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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
Design Informatics combines Data Science with Design Thinking in a context of critical enquiry and speculation. We build a value-aware, reflective practice at the interface between data and society by combining theory and research with an open-ended process of making and hacking.
Human activity is being constantly shaped by the flow of data and the intelligences that process it, moving towards an algorithmically mediated society. Design Informatics asks how we can create products and services within this world, that learn and evolve, that are contextualised and humane. Beyond that, it asks questions about what things we should create, speculating about the different futures we might be building and the values behind them.
The central premise is that data is a medium for design: by shaping data, we shape the world around us. Data Science provides the groundwork for this, with Design Thinking underpinning reflective research through design. You will use this in working with the internet of things and physical computing, machine learning, speech and language technology, usable privacy and security, data ethics, blockchain technologies. You will connect technology with society, health, architecture, fashion, bio-design, craft, finance, tourism, and a host of other real world contexts, through case studies, individual, and collaborative projects. You will understand user experience in the wider socio-cultural context, through an agile programme of hacking, making and materialising new products and services.
Please be aware that the structure of the programme may change.
Throughout the programme, you will be working both individually and in teams of designers and computer scientists. Everyone will have to write code during the course, and everyone will have to make physical objects. Several courses, including the dissertation, will involve presenting the artefact, product, service, or interactive experience that you have created to the general public in a show.
In the first year, you will study:
In Design with Data and Design Informatics Project, you are likely to work with an external partner, such as the Royal Bank of Scotland, Amazon, Edinburgh City Council, Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh or the National Museum of Scotland.
MSc and MA students then undertake a dissertation in the summer before graduation.
MFA and Advanced MSc students take a summer placement with a relevant digital organisation then return for a second year of study, comprising:
Elective courses are drawn from the Masters Programmes of the School of Informatics, Edinburgh College of Art, and Philosophy, Psychology, and Language Sciences. Courses are typically 10 or 20 credits.
This programme will put you at the cutting edge of the intersection between data science, design, and information technology, opening a host of opportunities in working with companies, charities, and the public sector. We encourage entrepreneurship. For those who wish to stay in academia, the course provides a solid foundation for a PhD in related areas.
Our programme centres on the exploration of problem spaces, understanding that much of what product designers do is redefine and reinterpret products and their contexts, enabling people to lead engaged, productive and meaningful lives.
Product design is a broad discipline, which we understand through an ethnomethodological lens. At the heart of our programme are people; particularly those who currently struggle with existing objects in identified circumstances. We embrace a variety of approaches to people-centred design practice including participatory action research; affective design; design for disruption and inclusive design. The core of our approach is to speculate and build preferred futures, based on design-led evidence constructed through observation and engagement with others. Our aim is to understand the agency of objects and configure intended impacts on communities of people moving through and across various services and systems.
You will join a vibrant, international community of creative practitioners and researchers. We are involved in a variety of research interests relevant to design production, maintaining partnerships in allied disciplines such as engineering, informatics, anthropology, sociology, health and business.
There are two semesters in your first year, each providing the opportunity to engage three courses: one core requirement, and two elective options from supporting programmes relevant to the ethos of the programme.
Core courses foster exploration and development of ethnomethodological approaches to product design research and development, with a strong emphasis on action research, ethnographic observation, participation and prototyping, driven through a strong iterative approach to practice.
One-year MA degree
If you choose to pursue the one year MA degree, you will engage your dissertation in the summer period following the first year of study, focusing on the development of an individual project which emphasises product theory in context.
Emphasis on the MA degree pathway is to prepare students with interests in design management, policy or direction, or pursuing further academic research programmes such as the PhD.
Two-year MFA degree (Under review for 2018 entry)
Students enrolled on the two year MFA degree demonstrate interest in pursuing a career as autonomous designers, often establishing their own studios of practice.
In Year 2 of the MFA, you will undertake an additional four courses, with a core component in semester 1 entitled "Incubator", which is designed to help develop your skills in researching, developing and delivering a practice-led thesis.
The MFA dissertation takes place in your final semester, and culminates in the presentation of a significant body of work presented in exhibition format, showcasing exceptional skills in making, prototyping and manufacturing of high-quality, proof of concept models which articulate your understanding of theory in practice through artefacts, images and text relevant to people-centred design.
The professional knowledge, skills and abilities developed on this programme will prepare you for a rewarding career as a product/industrial designer, designer-maker, user-experience designer, user-interface designer, design manager, production manager, or a variety of other related roles within design-related industries.
Our graduates have an excellent track record moving into employment in a variety of sectors following graduation.
Covering the study and design of interior spaces 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 through the design of contemporary insertions.
You’ll be encouraged to focus on the aspect of interior design that you find most interesting or personally relevant, and take charge of the direction of your coursework.
Visits from industry practitioners, along with our strong link with commercial design consultancies and architectural practices, are invaluable in providing opportunities for additional expert advice and critical appraisal.
This programme integrates 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.
Projects are based within existing historic buildings in Edinburgh, usually in need of regeneration, and often significant to communities or the wider city. There is also an element of exhibition design to the programme, whereby in the last semester students are responsible for the design and construction of the ECA Interiors show at the Free Range Exhibition in London.
For assessment, you will produce a body of practical and written work on an agreed self-initiated topic. This may include set projects within the programme curriculum.
We have an enviable track record of success as our graduates gain interior design work here in the UK and overseas, or set up their own businesses.