Postgraduate study

Cultural Studies

Awards: MSc

Funding available

Programme website: Cultural Studies

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.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject such as urban studies, film studies, cultural geography, anthropology, architecture, art or art history.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should be a PDF no larger than 2MB in size and should demonstrate through visual and textual material your interest and engagement in cultural studies and the city.

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.

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086
  • Email: hsspg@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • 55-60 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX

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 a reference with your application.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You won't be able to submit your portfolio immediately, but you'll receive an email prompt within a few days of submitting your application that will explain how to upload your portfolio.

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

Further information

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086
  • Email: hsspg@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • 55-60 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX