Postgraduate study

Fashion MFA

Awards: MFA

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Fashion

COVID-19

We are committed to offering a high-quality experience to all our students. We are working to minimise the impact of COVID-19, but we have reluctantly decided that we will be unable to offer this programme for entry in 2020.

We anticipate that this degree will be available again for entry in September 2021, but we are not currently in the position to confirm that. Applications for the next intake usually open in October.

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This programme offers you an opportunity to take your design ideas to the next level, to create remarkable, challenging and visionary work that will help establish you in the fashion industry and contribute your original insights to the ever-evolving world of design.

You will develop an enhanced research and design proposal, culminating in a showcase of your collection at our annual fashion show. You will be encouraged to challenge your existing knowledge by developing new skills that are indigenous to the ECA fashion experience, such as our Design Book presentation initiative, creative cutting, and accessory- and surface-led design.

We also ask you to consider topical fashion industry issues such as ethics, sustainability, social responsibility and diversity. Working with our Diversity Network, you will be encouraged to develop emotionally-considerate design solutions to address diversity of age, skin tone, size, height and gender through innovation in all aspects of design research and process.

Innovation is core to our programme. We nurture individuality by asking you to challenge standard research, design and manufacturing methods. Freedom of expression is of paramount importance.

Consideration of new technologies combines with an understanding of traditional processes to encourage visionary design outcomes. You will think about how this can positively impact the industry.

Supported by experienced tutors, who are all industry practitioners and researchers, you are encouraged to create interdisciplinary collaborations. We expect you to be independent yet able to engage in sophisticated design dialogue to push ideas to their potential.

In Year 1, you will be encouraged to be highly experimental, analysing a diverse spectrum of research archives in addition to creating your own innovative retrospective fashion archives.

You will be asked to consider the ergonomics of the body, exploring the functional aspects of your ideas on real people. This frees you from standard fashion design constraints by not focusing on commercial contexts, allowing innovation and creativity to evolve.

At the end of the year you will create a small design preview showcase for our prestigious end of year fashion show (currently at the National Museum of Scotland).

In Year 2 you will refine your vision to a full collection presentation, paying close consideration to identifying a real-world context for your design work. You will be highly autonomous and independent, directing your own time management for your collection design and manufacture.

As one of the top institutions in the UK for the study of fashion, our graduates are highly regarded by the industry.

Alumni destinations, to name but a few, include:

  • Gucci
  • Balenciaga
  • H&M
  • Burberry
  • Cerruti
  • Alexander McQueen
  • Nicole Fahri
  • Stella McCartney
  • Joseph

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in fashion design.

You must submit a portfolio of fashion design projects as part of your application. Your portfolio should showcase:

  • a high degree of contemporary thinking, creativity and originality
  • evidence of high quality and original research
  • examples of sketchbook/design process development
  • examples of prototyping process, including excellent ability in pattern cutting and garment manufacture and finishings
  • evidence of ability to produce fashion collections, accessories and styling through full realisation of final garments

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.*

(*Revised 10 December 2019 to remove the requirement for a written statement).

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

You must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies, regardless of your nationality or country of residence.

English language tests

For 2020 entry we accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements

  • PTE Academic: 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

For 2021 entry we will accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified*:

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition): total 100 (at least 20 in each module). We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 in each module)

  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components

*(Revised 21 February 2020 to remove PTE Academic from 2021 entry requirements. Revised 21 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition in 2020 and 2021 entry requirements.)

Your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the programme you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, PTE Academic or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

Degrees taught and assessed in English

We also accept an undergraduate or postgraduate degree that has been taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country, as defined by UK Visas and Immigration:

We also accept a degree that has been taught and assessed in English from a university on our list of approved universities in non-majority English speaking countries.

If you are not a national of a majority English speaking country, then your degree must be no more than three and a half years old at the beginning of your programme of study.

Find out more about our language requirements:

Read our general information on tuition fees and studying costs:

Featured funding

UK government postgraduate loans

If you live in the UK, you may be able to apply for a postgraduate loan from one of the UK’s governments. The type and amount of financial support you are eligible for will depend on your programme, the duration of your studies, and your residency status. (Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.)

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

Due to high demand, the school operates a number of selection deadlines. We will make a small number of offers to the most outstanding candidates on an ongoing basis, but hold the majority of applications until the next published selection deadline when we will offer a proportion of the places available to applicants selected through a competitive process.

Deadlines for applicants applying to study in 2020/21 are shown below.

Round Application deadline Places awarded by
1 06 December 2019 31 January 2020
2 15 January 2020 04 March 2020
3 14 February 2020 03 April 2020
4 18 March 2020 29 April 2020
5 30 April 2020 11 June 2020
6 12 June 2020 17 July 2020

*(Revised 30 October to include application deadline information.)

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

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU