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Creative Arts & Design×

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

We have 36 University of Edinburgh, Full Time Masters Degrees in Creative Arts & Design

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This exciting new programme is intended to foster a new breed of designer for the 21st century. Read more

This exciting new programme is intended to foster a new breed of designer for the 21st century. As the world undergoes massive, accelerated change, communities, cultures and societies face various complex circumstances and systems, including disruptive technologies, aging populations, economic instability, conflict and displacement, and environmental degradation. This programme will address the complex, real world challenges these communities face through design-led interventions driven by tactical, critical, strategic and creative approaches. It places an expanded notion of design at the heart of the enterprise of social, technical and environmental change and nurtures an interdisciplinary approach to these complex circumstances.

Our approach understands designers as researchers. We combine traditional design practices with a sense of curiosity regarding uncertainty and instability and try to understand the diverse sociocultural perspectives and practices within these global challenges. The programme is ideal if you wish to broaden your existing specialist approaches with 21st century design skills that can be applied across intellectual and creative contexts including sociology, engineering, business, anthropology, geography, and design itself.

Programme Structure

You will be taught through a series of Design Labs, which provide thematic focus to open project briefs, encouraging independent interpretation in the design studio. The labs aim to develop your skills, encouraging innovative use of analytical design research methods, application of contemporary synthetic approaches to producing and prototyping design-led insights and bleeding edge forms of communication, presentation and dissemination of design knowledge and future propositions for design-led interventions. You will choose option courses in design or from a range available across ECA and the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences. Finally, your independent dissertation will embrace student-led, situated and practical interventions and tackle real world contexts. It may be possible to undertake a work-based dissertation and apply your new skills in real world applications.

Careers

The programme will prepare you for a rewarding career as a designer, strategist, or consultant in a variety of private sector organisations, including design studios, and government or non-governmental organisations (NGOs). You may also consider a career in academia leading to new and exciting careers in emerging fields of inquiry including digital humanities, developmental studies, and emergent forms of design study and practice.



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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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Research profile. The MSc by Research in Reflective Design Practices is focused on the styles of thinking and action associated with the practice of architecture and the forms of knowledge that result. Read more

Research profile

The MSc by Research in Reflective Design Practices is focused on the styles of thinking and action associated with the practice of architecture and the forms of knowledge that result.

The programme is designed for experienced practitioners and designers who have assembled a significant body of built or designed work, and have a record of critical and creative engagement with the discipline of architecture.

The programme offers you an opportunity to audit, review and critically reflect upon the nature of your practice. Your work to date serves as a platform from which to negotiate possible future directions of your practice. The programme is underpinned by a wider commitment to the idea of the reflective designer and practitioner as a basis for creatively engaging with the rapidly changing contours of contemporary society.

Programme structure

The programme provides research training (research design, representational media, design strategies, data collection and analysis) that enables creative and critical engagement with architectural design. It is designed to be flexible enough to be tailored to individuals' needs, and to offer preparation to advanced level research.

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 Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences 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.

The programme provides research training (research design, representational media, design strategies, data collection and analysis) that enables creative and critical engagement with architectural design. It is flexible enough to be tailored to individuals’ needs, and to offer preparation for advanced research.



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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.

Programme structure

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 online with colleagues following our highly successful programmes in Design & Digital Media and Sound Design.

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, which aims 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, which aims to develop the craft and philosophy of costume design for live performance, screen, or site-specific installation, is unique in its approach.

You will develop your 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 (CAD), welding, knitting, illustration and life drawing help you expand your skills base.

You will 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, will provide you 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 project-led 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.

Your project could be led by narrative, theme, or performance medium. It should offer scope for sustained research and design development for costume design. Your 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.

Graduates of performance costume 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 the 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. The curriculum of this programme is under review for the 2018/19 academic year. Programme structure and course availability is subject to change. Read more

Programme description

The curriculum of this programme is under review for the 2018/19 academic year. 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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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

Some of our current hubs of research activity include:

  • Acoustics and Audio Group
  • ECA Digitals
  • Edinburgh University Collection of Historic Musical Instruments
  • Institute for Music in Human and Social Development
  • Live Music Exchange

Please consult our staff profile pages to see our interests and availability; you may propose projects in any area for consideration.

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 Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences 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 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.

