Postgraduate study

Architectural History PhD, MPhil

Awards: PhD, MPhil

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

This programme is intended for students who seek professional training in the history and theory of architecture.

It offers the historiographical perspective and methodological tools required for advancing architectural history through a substantive work of scholarship. You will benefit from the environment of rigorous intellectual exchange supported by:

  • an extensive network of architectural history staff
  • a rich programme of architectural history lectures and workshops
  • a dynamic atmosphere of student research leadership

Through a combination of supervised original research and thesis writing with optional internships and other professional opportunities, you will:

  • gain a deep knowledge of architectural history as a field
  • develop a spectrum of investigative and rhetorical skills
  • mature as a scholar and thinker within an exceptional community of architectural inquiry—one of Britain’s largest and most broad-ranging centres for the study of architectural history

This programme comprises three years of full-time research supervision under an expert in your chosen subfield of architectural history, followed by an 80,000-100,000-word supervised dissertation.

You will be strongly encouraged to attend advanced courses in Methods of Architectural Research and Historiography. You will also have the opportunity to gain invaluable teaching experience as a tutor in survey courses.

In consultation with your supervisor, you will:

  • situate your project as a productive addition to the practice of architectural history
  • craft a feasible plan for domestic and/or international research
  • enjoy intensive writing coaching as well as the chance to present your findings
  • receive targeted feedback at every stage of your project’s development
  • receive support in applying for fellowships and guidance on career paths open to you after graduation

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


All of our research students benefit from Edinburgh College of Art's (ECA) interdisciplinary approach and all are matched with 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 involved, particularly where the degree brings together multiple disciplines.

To find out more about identifying prospective supervisors, please consult “Before You Apply” on the PhD in Architectural History ECA web page:

Research Training

You are required to take a course (or courses) in research training during your degree at the University.

This may take the form of a semester-long course offered within ECA at the University, consisting of workshops on research methodologies designed for students working in art, architecture, and allied disciplines.

However, we encourage PhD candidates in Architectural History to take courses in Methods of Architectural Research and Historiography.

Alternatively, you 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.

  • [ECA]: Edinburgh College of Art

The research programme in Architectural History is served by high-quality library facilities. All students in the programme are provided with 24-hour-accessible study space, as well as access to well-equipped multimedia laboratories, photography and exhibition facilities.

The PhD in Architectural History will equip you for several career paths, including:

  • academia
  • museums
  • industries that document and interpret the built environment
  • media
  • the public sector

All PhD supervisors are committed to offering guidance on professional opportunities that follow graduation from the programme.

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
  • 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 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.

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.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 185 with at least 169 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE III with passes in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 70 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.

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:

Tuition fees

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
PhDArchitectural History3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDArchitectural History6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
PhDArchitectural History by Distance3 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
PhDArchitectural History by Distance6 YearsPart-timeTuition fees
MPhilArchitectural History2 YearsFull-timeTuition fees
MPhilArchitectural History4 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
  • Room 3.12, Evolution House
  • 78 West Port
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE
Programme start date Application deadline
8 January 2024 1 November 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.

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

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • Room 3.12, Evolution House
  • 78 West Port
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE