Research is central to the study of architecture within the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA). It motivates our intellectual and creative activities and underpins our collaborations with a range of important international and UK-based institutions. We actively promote interdisciplinary approaches to research in architecture.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 MSc by Research programme comprises a compulsory research methods course, the choice of one optional course and a 20,000-word dissertation based on independent research.
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.
Modern civil engineering professionals often require an extensive understanding of construction management due to the strategic benefits it can bring to both individuals and project teams.
As the industry becomes more competitive, organisations and their clients are increasingly demanding the combined time, cost and quality assurances that good project management practice provides. Furthermore, the industry now recognises that there is a need for engineers to gain specialist technical knowledge which compliments their academic and professional background.
The programme uses experience from our internationally recognised Construction Project Management programme and combines it with our high-profile Civil Engineering postgraduate programme to provide a broad and valuable education. As a result, our recent graduates have been employed by a range of both national and international employers.
Our students are recruited mainly from the civil engineering profession and are typically looking to broaden their knowledge base, extend their technical expertise or gain further learning to meet the needs of the professional institutions. Applicants from other backgrounds planning to develop a career in civil engineering and construction management will also be considered. Graduates of this programme are much sought after by employers, working in areas such as transport, water and wastewater engineering and the energy sector.
The programme provides specialist training in design for candidates who already hold a first degree in architecture.
The programme aims to expose candidates to a range of cutting-edge approaches, strategies, research and experimentation techniques in architectural design.
The programme is structured around a series of design projects, augmented by lecture/seminar-based teaching in urban design and contemporary architectural theory.
The programme also involves fieldwork in a selected European city. Previous destinations include Florence, Olbia, Bari, Mumbai and Calcutta.
Graduates of this programme will have the capacity to:
On completion of this programme, you will have added a significant qualification to your existing architectural degree, one that is held in high regard by potential employers. The skills and learning you will gain will help you to pursue your career at a higher level, or branch out into a particular specialism.
This programme takes an innovative, interdisciplinary approach to the study of contemporary culture and cultural theory.
Adopting transcultural perspectives, we encourage investigations into the questions of identity and representation; the urban realm as a site of intense cultural production; and instructive tensions between spatial, textual, visual and material forms that both shape and are shaped by cultural contexts, specific practices, various image and media technologies and theoretical debates.
In engaging with the complexities of visual knowledge and the technological mediations of images, texts and objects, the programme encourages critical reflections and research methodologies in which image and visual practice contribute to the research corpus and serve as critical tools of investigation.
In exploring social and political conditions in which cultural expressions take place, especially the local and global processes of transformation and contestation, the programme offers a unique focus on the diverse manifestations of material cultures and cultural landscapes.
Multidisciplinary and critical comparative approaches are key facets of the discipline of cultural studies and we welcome students coming from varied academic backgrounds and cultural traditions.
The programme combines seminar and tutorial work with group discussions, class presentations, essays and longer research projects (dissertations).
Both core courses and some option courses employ innovative pedagogies that encourage critical and theoretical reflection through engagement with visual production, visual essays and multimedia presentations.
Option courses are drawn from architecture, history of art and other Schools within the wider University.
By following this programme students will benefit from the following learning outcomes:
Acquire a thorough grounding in key terms, debates and theories framing urban cultural and visual studies.
Expand and refine critical appreciation of current developments and discourses related to urban cultural studies and visual culture.
Acquire and/or further develop their capacity to think in both images and texts, and explore theoretical questions through the engagement in spatial and visual practices.
Acquire and /or further develop their abilities and skills for curating and presenting visual and spatial research.
Gain critical, analytical, interpretative and representational skills that are transferable to both academic and other professional settings.
Throughout the programme, your learning will be supported by guest seminars and critical reviews, film screenings, exhibitions, workshops, field trips and events and directed towards events hosted by the University and other cultural institutions within the city.
This programme is an ideal stepping stone towards advanced study in cultural studies and any related field. This in itself could lead to an ongoing academic career, or a role in education. You may otherwise take the critical, analytical, interpretive and representational skills and apply them in almost any professional setting.