Undergraduate study - 2018 entry

MA Fine Art (5-year programme)

UCAS code: W150

Duration: 5 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Fine Art (5-year programme)

This five-year programme combines the studio practice of fine art with the academic study of the history of art.

It is unique in its duration and in the fact that equal weight is given to each side of the programme during your studies. Our intention is to produce graduates who have a professional understanding of artistic practice and who also possess an extensive and well-based knowledge and understanding of art history and the methods of its study.

While undertaking your practice-based study you will work in purpose-built studios in a friendly and challenging creative practice environment.

Your other studies will be spent with students from a wide range of arts and humanities subjects (especially in the early years) studying the intensive art history component of the programme.

You will study both History of Art and studio-based disciplines over the course of this five-year programme, including painting, sculpture, intermedia art and printmaking.

Year 1

Your study is equally weighted between the history of art and art practice in Years 1 and 2. You will be working in studios alongside and on courses with students studying BA (Hons) subjects in the School of Art.

You will follow studio and research courses with projects that introduce different methods, materials and approaches to art practice. Teaching in the School of Art is tutorial, seminar and critique-based.

Within history of art, you will take History of Art 1 and one more semester-long course that you will choose. These courses cover the period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Counter-Reformation.

Year 2

Within the studio you will begin to study with a more focused range of materiality and practices. Regular seminar discussion will provide links between art history and studio methodologies. Within history of art, you will take History of Art 2 and choose another history of art course.

Year 3

You will follow the studio and research courses alongside BA (Hons) students in the School of Art. The emphasis shifts from projects to deadlines and you will have the opportunity to engage in external projects and events, alongside extended periods of supported, independent study. You can apply for an international exchange in Year 3.

Within history of art you may choose from a wide variety of specialist topics including aspects of ancient, medieval, Renaissance and modern art in Europe, and also of Islamic and Chinese art, or contemporary art history and theory courses, covering cutting-edge practices in the 21st century in an international context. You will write an independent history of art project in both Year 3 and Year 4.

Year 4

In Year 4 you will continue to extend your studio practice with structured tutorials and seminars. The emphasis shifts from an even split between art and history of art, as in Years 1 – 3 to spending two thirds of your time studying history of art courses in Year 4. A Critical Portfolio course in history of art is the main element of study in this year.

Year 5

You will write a history of art dissertation on a topic of your choice. This is submitted early in the second semester. The major part of the year, two thirds of your time, is taken up with research, and production of your work in the art studios. This work culminates in the production and presentation of your artwork at the public Degree Show exhibitions in May/June.

MA Fine Art students choosing a sculpture specialisation only:

You will develop a self-initiated, highly motivated attitude to your practice and research. You will professionally install work with the added opportunity to participate in external exhibitions, which will be supported by tutorials, seminars, gallery visits and discussions.

Your work in our Degree Show exhibition will be a distillation of what you have learned and developed during your time at ECA.

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

We publish the latest available information for this programme. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year.

Programme structure (2017/18)

Our facilities

Students benefit from studio-based learning in purpose-built workshops and studios for intermedia, painting, photography and sculpture at Lauriston Place, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college.

Some lectures and tutorials will take place in the George Square area. You will have access to the University's libraries and computer facilities.

The University is investing in the ECA estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.

Further information is available on the ECA website.

Facilities and resources at ECA

Study abroad

There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 through exchanges with institutions affiliated to art and history of art.

How will I learn?

Most teaching and learning on compulsory courses is through involvement in a range of experiential projects, situated in a studio environment; option courses taken across the wider university will vary in delivery method. Conceptual, material and technical issues are explored through seminars, workshops, lectures, tutorials and critiques. Research, critical thinking and study of the visual, intellectual, social and professional contexts that shape creative practice are regarded as essential to your development. This often involves participation in exhibitions and live projects. As well as learning through group situations you will also be allocated a studio tutor with whom you will have one to one tutorials on a regular basis.

How will I be assessed?

We conduct continuous assessment throughout the year, to give meaningful feedback and to encourage experimentation in the studio and beyond. Assessment can take the form of project work, participation in group events and presentations.

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

We publish the latest available information for this programme. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year.

Programme details (2017/18)

This programme prepares you for a range of careers in the art world such as curatorships in galleries and museums, art journalism, publishing and art dealing. Some graduates use their skills and experience for careers in management or teaching, while some choose to go on to further academic study. Other graduates establish themselves as successful independent artists and art historians.

Typical offer

The typical offer is likely to be:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points (grades 655 at HL).

Minimum entry requirements

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or ABBBB/AABB from S4-S6, with a minimum of BBB achieved in one year of S4-S6. National 5: English at Grade C and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C.
  • A Levels: ABB. GCSEs: English at Grade C or 4 and Mathematics or an approved science at Grade C or 4.
  • IB: Award of Diploma with 34 points overall and grades 655 in HL subjects. SL: English at 5 and Mathematics or an approved science at 4.

Additional requirements


Applicants will be asked to submit a digital mini-portfolio to provide evidence of artistic aptitude and potential, this will form an important part of the selection process. (Revised 08/03/2017 to provide more accurate information.)

How to submit your mini-portfolio

Important dates

  • Early November 2017: EUCLID Mini-Portfolio system opens
  • 15 January 2018: UCAS deadline for Home/EU applicants
  • Mini-portfolio submission deadline to be confirmed
  • 30 June 2018: Final deadline for UCAS applications from applicants from outside the EU. (Revised 08/03/2017 to provide more accurate information.)

Find out more about entry requirements

International students

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

You must provide evidence that your written and spoken English is at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.

English language tests

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

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component
  • TOEFL-iBT 92 or above with 20 in each section
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component
  • Pearson Test of English (Academic): Total 61 with at least 51 in each "Communicative Skills" section
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components

About English language requirements


For SQA and GCSE students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 Grade C
  • SQA Standard Grade 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 Grade A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 Grade C
  • GCSE Grade C or 4
  • IB Standard Level Grade 5

Key Information Sets (KIS) are part of a government initiative to enhance the information that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

KIS are available for most undergraduate programmes and are intended to make it easier for you to find information about the programmes you are interested in studying. It is one of many sources of information available that will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

You can also use this website to find more information on our programmes and the learning environment you will experience at the University of Edinburgh.

Please note that some programmes do not have data available and will not display a KIS.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for MA Fine Art (5-year programme)

Additional Costs

The costs of your materials will vary depending on your programme of study. In addition, some programmes offer fieldwork and you will usually be required to cover accommodation, subsistence and travel costs. Your actual contribution will depend on your programme and the courses you select.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding