Postgraduate study


Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Design

We provide a highly dynamic and supportive research environment for our large and diverse graduate community as demonstrated in our 100% score in the research environment category of the 2014 REF.

Our research students can benefit from ECA’s interdisciplinary research environment, which attracts postgraduate researchers across a number of fields, and is further informed by collaborative exchanges with colleagues elsewhere in the University. This approach has attracted funding from major providers, including the UK Research Councils and institutions from the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in the Arts, Humanities, Science and Medicine.

Areas of expertise within design include: animation, fashion, film and television, glass, graphic design, illustration, interior design, jewellery, performance costume, product design, silversmithing, textiles, design history and theory, design informatics, design ethnography and screen studies (film and animation).

All of our research students benefit from ECA’s interdisciplinary approach and all are assigned two research supervisors. The 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.

Students can benefit from opportunities within the thriving studios in ECA's historic Lauriston Place campus, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college and wider University. Together there is an extensive range of student support facilities provided including libraries, student societies, support services and accommodation.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent. We will also take any professional experience into account.

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 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 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
  • 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:

Your project can be fully theoretical, however, when appropriate, we encourage you to submit a proposal that challenges and expands traditional approaches to research in creative practice and design, through innovative theoretical and/or practice-led methodologies.

If you wish to undertake research that involves practice, please also provide a portfolio with examples of your previous practical work.

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

Further information

  • Edinburgh College of Art
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE