who is now studying in the program or already working in an art gallery. Try to glean information from those experienced guys. After all, working in the art market is not only about knowledge but also your experience and social ability.

For Asian studies, I think you'd better off going to SOAS.

PS. Did you study history in Taiwan? Are you a graduate of Taida?

Edited by Averie Tk
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The best advice I can give you is to definitely pick interest over prestige (especially because both of these programs have solid reputations worldwide). Grad school is an intense experience and being in a spot where you don't like your coursework/professors/etc will make it a hellish experience. Reflect on your past experience in courses you didn't like or felt neutral about compared to those classes you loved, I know I personally burn out so much quicker in courses I don't like I can only imagine this becomes exaggerated in a grad school setting.

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  • 6 months later...

Hi! Thanks for all the people who answered, I know this is a late response but just wanted to say that all the comments helped me to formulate my thoughts and were all put into my final decision. I decided to go with Courtauld for the specialization and also because I had a chance to talk to my tutor, the professor I was interested in was also on sabbatical this year at SOAS. I think SOAS would have been a great experience as well, but so far courtauld has been amazing. Posting this to let anyone who is interested in knowing more know that they are free to contact me. 

- Daphne (:

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