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Contemporary Art Practice (MFA/MA)

Course Description

Programme description

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.


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.

Visit the Contemporary Art Practice (MFA/MA) page on the University of Edinburgh website for more details!

Entry Requirements

You should hold an honours degree with classification 2:1 or above or an equivalent professional qualification in a related field of study.

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