Postgraduate study

Architecture PhD, MPhil

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Architecture

Research is central to the study of architecture within the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA). It motivates our intellectual and creative activities and underpins our collaborations with a range of important international and UK-based institutions.

We actively promote interdisciplinary approaches to research in architecture. Our expertise and interests range across the following areas:

Architectural Conservation

Our focus includes:

  • conservation theory and history
  • urban conservation
  • conservation technology
  • the challenges of bridging heritage and new architecture

Architectural History, Theory and Criticism

We have particular strength in:

  • the history of architecture in Britain and the British colonial world (18th and 19th centuries)
  • Germany, Central Europe and Russia
  • modernism in Europe, North America and Africa
  • Renaissance Italy
  • the history of landscape
  • the history of technology
  • the international history of mass housing and urban development
  • the theory and philosophy of architecture
  • the philosophy of place
  • critical inquiry and methodology

Design-led Research and Studio Practice

We focus on:

  • research in and through design, as informed by contemporary architectural and cultural theory
  • studio pedagogy
  • research-led teaching
  • methodologies of urban research and fieldwork

Digital Media and Design

We have expertise in:

  • the spatial, social and philosophical implications of media
  • histories of design computing
  • the relationship between computers and design practice
  • cognitive models of human-computer interaction
  • 3D modelling
  • mobile computing
  • the sonic environment
  • e-commerce

Technology, Environment and Sustainability

We offer expertise in:

  • lightweight steel structures
  • the building envelope
  • concrete construction
  • design and manufacturing
  • sustainable design in both qualitative and quantitative senses, looking at environmental response, design theory, rural planning and user-centred solutions

Research supervisors

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.

Research culture

The research culture is supported by seminar and public lecture programmes, and discussion groups.

Research training

Students are required to take a course (or courses) in research training during their degree at the University. This may take the form of a semester-long course offered within the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) at the University, consisting of workshops on research methodologies designed for students working in art, architecture, and allied disciplines.

Alternatively, students may take a combination of the short postgraduate skills training courses offered by the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), or any other research methods training suggested by their supervisor.

Research programmes in architecture are served by high-quality library facilities. All students in the programmes are provided with 24-hour-accessible study space, as well as access to well-equipped multimedia laboratories, photography and exhibition facilities.

The PhD by Distance is available to suitably qualified applicants in all the same areas as our on-campus programmes: Art, Design, History of Art, Music, Architecture and Landscape Architecture.

The PhD by Distance allows students who do not wish to commit to basing themselves in Edinburgh to study for a PhD in an ECA subject area from their home country or city.

There is no expectation that students studying for an ECA PhD by Distance study mode should visit Edinburgh during their period of study. However, short term visits for particular activities could be considered on a case-by-case basis.

For further information on the PhD by Distance please see the ECA website

These entry requirements are for the 2022/23 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2023/24 academic year will be published on 3 October 2022.

Normally a UK masters degree, or its international equivalent. We will also take any professional experience into account.

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

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 Academic: total 7.0 with at least 6.0 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • CAE and CPE: total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with a pass in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: 70 overall with at least 59 in each component.

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, Trinity ISE or PTE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

(*Revised 17 November 2021 to add accepted PTE Academic qualifications.)

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
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PhD3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhD6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MPhil2 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
MPhil4 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
  • your tuition fee status

Programmes studied on a part-time intermittent basis are not eligible.

Other funding opportunities

Search for scholarships and funding opportunities:

  • Postgraduate Research Director, Architecture & Landscape Architecture, Dr Moa Carlsson
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5786
  • Contact: Moa.Carlsson@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE
Programme start dates Application deadlines
10 January 2022 1 December 2021
12 September 2022 1 August 2022
9 January 2023 1 December 2022

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.

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:

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

Further information

  • Postgraduate Research Director, Architecture & Landscape Architecture, Dr Moa Carlsson
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5786
  • Contact: Moa.Carlsson@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE