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Course content

Postgraduate study in illustration reflects the diversity of the subject and the opportunities that exist in areas such as publishing, advertising, graphic and web design, theatre, television, art galleries and museums. We welcome applicants with a variety of approaches to Illustration, from both academic and professional perspectives.

Students are encouraged to explore a range of methods, with support from highly accomplished and respected staff, all of whom have understanding and expertise in the art of illustration.

Facilities include excellent individual working spaces with access to a drawing studio and extensive printmaking resources. There are life drawing classes, workshops and field trips for Masters students. Students will also have the chance to study bookbinding, book arts, digital technologies and web publishing.

The programme also includes working with writers, designers and publishers in collaboration and in live briefs. Many of our postgraduates have seen their work published and there are a small number of set projects, which evolve from year to year to reflect contemporary developments in Illustration. For example, Masters students have made work for the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh Film House and the ECA Bookmarks symposium.

Students are encouraged to take part in national and international competitions, with an aim to join the ranks of those who have exhibited and won prizes in prestigious events, such as the V&A Student Illustration Awards, Folio Society, Penguin Book Awards, 3x3 and Image Nation.

Programme structure

This programme offers an excellent opportunity for independent, focused study. MA students produce a body of practical and written work on an agreed topic. MFA students produce an additional extended range of work, appropriate to the length of the course. Self-directed projects are connected to a number of set projects, workshops and collaborations throughout the academic year.

Studies will combine practical studio work with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements in preparation for employment in the industry. There is a lecture/seminar series that will examine the wider context of your studies, presented by contemporary illustrators, designers and artists.

Career opportunities

Graduates explore an exciting and diverse range of careers, including working as picture book illustrators, designers, freelance illustrators, artists and craftsmen, or in leading agencies.


Visit the Illustration - MFA/MA page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

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