You will be 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. You 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, students have made work for the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh Filmhouse and the ECA Bookmarks symposium.

You will be encouraged to take part in national and international competitions, with the aim of joining 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 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.

Your 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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Book History is a dynamic and rapidly growing area of interdisciplinary study that examines the book as an artefact in material culture. Read more

Book History is a dynamic and rapidly growing area of interdisciplinary study that examines the book as an artefact in material culture. This programme brings together theory and practice in new and innovative ways. We study the production, circulation and reception of books from manuscript to e-books, paying attention to the histories of reading and authorship.

The programme integrates traditional bibliography, advanced theoretical approaches, training in special collections, and hands-on experience. You will be taught by leading experts at the University’s renowned Centre for the History of the Book. Field trips and work placements will allow you to take advantage of the exceptional collections in Edinburgh.

The programme attracts outstanding students from a variety of academic and professional backgrounds. The degree is accredited by the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals.

Programme structure

You will complete two core and two option courses, along with training in research methods. You will then complete a supervised, independently-researched dissertation on a topic of your choice.

Compulsory courses:

  • Cultures of the Book
  • Working with Collections

Option courses may include:

  • Critical Theory: Issues and Debates
  • Shakespeare's Sister: Archival Research and the Politics of the Canon
  • Sex and God in Victorian Poetry
  • Exploring the Novel
  • Censorship

Work placement/internship opportunities

Work placements allow students to take advantage of the exceptional resources in Edinburgh for the study of books in order to gain hands-on experience that will be beneficial in their future careers.

Placements may take place internally, for example in the Centre for Research Collections at the University Library, or externally with several partner organisations.

You will receive training from the placement supervisor, and will undertake well-defined projects in the course of your placement, such as cataloguing, conservation, collation, digitisation and other kinds of work.

You will reflect on your placement in a poster presentation, and it will provide material for an academic essay. Regular academic oversight of the work placement will be provided by the Course Organiser.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme, you will have a firm grasp of:

  • the extensive range of media forms and technologies, from manuscript to electronic text
  • the issues surrounding conservation, cataloguing, digitisation, and the display and management of collections
  • advanced archival research methodologies in manuscript and print

Career opportunities

This programme will equip you with the detailed knowledge and research skills you need to progress to a research degree and continue a career in academia; or you may pursue a career in publishing, libraries, and the cultural heritage sector. You will graduate with a number of highly transferable skills in communication, project management and analysis that will give you an advantage, whatever your chosen career.



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Programme description. This is a one-year, research and compositional performance-based MSc with a focus on practices for composing music and sound for the screen. Read more

Programme description

This is a one-year, research and compositional performance-based MSc with a focus on practices for composing music and sound for the screen.

The focus of the compositional investigations will include film/TV music as well as current computer multimedia production practices, such as for music videos, commercials, video games and web pages. You will become proficient in the technical, artistic and intellectual demands of composing music and sound for use in TV/radio/ film and other media environments, such as the internet. You will be able to experiment with new styles in media, and receive practical experience and timely feedback in collaborating with others.

The programme also provides an opportunity for students to enhance business and management skills in the media industry as they pertain to music and sound.

The Edinburgh Film Music Orchestra, an ensemble run by students and staff of the programme, currently performs film music and often features performances of compositions by MSc Composition for Screen students.

Programme structure

This programme is structured around four compulsory courses and two option courses. You will also complete a final project by creating a music composition for a screen-media environment, along with an accompanying written essay component.

Learning outcomes

Goals and outcomes of the programme include:

  • Development of compositional skills, especially those related to musical/dramatic association with the screen.
  • Update and enrich student’s current electronic music and media skills, including notational software, sequencer software, hardware and mixing, and media synchronisation and production methods.
  • Develop a portfolio and demo reel for scoring work through experience in media music projects.
  • Become familiar with collaborative processes when working with others in a media music environment.
  • Learn to observe and research processes in media music and improve abilities to communicate those processes with others.
  • Develop a resourcefulness and self-sufficiency that will enable you to undertake music for screen projects in a professional atmosphere.

Career opportunities

The rise of the internet and other multimedia platforms for film has significantly improved career prospects for composers. Your degree will not only set you apart from the competition, it will also provide you with a network of peers and industry professionals who can assist you in getting your work to the screen.



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