Postgraduate study

Collections and Curating Practices MScR

Awards: MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

The dual focus of this distinctive programme will enable you to pursue research-focused study while developing a rigorous understanding of current debates and practices in the field of curatorship.

Delivered in partnership with flagship cultural institutions, this programme directly responds to a growing need for graduates able to work at the interface of academic research and the curatorial profession. It offers a rigorous framework for intellectual development and innovation, combining supervised independent research with seminar teaching and unique opportunities for live project delivery.

You will gain critical, analytical, interpretative and other research skills that are transferable to further academic research, to curatorial settings and to other careers.

Collections and Curating Practices is devised and delivered in cooperation with:

  • National Museums Scotland

  • National Library of Scotland

  • National Galleries of Scotland

  • Talbot Rice Gallery

  • Fruitmarket Gallery

  • University of Edinburgh Special Collections

Core courses

Two interlocking compulsory courses underpin the programme:

  • Collections: Theories, Practices and Methods

Specialists drawn from across the University and partner organisations deliver theoretical and practical sessions relating to curatorship.

  • Guided Research Placement

This course offers a unique opportunity for you to work with a small group to devise and deliver a substantial project for one of our partner institutions. Though you will be given a high degree of autonomy, seminars and assignments will provide a supportive framework to help guide your development.

Option courses

You can then choose to undertake either two postgraduate option courses that complement your research interests, or an independent research essay with the support of your supervisor.


A 15,000 word dissertation is completed over the summer months.

Find out more about compulsory and optional courses

We link to the latest information available. Please note that this may be for a previous academic year and should be considered indicative.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRCollections and Curating Practices1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2023/24
MScRCollections and Curating Practices2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2023/24

You will be assigned a research supervisor at the outset of your degree.

The Collections: Theories Practices and Methods course offers tuition in a range of skills from object handling and collections management processes to exhibition making. The Guided Research Placement course includes training in project and budget management as well as presentation skills.

Career development opportunities are built into the syllabus.

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, Edinburgh College of Art has a wide range of studios and workshop spaces, libraries and collections, places to socialise, perform and show work; all within walking distance of world-class museums, music venues and galleries.

Our facilities range from the historic, to contemporary, specialist spaces for making work at all scales, in and across all media. In this directory, you’ll find details of our own facilities, and selected places in the city to be inspired, research, collaborate or gain work experience.

This degree will prepare you to establish or focus your career in the creative, cultural and heritage industries. You will also be equipped to undertake further postgraduate research, such as a PhD.

These entry requirements are for the 2023/24 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2024/25 academic year will be published on 2 October 2023.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in any area of arts (e.g. fine art, digital arts, art, visual culture), or humanities (e.g. art history, cultural geography, literature, archaeology, cultural studies), or social sciences (e.g. social anthropology, sociology), or history of science, or a related field.

You should also have professional or internship experience in museums, galleries or other cultural organisations. You will be able to demonstrate aptitude for conducting research at a level beyond that expected in a taught masters degree, and will also be able to demonstrate willingness to work as part of team in a professional context.

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 6.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 100 with at least 23 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 176 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 with at least 62 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.

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 (non-MESC).

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:

Additional costs may include the travel fare to the site of local cultural institutions for training or seminars.

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
MScRCollections and Curating Practices1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScRCollections and Curating Practices2 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:

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE
Programme start date Application deadline
11 September 2023 1 August 2023

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.

Your application should include three components as outlined below.

1. Research Proposal (500 words)

Outline the area in which you would like to work and identify up to five research questions that might guide your enquiry. Use this section to demonstrate your existing knowledge of the field and the context of your future work. You can also discuss the methods that you will apply and, if relevant, the primary source research that you wish to undertake. We will use this information to assign supervisors.

NB: this is a provisional proposal and we anticipate that it will change and develop over the course of your studies.

2. Bibliography

Provide a brief bibliography of relevant scholarly literature and other key research resources.

3. Statements

In the ‘Personal Statement’ section of the application tell us why you feel you are qualified to enter the programme and how you think it may affect your career prospects. How has your first degree prepared you for this programme? What has led you to specialise in your chosen area?

In the ‘Relevant Knowledge/Training Skills’ section tell us about your relevant professional experience to date (this might include paid roles as well as internships). Describe your skills and highlight any curatorial, project management and critical thinking experience you may have gained previously.

Your statements must demonstrate an awareness of the potential for engagement with Edinburgh’s collections and considerable research resources.

Please ensure that your application clearly addresses the criteria. Writing and presentation must be of the highest standard. Ensure that you do not write more than the specified word limit. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the ECA postgraduate office or the Programme Director.

Applicants are advised to contact the ECA Postgraduate Office if they have any queries relating to research degrees prior to application.

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, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE