Postgraduate study

Art PhD, MPhil

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Art

At the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) School of Art 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 the fields of art, design, music, architecture, landscape architecture and history of art.

Research in this environment is further informed by collaborative exchanges with other areas in the University’s College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences, as well as the wider University (such as the School of Informatics in the College of Science & Engineering).

Our current areas of expertise include:

  • Art
  • Critical and experimental writing
  • Art education
  • Artist-run initiatives and DIY culture
  • Art and anthropology
  • Contemporary art theory and practice
  • Cultural landscapes
  • Drawing
  • Expanded painting
  • Independent and self-publishing
  • Intermedia art
  • Moving image
  • Printmaking
  • Painting
  • Photography
  • Psychophysical sound creation
  • Public art
  • Sculpture
  • Sound
  • Video art
  • Visual and material cultures

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 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 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 is complemented by the University's extensive range of student support facilities, its libraries, student societies, and student accommodation.

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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

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

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

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

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • 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

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:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDArt3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDArt6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MPhilArt2 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
MPhilArt4 YearsPart-timeTuition fees

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:

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, West Port
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE

We operate a gathered field approach to PhD/MPhil applications. This means that all complete applications which meet our minimum entry requirements will be held until the nearest deadline at which point the Admissions Panel will meet to consider all applications received. Following this, interviews with shortlisted applicants will be held after the outcome notifications of the first rounds have been issued.

Round Application deadline Places awarded
1 25 November 2019 mid-January 2020
2 27 January 2020 mid-March 2020
3 30 March 2020 mid-May 2020

First deadline: 25 November 2019. If you are planning to apply for funding opportunities, such as the Scottish Graduate School for the Arts and Humanities (SGSAH) AHRC DTP2 Studentship scheme, you should apply in this round. Shortlisted applications received by this date will be called for an interview, in person or via teleconferencing mean and outcome notifications will be issued by mid-January 2020.

Second deadline: 27 January 2020. This is the second deadline for applications. If you are planning to apply for funding opportunities, such as School of Art, Edinburgh College of Art or University of Edinburgh scholarship schemes, you should apply in this round. Shortlisted applications received by this date will be called for an interview, in person or via teleconferencing mean and outcome notifications will be issued by mid-March 2020.

Third deadline: 30 March 2020. This is the third and final deadline for applications. If you are coming with alternative funding you can apply in this round as well as in the two previous rounds mentioned above. Shortlisted applications received by this date will be called for an interview, in person or via teleconferencing mean and outcome notifications will be issued by mid-May 2020.

*(Revised 2 December 2019 to include application deadline information.)

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 Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, West Port
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE