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Creative Arts & Design×

University of Edinburgh, Full Time Masters Degrees in Creative Arts & Design

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This programme is targeted at individuals interested in exploring the domain of sound in the wider context of new media theory and technology. Read more

This programme is targeted at individuals interested in exploring the domain of sound in the wider context of new media theory and technology. It is strongly interdisciplinary and course content ranges from the study of film sound to interactive audio design, sound installation and web design.

This programme will provide you with knowledge, skill and understanding in a range of sound design situations both commercial and experimental. Graduates of the programme will be armed with professional, practical, analytical and critical skills to take into sound-related industries or on towards further academic study such as a PhD.

The Reid Studio is our new surround-sound mixing and production studio, and our Russolo Room offers industry-standard recording equipment and software. Our Sound Lab, which hosts a number of fully equipped workstations, is available for your use.

Programme structure

Students will attend a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical sessions supported with occasional input from external professionals in the field of sound design and related areas.

Learning outcomes

Students who follow this programme will:

  • develop specific knowledge and obtain a broadly based foundation in sound design technologies
  • explore the use of existing computer-aided sound design techniques in a creative way
  • be able to analyse and critically think about sound and its role in a wider creative arts environment
  • develop understanding of the scope and limitations of computer applications in sound design
  • engage in cross-disciplinary collaboration in the context of audiovisual practice
  • discover new creative uses of advanced technologies
  • foster the ability to work cooperatively in groups in the context of design
  • develop an understanding of the potential for new technologies

Career opportunities

Thanks to the rich cross-disciplinary course of study this programme provides, you will graduate with advanced skills in multimedia, audio production, post-production and other digital technologies which are applied to sound design. These skills will allow you to take on commissions in professional sound design, or pursue your own creative path.

You will also gain a wide variety of transferable skills, such as research, teamwork and communication that will increase your employability.



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Programme description. This innovative programme offers the best of studio-based design learning in an online context. You will work together, and with colleagues located on campus in Edinburgh, to realise imaginative design outcomes and acquire wide skills in digital visual and audio techniques. Read more

Programme description

This innovative programme offers the best of studio-based design learning in an online context.

You will work together, and with colleagues located on campus in Edinburgh, to realise imaginative design outcomes and acquire wide skills in digital visual and audio techniques.

You will investigate practice contexts for application across the arts, entertainment, performance and industry. You will also probe the social, cultural and commercial implications of such developments.

The programme addresses the needs of practitioners, managers, decision-makers and educators who want to be informed by first-hand knowledge of the technical possibilities of digital technology and an awareness of social, cultural and business contexts.

Online learning

Teaching is through a combination of streamed/podcasted lectures, online seminars/tutorials and virtual studio activities.

Projects bring out original thinking and independent achievement within a framework of independent study, virtual team-working and creative ability.

You will also engage closely, though from a distance, with colleagues following our highly successful established programmes in Design and Digital Media and Sound Design.

Some courses may offer opportunities to study for specific periods in Edinburgh.

Career opportunities

The prospects for employment are diverse. Recent graduates from the closely allied on-campus programme in Design and Digital Media are now working in multimedia and web design for architectural and urban design practices, advertising, computer system design and management, and tertiary level teaching. The programme is also ideal if you are considering continuing on to advanced research at a doctoral level.



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This exciting programme of study for students wishing to develop the craft and philosophy of costume design for live performance, screen or site-specific installation is unique in its approach. Read more

This exciting programme of study for students wishing to develop the craft and philosophy of costume design for live performance, screen or site-specific installation is unique in its approach.

Our students develop their concepts and creativity by interpreting a text or exploring a theme, thinking about character, movement and the performance environment. Instruction in the skills of pattern cutting, textile manipulation, millinery, puppetry, set design, computer aided design, welding, knitting, illustration and life drawing help students expand their skills base.

Students work on developing a comprehensive understanding of fabric, costume design and cutting, while exploring the historical and dramatic perspectives of the discipline and the process of performance.

This creative freedom and the combination of the practical developing alongside the conceptual, provides our students with a wide range of skills and a flexibility valued and highly respected by the industry.

Postgraduate students are ideally placed to study the interaction between costume and the other arts such as fashion, textiles, jewellery, film and TV, animation, illustration, installation, music and dance, and to take part in collaborations inside and outside of the University.

Thanks to our extensive national and international links with theatre, dance, film, television and opera companies, plus our network of freelance designers, you’ll be supported in sourcing work experience and other hands-on opportunities that will give you real-world skills and experience.

Programme structure

This programme is assessed by the production of a body of practical and written work on an agreed, self-initiated topic which can take advantage of the many local and international performance-based opportunities.

This programme is project-led. Your project could be led by narrative, theme, performance medium. It should offer scope for sustained research and design development for costume design. Study will combine practical studio work with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements to prepare you for employment in the industry, and a lecture/seminar series which will examine the wider context of your studies.

Career opportunities

Postgraduate studies in performance costume open up access to a wide range of work for the stage and screen. You will benefit from the superb reputation of this programme and may find employment within the spheres of drama, opera, film and television.

Our graduates have an outstanding record of success within the industry, most recently including a costume designer for British television series Downton Abbey, and costume workers on TV series Game of Thrones, Outlander, Poldark, Endeavour and The Halcyon, and on films Star Wars and Doctor Strange.



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Taking the science of musical sound as your focus, you’ll work in a cross-disciplinary environment, using theoretical and experimental work to explore the musical, technical and multimedia applications of acoustics and audio technology. Read more

Taking the science of musical sound as your focus, you’ll work in a cross-disciplinary environment, using theoretical and experimental work to explore the musical, technical and multimedia applications of acoustics and audio technology.

The programme aims to:

  • Provide a broadly based, scientifically oriented foundation in the area of music, acoustics and audio technology
  • Develop skills in research, computation, design and analytical problem-solving
  • Create a multidisciplinary learning environment that will prepare the student for careers in which a strong understanding of music/audio technology is required
  • Develop an ability to appreciate, understand and develop the creative potential of sound design

The emphasis of this programme is on science and technology in the context of musical and multimedia applications. 

Programme structure

The MSc is taught by a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials and practical work. Courses are assessed through a combination of report submissions and written examinations. In the final three months, you will carry out an individual project, which is assessed by submission of a dissertation.

Learning outcomes

Students who successfully complete this cross-disciplinary programme will develop skills in the area of music, acoustics and audio technology.

Graduates will have a thorough understanding of the appropriate technologies and the science underlying them, as well as an understanding of their role in a wider creative arts environment.

Career opportunities

A knowledge of the science behind music and music production can prove a great asset in your career. Qualified technicians and producers are in demand in all areas of music, as are acoustic scientists. The programme will provide you with the perfect foundation for further study if you’d prefer to continue on an academic path. The highly transferable skills you’ll gain in communication and project management will also take you further up whichever career ladder you choose to climb.



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Programme description. This programme is currently under review for the 2017/18 Academic Year. Please be aware that the programme structure and course availability is subject to change. Read more

Programme description

This programme is currently under review for the 2017/18 Academic Year. Please be aware that the programme structure and course availability is subject to change.

This programme encourages practices that are speculative and reflective, supporting work in a range of media. It is concerned with ways of learning that are experiential – embodied through and understood by the acquisition of a practice.

During the late 20th century, developments within visual art introduced new processes and situations, which resulted in an expanded concept of artistic practice.

Media-related disciplines supported by the programme include sculpture, painting and printmaking, photography, audio-visual and new media. The programme also encompasses approaches to practice that are non media-specific, including intermedia, time-based arts, performance, installation, public art and art writing.

Programme structure

You may complete the MA in one year, or continue on to the MFA. You will have access to a designated studio space and a wide range of studio equipment, technicians and resources, including printmaking, metal, wood, casting, painting, photography, reprographic and digital facilities.

Our students often work in groups across subject areas in the School of Art and collaborate throughout the year on critical, creative and curatorial projects. This gives you a unique opportunity to integrate the fields of art practice, art writing and curating, culminating in an exhibition of your own work or in a research project of your own design.

We regularly organise field trips and offer short residency and project opportunities with our local and international partners.

The programme also involves the theoretical study of this family of media and approaches, drawing on related fields and methods.

Facilities

Students on this programme will benefit from studio-based learning in Edinburgh College of Art's (ECA) historic Lauriston Place campus, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college. The art college experience will be complemented by the University's extensive range of student support facilities, its libraries, student societies, and student accommodation.

Our purpose-built studios are adaptable, serving both as working studios and project and exhibition spaces. Our workshops and foundry provide excellent accommodation for working in wood, metal, mould-making, casting and carving and there are facilities for working with sound, digital imaging and video editing.

The programme develops from a broad to a specialist understanding of the technical resources and validating contexts in which artists work today, drawing inspiration and nourishment from the experience of our international student cohort.

Career opportunities

This programme enables you to develop an ambitious art practice as well as providing you with the organisational and economic knowledge required to thrive as a self-employed artist. You will also be qualified to teach studio art in higher education and to work in the contemporary art sector.



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The Masters in Film Studies is a unique and stimulating programme that allows you to explore central concepts in the development of film theory and film-philosophy with an emphasis on European and American auteur cinema. Read more

The Masters in Film Studies is a unique and stimulating programme that allows you to explore central concepts in the development of film theory and film-philosophy with an emphasis on European and American auteur cinema. Our students engage seriously with the analysis of film and the history of cinema aesthetics and interpretation.

The programme will provide you with the analytical and critical tools for the investigation of individual films and the opportunity to discuss these in relation to auteurs, film movements and genres as well as contexts of production and reception.

No previous film or philosophical study is required, but a love of cinema and an appreciation of its importance as an art form is crucial.

Edinburgh is an ideal environment for the study of film as it is home to outstanding art-house cinemas, a lively cinephile culture and the world-renowned Edinburgh International Film Festival.

Programme structure

Over two semesters, taught in small seminars, you will complete two compulsory and two option courses, and will be trained in research methods and skills. You will then complete a dissertation project under individual supervision.

Compulsory courses:

  • Film Theory
  • Film-Philosophy

Option courses may include:

  • Cinema Auteurs
  • Cinema and Society in South Asia
  • Contemporary Japanese Cinema
  • Film Adaptation
  • Film and Gender
  • Film and Religion
  • Gender, Revolution and Modernity in Chinese Cinema
  • Mediating Film
  • Music on Screen

Career opportunities

This programme is an excellent chance to develop your cinematic interests and knowledge and to build your CV with a view to a career in academia, or in any film or media related field.

You will be introduced to Scotland’s lively film culture, with exceptional opportunities to network within the field.

You will also gain transferable skills in communication, research and project management that can be applied to any career you decide to pursue.



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Programme description. In this dynamic programme you’ll build on your existing musical skills and develop a greater understanding of the theories and techniques of digital composition and performance. Read more

Programme description

In this dynamic programme you’ll build on your existing musical skills and develop a greater understanding of the theories and techniques of digital composition and performance.

A focus of the programme is bridging the gap between the musical vision and its performance. With this in mind, you will be encouraged to perform your own music in live situations and take your place at the forefront of your music’s realisation.

An emphasis is also placed on the field of digital composition within a wider context, which you will address through seminar work. You’ll learn how to plan a technological project and translate your musical ideas into interactive computer music programmes and/or scores.

Programme structure

Your study will take the form of weekly lectures or seminars, as well as at least 10 hours a week on project work.

You will complete six courses.

In semester 1:

  • Real-Time Performance Strategies and Design
  • Composers’ Seminar A
  • a choice of Sound Design Media, Compositional Practice A, Principles of Composition for Screen or another course as agreed with the Programme Director

In semester 2:

  • Non Real-Time Systems
  • Composers’ Seminar B
  • a choice of Digital Media Studio Project, Compositional Practice B or another course as agreed with the Programme Director

In addition, over the spring and summer, you will prepare a final digital composition and performance project.

Learning outcomes

Students will gain in-depth knowledge of:

  • how to make music with computers
  • the combination of hardware and software systems in music performance
  • music programming both in real-time (e.g. Max/MSP) and non-real-time e.g. slippery chicken
  • audio production and post-production
  • how to plan, execute, realise, and document a musical-technological project
  • how to translate musical ideas into fully-functioning interactive music software
  • their own creative practice in the context of past and present cultural developments

Career opportunities

As this programme involves a wide range of disciplines both technical and artistic, you will gain a number of transferable skills ranging from the core matters of composition, audio production and music programming to more indirect but highly employable skills such as research, documentation, critical thinking, oral presentation, teamwork and software development.

Our graduates have gone on to be employed as composers, performers, researchers, Cirque du Soleil sound technicians, university lecturers, software engineers, BBC sound recordists, web designers, multimedia/ video streaming engineers, and DJs.

See our alumni webpage for details of the careers of recent graduates:



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This programme develops skills in the critical study of musical instruments, and familiarises students with the examination of historic instruments, and with the evaluation of documentary information sources and iconography. Read more

This programme develops skills in the critical study of musical instruments, and familiarises students with the examination of historic instruments, and with the evaluation of documentary information sources and iconography.

You will learn the history and relevant literature of the most important instruments of western art music. You will be able to examine historic instruments, carry out research and draw conclusions about their operation.

Programme structure

Weekly two-hour tutorials will be held at St Cecilia’s Hall utilising original instruments from the instrument collection. In each musical instrument module you write two research papers, each of about 3,000 words in length. Following the second semester, you will carry out original research in organology and write a dissertation.

Learning outcomes

Students who study the programme will learn the history and relevant literature of the most important instruments of Western art music. They will be able to examine historic instruments, carry out research and draw conclusions about their operation.

Career opportunities

This programme will supply skills in research methodologies that will allow you to extend a specialised area of interest into further study. This in turn may lead to an academic career. You may instead wish to move into a curatorial role, either within a public institution or with one of the many private collections that exist worldwide.



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Research profile. The Reid School of Music offers an exciting research environment that combines the theory, history, composition and practice of music with the scientific study of sound. Read more

Research profile

The Reid School of Music offers an exciting research environment that combines the theory, history, composition and practice of music with the scientific study of sound. We engage with a broad range of genres and traditions, including classical and popular music, Western and non-Western music, professional and amateur music making and music for screen. Our research is highly interdisciplinary, with centres and groups spanning other Colleges and Departments within the University of Edinburgh, from Physics and Neuroscience to Informatics, the Humanities, Divinity and the Social Sciences.

We have a large community of postgraduate students undertaking independent research in music.

If you are interested in undertaking a small independent research project in music, the 12-month MSc by Research is ideal. This programme is offered in any area served by the expertise of our music staff. In consultation with your supervisor you will develop an individual programme of coursework and research training over two semesters. You will submit a dissertation, or portfolio of projects equivalent to 30,000 words.

Candidates for larger-scale, doctoral research are normally admitted as probationary students for the first year of study, and on satisfactory completion of this first year are approved for registration for either MPhil (normally two years full-time, dissertation of 60,000 words) or PhD (maximum four years full-time, dissertation of 80,000–100,000 words).

All our research degrees may be studied part-time (for example, MSc by Research may be studied part-time over two years).

Staff have a wide range of research interests, engaging in research clustered around four main themes:

  • Music, Sound and Technology, including musical acoustics and organology
  • Musical Practice, including composition (electroacoustic, algorithmic, computer music and music for screen), and historical and contemporary performance research
  • Music and the Human Sciences, including music psychology and cognition, and music in the community
  • Music and Social Institutions, including 19th and 20th century musicology, popular music, and music sociology


Training and support

All of our research students benefit from ECA’s interdisciplinary approach and all are assigned two research supervisors. Your second supervisor may be from another discipline within ECA, or from somewhere else within the College of Humanities & Social Science or elsewhere within the University, according to the expertise required. On occasion more than two supervisors will be assigned, particularly where the degree brings together multiple disciplines.



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This innovative programme gives you an in-depth knowledge of Renaissance and Early Modern culture from an interdisciplinary perspective. Read more

Programme description

This innovative programme gives you an in-depth knowledge of Renaissance and Early Modern culture from an interdisciplinary perspective.

It also offers the opportunity to work closely with Renaissance and Early Modern collections in Edinburgh, from paintings by Botticelli or Titian, to early printed editions of Shakespeare, pioneering scientific texts, historic buildings and archival documents.

Programme structure

The first two semesters are based around small-group teaching and a combination of lectures, seminars and tutorials. As well as the choice of a full range of option courses taught by experts in different humanities subjects, you will have the opportunity to choose an internship at a local museum, gallery or library, subject to availability. There may also be the option of an intensive course taught in Italy, subject to availability.

If the internship option is taken, this will require you to work one day a week at the host institution. From April to September, you will be engaged full-time researching and writing your dissertation.

Learning outcomes

Students will develop:

an interdisciplinary understanding of the key changes in European cultural life between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment;
familiarity with the variety of materials that can be used to explore this cultural life and the changes it underwent;
a critical understanding of some of the principal ways in which these changes have been conceptualised and their significance articulated by scholars, past and present;
skills that will allow them to undertake the kind of independent research required in fields such as collections management and curatorship, work in historic buildings or landmarks, as well as going on to further academic research at PhD level.

Career opportunities

You may choose to take your research skills and advanced knowledge into the area of doctoral research and work towards an academic career. Alternatively, you will be equipped to enter the cultural heritage field, especially with the practical experience you gain through the internship element of this programme.

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This programme takes a project-led, practice-based approach to studying for an MA in Film Directing (Documentary) which integrates practical film making with analysis of contemporary film practice. Read more

This programme takes a project-led, practice-based approach to studying for an MA in Film Directing (Documentary) which integrates practical film making with analysis of contemporary film practice. Students choose to make a creative documentary or a non -fiction film which defies genre definition and pushes the boundaries of narrative. We develop these through workshops and tutorials. Our students work within an integrated framework that helps them question the form of their films and enables them to find the right language for their storytelling.

The programme encourages ways of working as a film community that foster the important exchange of ideas, with inspiration from international visiting film makers through Scottish Documentary Institute and support from our team of documentary practicioners. All tutors are top professionals currently working within the industry as directors, producers, editors, cinematographers or sound designers. A newly built Avid edit teaching space, and a new screening space helps us encourage a fresh approach to emerging technologies.

Graduate films do well internationally regularly winning BAFTAs, RTS Awards and awards at international festivals. Over the last five years students have received an Oscar nomination for an MA film made here and an Oscar shortlist for a film made by a recent graduate. We work closely with the Scottish Documentary Institute, the University’s internationally-acclaimed research centre in documentary film making.

The aim of the Film Directing programmes at ECA is to:

  • challenge boundaries, encourage original thought, and develop intellectual and critical approaches to making films
  • combine the contemporary energy and discipline of current creative approaches to film practices with the professionalism of industry practices, in order to produce innovative and grounded work
  • facilitate the interrelationship between different cultural traditions, traditional and emerging screen technologies, and classical and non-traditional cinematic genres and conventions.
  • provide postgraduate education in film making that constitutes a clear progression from undergraduate education whilst maintaining distinctiveness from industrial training- that gives scope for taking risks
  • foster filmmakers able to work and compete internationally

Programme structure

This programme is project-led and delivered through workshops and regular individual tutorials. It integrates practical studio work with theoretical and written studies from the Screen cultures course (see separate description) which is run independently from the Film Department.

The first semester, Design Studio is organised round a series of micro-films which lead to a growing awareness of film language and enhancement of technical skills to creatively support filmic vision. Cinematography and sound workshops are delivered by visiting lecturers. Directorial voice is built up also through tutorials in which an idea for a graduating film is developed and evolved. Awareness of current international documentary practice is built through regular seminars and screenings, collaborations with Film Festivals such as Take One Action and also supported by Scottish Documentary Institute. This is also to inspire students to push boundaries in their approach to narrative structure and visual language and not to get locked in conventional approaches. We want to encourage bold work that takes risks. At the end of the first semester all students pitch their films using a trailer or short excerpt from their research material. They also develop a treatment with feedback from tutorials.

Semester two is spent preparing and shooting the graduate film and is backed up with edit tutorials as well as project support from weekly meetings with a tutor. Students also receive seminars in production process including contracts.

Semester three is when the film is edited and finished with input from group crits, tutorials. Students also attend or often volunteer with Edinburgh Film Festival and the Edinburgh Pitch in order to observe and engage with key players from the international documentary world through hearing feedback from commissioning editors.

Alongside the ECA learning structure, students also have a pool of potential collaborators from Screen Academy Napier including the possibility of working with cinematographers, editors and producers.

Career opportunities

Our students go on to a wide range of roles, including producer, director, writer, production or location manager, researcher, editor, assistant director, cinematographer, or journalist. Graduates have found work directing for the BBC and making work internationally for top broadcasters and film funds. Related fields include advertising, community films, academia or film development agencies.

Creative Skillset

MA/MFA Film Directing has been awarded the Creative Skillset Tick, the industry kitemark of quality, following a rigorous assessment process by experts working in the Creative Industries. The Creative Skillset Tick is awarded to practice-based courses which best prepare students for a career in the industry. Screen Academy Scotland is one of only 3 Screen Academies in the UK along with National Film School and London Film School.



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Glass is a medium that crosses a range of disciplines and is used by artists, craftspeople and designers alike. This award-winning programme explores glass as a design tool that encourages process-led risk and play, in parallel with the prototyping and resolution of designed objects. Read more

Glass is a medium that crosses a range of disciplines and is used by artists, craftspeople and designers alike. This award-winning programme explores glass as a design tool that encourages process-led risk and play, in parallel with the prototyping and resolution of designed objects.

Courses cover contemporary design issues including material narratives, interdisciplinary crossover and post-digital practices, as well as studio and client-based projects.

You will focus on the materiality of glass, explore new boundaries through the integrated relationship between process and theory, and be encouraged to position yourself within and beyond the disciplines of glass.

This programme is unique in Scotland and ECA is one of the few centres of excellence in this discipline in the UK. Comprehensive glass and plaster workshops are complemented by state-of-the-art digital fabrication labs, woodwork, metalwork and bronze foundry, enabling you to experience the complete design journey from conception to the production of glass at the highest level.

You will benefit from visiting professional practitioners and lecturers and will have the opportunity to participate in live projects and competitions. The curriculum combines programme and student-led activity, delivered through workshops, group seminars and individual tutorials.

You will negotiate and develop a programme of study based on personal areas of practice-based research. We foster interdisciplinary collaboration with other departments creating a unique student experience and rich opportunities for learning.

Programme structure

This programme combines directed and self-directed practice-based studio projects with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements to prepare you for employment in the industry, and a lecture/seminar series to examine the wider context of your studies.

The programme focuses on providing the tools of craft and design through comprehensive professional practice workshops, focused on the specific requirements of the designer maker. You will produce a body of practical and written work on an agreed, self-initiated project. MFA students produce an additional extended body of work.

Career opportunities

As a graduate you will discover a diverse range of career opportunities. Alumni have worked within the production of individual designed objects, as lead designers within industry, as gallery representation, on commissioned major public artworks, and in teaching and leading positions within creative practices.



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This programme encourages students to take a risk, to test the boundaries of the discipline and push their design ideas beyond personally predetermined limits. Read more

This programme encourages students to take a risk, to test the boundaries of the discipline and push their design ideas beyond personally predetermined limits.

You will develop an enhanced research and design proposal, culminating in a new body of work that will showcase your development and achievements.

This unique and convention-breaking programme has a strong emphasis on personal creative freedom and design innovation, ensuring you have the best chance of employment and career development upon graduation.

You will be encouraged to challenge your existing research and design knowledge and develop new skills and networks. You are expected to experiment and explore: independent study is paramount but underpinned by a number of supporting projects, workshops and events.

We expect collaboration within the School of Design, with the creative industries and where appropriate with external clients to allow you to realise personal and project possibilities to the full. There is a strong international student input which introduces diverse experience and encourages wide-ranging thinking.

We encourage bold, lateral approaches, coupled with a clear understanding of process and technique, to produce innovative, emotive and enduring design from students who learn through intense, sustained involvement with the design process.

Programme structure

The curriculum is student-led with an emphasis on independent learning. With tutorial guidance, you will negotiate and develop a programme of study based on personal areas of research and practice, alongside set projects to support and inform your line of enquiry.

You will initially focus on the research and development of a study proposal. With support from our dynamic team of experienced tutors (all industry practitioners or researchers) you will be encouraged to expand on your preconceived ideas and let your findings dictate future development. We expect you to engage in sophisticated design dialogue to push your ideas to their full potential. There is a hotbed of debate and prototyping before any designs are taken into production.

The written context of the programme helps amplify and contextualise your understanding of process and this wider awareness of design feeds back into your practice-based work. You will produce written context assignments alongside studio based work.

Career opportunities

We are committed to providing our students with enhanced career prospects and the ability to achieve at the highest level. Graduates are professionally vital and well-informed, and are able to enter the design industry with a freshness of approach and the flexibility and adaptability to be able to respond to change.

Our Graphic Design graduates work in a wide range of creative career paths. The variety of projects, approaches and opportunities on course enable graduates to apply their knowledge and experience of the design process and their considerable skills onto many disciplines. Typically though our graduates leave to become valuable members of a graphic design agency.

Our extensive links with industry built through industry-led projects and staff research, and our range of visiting speakers, ensures that graduates are aware of the full range of career possibilities and are provided with a strong footing from which to develop their chosen career.

Previous career paths have included experiential design, packaging, advertising, digital design, interaction design, exhibition design, design research, marketing, retail design, exhibition design, multimedia, design management, education. Graduates may freelance or seek employment within a company.

A specific scheme we run within the programme is the Design Agency project which, in 2013, won a Guardian University Award for Employability Initiative.

Design Agency is a flagship initiative that enables graphic design students to form their own design agencies. They create their own brand for the agency and work collectively towards a common objective based on ability, regardless of age or experience. Edinburgh-based design agencies act as ‘mentor partners’ to the student agencies. The long-term relationships that are built with mentors ensures that students have the chance to show, over an extended period rather than just a few weeks on placement, what they can contribute to potential employers.

In 2013, the ECA Design Agency won the Guardian University Awards 2013 prize for Employability Initiative, with the judges praising its ambition and said its risk-taking innovation “should be applauded.”



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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. Read more

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.



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Covering the study and design of interior space in relation to a wide range of public and private environments, this programme will guide you through innovative design projects that will enable you to explore the design potential of existing buildings and find new uses for old or redundant spaces. Read more

This programme is not currently accepting applications.

Programme description

Covering the study and design of interior space in relation to a wide range of public and private environments, this programme will guide you through innovative design projects that will enable you to explore the design potential of existing buildings and find new uses for old or redundant spaces.

You’ll be encouraged to focus on the aspects of interior design that you find interesting or personally relevant, and take charge of the direction of your coursework.

Visits from industry practitioners, along with our strong links with commercial design consultancies and architectural practices, are invaluable in providing opportunities for expert advice and critical appraisal.

Programme structure

All programmes integrate practical studio work with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements to prepare you for employment in the industry, and a lecture/seminar series to examine the wider context of your studies. The aim is to encourage and support postgraduate students who wish to explore interior design as a means of expressing ideas and opinions.

For assessment, students produce a body of practical and written work on an agreed, self-initiated topic. This may include set projects within the programme curriculum.

Career opportunities

We have an enviable track record of success as our graduates set up their own businesses or gain architectural design work here in the UK or overseas.

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