Postgraduate study

Design

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.

Our research students benefit from ECA’s interdisciplinary research environment, which attracts postgraduate students and researchers across a number of fields, and is further informed by collaborative exchanges with colleagues elsewhere in the University.

Areas of expertise within design include: animation, fashion, film and television, glass, graphic design, illustration, interior design, jewellery and silversmithing, performance costume, product design, 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. Your second supervisor may be from another discipline within ECA, or from somewhere else within the College of Humanities & Social Science 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 will benefit from studio-based learning in ECA's 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.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent. Any appropriate professional experience will also be considered.

We welcome applications from candidates with professional qualifications and/or professional experience who believe that they would specifically benefit from undertaking MPhil or PhD research in the area of design, in an environment that both supports and explores the dialogue between design practice and academic research.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

If English is not your first language, you must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of your spoken and written English:

  • 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)

If you completed a CAE or CPE before January 2015 please contact the Admissions Office for the accepted grades.

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.

Research degrees are based on independent study determined by proposals for research projects submitted by candidates. For research proposal guidance please see:

Such projects can be fully theoretical, however, when appropriate, applicants are encouraged to submit proposals that challenge and expand 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