Postgraduate study

History of Art

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: History of Art

The MSc by Research programme is for students with a good general knowledge of the subject area, who wish to focus their interests and deepen their knowledge of a specific topic.

To complete the programme you would normally submit two, 5,000-word, independent research essays, on topics chosen in consultation with your supervisor. You are also required to complete the History of Art core course, Research Theories and Methods (which is assessed via a 3,000-word essay) plus one further course (which may be chosen from a broad range of taught postgraduate option courses, assessed by a 4,000-word essay, or a credit-bearing language course or other suitable option), over semesters 1 and 2. At the end of the summer, you are required to submit a 15,000-word dissertation.

The MPhil and PhD degrees are both major pieces of independent research, preparing you for a future in academic scholarship. These degrees are obtained by research and presentation of a thesis of up to 60,000 words (MPhil) or 80,000–100,000 words (PhD). The first year of a PhD is probationary, meaning that you must pass a first year review before you are permitted to continue to the second year of the PhD. At your review, you will be required to discuss with a review board a presentation comprising an overview of your thesis and proposed chapter plan, with a bibliography, and a draft chapter of at least 10,000 words.

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.

Throughout your degree, you will be required to take a number of workshops and training courses in research and/or language skills, unless the principal supervisor is satisfied that this is unnecessary.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than two and a half years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

For detailed information on fee status, policies and payment see:

Additional programme costs (APCs) are used by programmes in Edinburgh College of Art to cover associated costs such as: basic consumables; equipment purchase, hire and maintenance; computing hardware and software; field trip and excursion expenses; and programme specific events. More detail will be available in programme handbooks.

  • Postgraduate Advisor, Dr Alain George
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2326
  • Email: a.george@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE

We encourage you to apply at least one month prior to entry so that we have enough time to process your application. If you are also applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit two references with your application.

You should submit a research proposal that outlines your project's aims, context, process and product/outcome. Read the application guidance before you apply:

Although we welcome perceptive proposals on traditional subjects, using established methodologies, we are particularly looking for applicants prepared to challenge and expand the traditional boundaries of the discipline.

Find out more about the general application process for postgraduate programmes:

Further information

  • Postgraduate Advisor, Dr Alain George
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 2326
  • Email: a.george@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE