This programme enables students to study architecture at an advanced level. Most major subjects and fields of inquiry within architecture are available for research, including the history and theory of architecture; cultural and visual studies; digital media; technology, structures and materials; and sustainable design.
The programme structure comprises a compulsory research methods course, the choice of one optional course subject, and a 20,000-word dissertation based on independent research.
Our expertise and interests range across the following areas:
Our focus includes conservation theory and history; urban conservation; conservation technology; and the challenges of bridging the gulf between heritage and new architecture.
Architectural History, Theory and Criticism
We have particular strength in the history of architecture in Britain and the British colonial world (18th and 19th centuries); Germany, Central Europe and Russia; modernism in Europe, North America and Africa; Renaissance Italy; the history of landscape; the history of technology; the international history of mass housing and urban development; the theory and philosophy of architecture; the philosophy of place; and critical inquiry and methodology.
Design-led Research and Studio Practice
We focus on research in and through design, as informed by contemporary architectural and cultural theory; studio pedagogy; research-led teaching; and methodologies of urban research and fieldwork.
Digital Media and Design
We have expertise in the spatial, social and philosophical implications of media; the relationship between computers and design practice; cognitive models of human-computer interaction; 3D modelling; mobile computing; the sonic environment; and e-commerce.
Technology, Environment and Sustainability
We offer expertise in lightweight steel structures; the building envelope; concrete construction; design and manufacturing; and sustainable design in both qualitative and quantitative senses, looking at environmental response, design theory, rural planning and user-centred solutions.
The programme consists of a compulsory research methods course, the choice of one option course subject and a 20,000-word dissertation based on independent research.
Students are equipped with skills in advanced research techniques, critical analysis and writing, presentation, and a developed understanding of architecture and its applications.
Research programmes in architecture are served by high-quality library facilities. All students in the programmes are provided with 24-hour-accessible study space, as well as access to well-equipped multimedia laboratories, photography and exhibition facilities.
This programme is professionally accredited by the Landscape Institute and provides you with professionally focused landscape architectural skills.
We offer the only professional, degree-level programmes in landscape architecture in Scotland and they are some of the best delivered worldwide.
This programme focuses on landscape architectural design and is taught by a range of project types and contexts, concerned with building a sustainable future for the landscape we inhabit.
Landscape architecture is a discipline that focuses on intervention in the landscape through the activities of design, planning and management. Landscape is defined as outdoor spaces, environments and relationships between people and places. Landscape Architecture is concerned with landscapes of all types, both urban and rural and at all scales from the garden to the region. It is distinguished by its position at the interface of art and design and the physical, natural and social sciences.
The programme benefits from the studio-based learning typical of an art college environment. Contextual subjects are delivered from within Landscape Architecture and from the wider University community. Uniquely, plants and horticulture are taught at the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh (RBGE). The programme therefore benefits from the intimate small scale nature of ECA and the wider worldwide reputation of the University and RBGE.
Edinburgh itself is a unique and exciting centre for study, with many of the issues at the heart of the profession on hand. Within a short distance, the relatively undeveloped areas of the Scottish Highlands and the Borders illustrate different problems, opportunities and solutions. However, the programme is international in outlook with graduating courses currently sited in Poland, Estonia and France.
The programme has a long and excellent relationship with employers worldwide and contributes to professional practice by its links with public bodies and other agencies.
The programme focuses on four landscape portfolio courses, which contain a variety of design options you can choose from based on factors such as previous experience or personal interest. These are set on real sites with real issues, with differing scales and complexity, and with stakeholders actively informing the process.
The courses become increasingly complex and self-directed as the programme progresses and they are supported via aligned contextual and technological courses. The programme culminates in a major design project you select and develop with support from staff.
Our graduates are hugely in demand. Currently, almost all of our graduates gain rewarding employment very soon after graduation. Some go on to study research-led degrees (PhD). Many become leaders in their field worldwide.
Our highly regarded Architectural Conservation programme is more than 40 years old; it is the longest-established graduate historic preservation programme in the UK.
Whether you’re approaching the field from an architectural, historical, geological or other viewpoint, this programme will guide you through the foundations and challenges of this important means of nurturing cultural and national identity.
You will benefit from learning on our historic campus (located in Edinburgh’s World Heritage Site), and from the wealth of academic and intellectual activities associated with an internationally-renowned university.
You’ll be part of the Scottish Centre for Conservation Studies (SCCS), a specialist teaching and research unit that provides the depth of expertise and resources that ensures this programme is recognised by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
Volunteering opportunities are also available through our partnerships with relevant organisations, allowing you to flex your skills in a practical setting.
The programme is assessed through individual written papers, group projects, presentations, and report writing. An intensive overseas field trip (optional; normally to Germany) will give you the chance to explore conservation issues in another setting. Following the taught courses, you will research and write a dissertation of around 14,000–15,000 words on an aspect of architectural conservation.
To complete your studies, you must demonstrate your familiarity with the historical and theoretical foundations and challenges of historic preservation; the techniques of recording and research; and the technologies of building repair. Elective courses can also develop more specific skills in areas such as the influences of planning law, contemporary architecture and building economics on the historic built environment; and the special conservation challenges of Modern Movement architecture and urban planning.
You will also develop more general practical and intellectual skills, in areas such as project organisation, historical research, or graphic and oral communication.
This programme aims to provide students with the broad base of knowledge and skills necessary to embark on a career in one of the many professional sub-disciplines of historic preservation, ranging from heritage management to conservation architecture.
Crucially, your qualification will be extremely well regarded thanks to its recognition by the Institute of Historic Building Conservation, the UK’s official organisation of architectural preservation professionals.
This is a unique programme of study that addresses the growing need for professional education in digital technology applied to design, including its social, cultural and philosophical implications.
Based in a lively studio environment, the programme develops wide skills in digital techniques and a critical framework to appraise the application of these technologies to design.
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.
Teaching is through a combination of lectures, seminars, tutorials, practical sessions and studios. Projects encourage original thinking and independent achievement within a framework of team-working and creative ability.
The prospects for employment are diverse. Recent graduates are now working in multimedia and web design for architectural and urban design practices, 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.
Jointly delivered by Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and the School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure & Society at Heriot-Watt University, this programme builds upon the expertise and knowledge developed in both institutions.
The MSc in Urban Strategies & Design is taught by academic researchers with international research experience, links and interests, in a range of urban areas. This wealth of knowledge and the use of contemporary pedagogies is integrated into the programme’s delivery.
The programme encourages the adoption of a comprehensive approach towards the delivery of socially sustainable urban transformation, from local-specific to global-regional interventions. You will study the wide and diverse range of social, economic and political processes that influence the development of the contemporary urban environment. The course also seeks to enable you to acquire the tools and skills to propose urban projects of diverse scales and specificities.
Students on the programme come from a range of multidisciplinary backgrounds and work collaboratively to understand how urban design approaches respond to contemporary urban transformations. This analysis is framed not only from a Western perspective but acknowledges that urban transformations in the urban north are increasing interlinked with activities in the urban south. Course pedagogy involves traditional lectures, seminars, excursions and other relevant group activities.
The city of Edinburgh offers a unique laboratory for exploration of current urban design issues. The city’s renaissance to ‘Geddesian’ planning history, and more contemporary international planning pedagogy and consultancy links to urban institutions and bodies, particularly in the global south, provides a good platform from which to support student-led, location-based dissertations.
The programme seeks to address the gap between architecturally driven urban design and higher-level, spatial planning-driven, urban design;, bringing together a range of approaches relevant to urban design that are currently being developed within different professional and disciplinary practices, ranging from engineering to human geography.
You will study four compulsory courses at Heriot-Watt University in semester one, then study one compulsory course and one option course at the University of Edinburgh in semester two.
Should you wish to write an Africa or Latin America focused dissertation, you will choose African Cities or Latin American Cities options within the USD programme. Otherwise you can select any option course being offered at Edinburgh University which fits with your second semester timetable.
Once all coursework is completed, you will go on to write your USD dissertation, over a ten-week period, on an urban theme topic of your choice. Defined dissertation support will be provided, and submission formats discussed.
An MSc in Urban Strategies & Design enables you consider career opportunities from local to international contexts in a range of disciplines: architecture, planning, landscape architecture, urban planning strategies and development planning. These career opportunities exist in the formal, (public and private) voluntary, and international development sector. There are also opportunities to proceed to further academic research at masters or doctoral level.
This programme is intended for students who seek advanced training in the history and theory of architecture. It provides methodological and conceptual tools essential for contemporary research and affords the opportunity for the in-depth study of a select topic in the history and theory of architecture.
The programme will provide you with a firm basis in the methodological and theoretical paradigms of architectural history. Through a combination of coursework and supervised dissertation research with optional internships, you will acquire both a breadth of historical understanding and rigorous research practices.
This programme comprises two compulsory courses focused on methodology and four option courses, which draw on staff research expertise, followed by a 12,000–15,000 word supervised dissertation.
Additionally, you may enrol in courses offered by allied disciplines such as history of art, archaeology, architectural conservation, history, literature and others.
The flexible profile of the programme reflects the diversity of positions within the fields of architectural history and theory, making it suitable for students from a broad range of backgrounds and with a variety of interests and career objectives.
The MSc Architectural History and Theory seeks to provide the following core learning outcomes:
The programmes provides preparation for doctoral research, work in industries that document and interpret the built environment, work in museums and conservation agencies or journalism/media
This programme is intended for students who seek training in the history, theory and practices associated with cultural landscapes.
It provides methodological and conceptual tools essential for contemporary research and affords the opportunity for the in-depth study of a theme that characterises contemporary landscape research and practice.
The programme provides students with a strong historical and methodological framework for studying historic and contemporary cultural landscapes. Through a combination of coursework, fieldwork projects and supervised project/dissertation research, students will acquire both a breadth of historical understanding and rigorous research practices.
It is transdisciplinary in its approach, taking into account histories and approaches drawn primarily from architecture and contemporary art theory and practice, but the programme also engages with other arts-based and social science disciplines, including cultural geography, the history of art, visual and material culture, literature, digital design and media, anthropology and archaeology.
This programme is structured around three compulsory courses, two thematic courses, one option course, and either a supervised dissertation of 15,000 words, or a 10,000-word project proposal with an associated research portfolio.
The range of thematic pathways and option courses available is determined by key areas of staff research in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences and is designed to change according to course availability.
The MSc in Cultural Landscapes seeks to provide the following core learning outcomes:
This degree provides preparation for work in industries including heritage management, planning departments, and conservation policy, as well as deepening historical, theoretical and methodological engagement with landscape for those with established public and site-specific art practices. It also prepares students for doctoral-level research
We live in a material world, materials form the spaces in which we live and the objects that we use. Materials create and, unfortunately, may destroy the environments that we inhabit. Even in an increasing digital age in which the global economy and market continues to expand, the physical nature of materials is always present but it changes and is subject to contextual particularities, such as traditional practices, availability of resource and skills, emerging materials and technologies such as digital fabrication.
The programme focuses on process; the direct experience of using and making with materials; how materials are used in creative works, design and production; how new opportunities and ideas may evolve through reflective practice.
The programme employs a cross disciplinary approach and uses the workshops and expertise across Edinburgh College of Art. You will work with many materials including glass, textiles, metals, timber and concrete. You will also access and use various methods of digital fabrication such as additive manufacture and CNC routing and laser cutting.
The programme addresses directly important contemporary issues of economy, inclusion and sustainability, through the practical, collaborative and individual projects.
The programme is available to students from a variety of design and creative material practice, art, design, craft, and architecture backgrounds and from more traditional technologically based disciplines, such as engineering, looking to expand their skills and understanding in both material techniques and collaborative practice.
The programme is largely workshop- and studio-based. You will gain experience and expertise from a variety of tutors, support staff and technicians.
Periods will be spent in different workshops of the ECA, to explore materials and technique including: metals, glass, textiles and architecture.
As you progress through the programme you will acquire both skills and understanding of various materials, apply these in a series of projects that consider contemporary issues, culminating in a self-directed project, developed from your own experience.
The MSc in Material Practice seeks to provide core learning outcomes:
Opportunities exist with the many and various cross-disciplinary practices that operate in design professions such as product design, manufacturing, architecture and art practice.
Graduates can direct their career, having furthered their skills, explored and developed cross disciplinary design and creative practice and explored contemporary issues and themes. During the programme there will be opportunities to meet with other designers and industries.
The programme will also help those that wish to develop their own practice as fabricators, designers. artists or contractors.
This programme helps you conceive, refine and explain sustainable strategies in the built environment.
The programme is scenario based, delivered in a series of studio projects supplemented with workshops and seminars on aspects of sustainable design. There is an opportunity to study environmental simulation techniques and discover how these can influence wider issues in the built environment.
We address the complex relationship of design to contemporary sustainable agendas and engage in cultural and professional debates that increasingly influence the production of architecture.
This programme is affiliated with the University’s Global Environment & Society Academy:
You complete your studies in one year.
The first semester is a combination of seminars and workshops on the theoretical underpinnings of sustainable design. Alongside this are a series of design projects at the scales of both settlements and building systems. We set many of the projects in a variety of global contexts that reflects the international nature of our students.
The second semester offers an immersive design project that allows you to form your own building programmes and test them in real contexts. You conclude your studies with a comprehensive dissertation research project that can advance your own interests and can be shaped to your preferred career path.
Graduates of this programme will have:
As the call for a more sustainable built environment increases, architects, designers, engineers and planners who can produce solutions are in demand. With this qualification you’ll be best placed to embrace these opportunities and advance your career.
Even if you follow an unrelated path, the experience and skill development in communication, team work and project management that you’ll gain from the programme will be a valuable addition to your resume.
Our graduates work in specialist sustainable design consultancies, and design practice across a variety of disciplines. Many of our students choose to continue their academic development through PhD study.
Food production has tripled in the last forty years, but one billion people still go hungry every year. On average 30% of all food produced is wasted in the pathway from ‘field to fork’. With the global human population set to rise from seven to over nine billion by 2050, we urgently need sustainable solutions that will allow us to increase the global food supply while preserving the integrity of agricultural and non-agricultural ecosystems.
Our trees and forests face new plant health threats which in turn threaten areas of great natural beauty and diversity, and affect both rural and urban landscapes. Our unique MSc Sustainable Plant Health will give you the opportunity to develop your understanding of the vital role of plant health, applying your skills by conducting laboratory and field studies.
This programme is primarily aimed at graduates wishing to pursue a career in plant protection in agriculture, horticulture, forestry or urban settings, and also careers in policy development and implementation, plant health inspection, academic and industrial research, consultancy and conservation management, and private industry.
Applicants who applied after 12 December 2016 receiving an offer of admission, either unconditional or conditional, may be required to pay a tuition fee deposit. Please see the fees and costs section for more information.
This 12 month programme involves two semesters of classes followed by an individual research project. Students will take 80 credits of compulsory courses, with the opportunity to choose two optional courses. Field trips will also form a crucial part of this course.
Compulsory courses typically will be*:
Option courses may include* (select two):
*Please note: courses are offered subject to timetabling and availability and are subject to change each year.
On completion of this course our graduates will have gained:
Plant health scientists are employed in a range of vocations: environmental consultancy, research, overseas development, agriculture, horticulture, forestry, urban planning, policy development, plant inspection and management. Long term career prospects are strong as agricultural scientists will continue to be needed to balance increased output with protection and preservation of ecosystems.
Our graduates will gain particularly valuable skills due to our programme's unique approach looking at impacts across ecosystems. They also benefit from the applied nature of the course allowing them to use their practical skills in a range of field trip environments with expert supervision.