Postgraduate study
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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.

You should 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.

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.


You will complete a 15,000 word dissertation over the summer months.

You can study on this programme either full-time over one year or part-time for over two years.

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 2024/25
MScRCollections and Curating Practices2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2024/25

You will be assigned a research supervisor at the outset of your degree. On occasion, more than one supervisor will be assigned, particularly where your research brings together multiple disciplines. Your first/ lead supervisor would normally be based in the same subject area as your degree programme. If a second supervisor is needed, they may be from another discipline within ECA, or elsewhere within the University of Edinburgh, according to the expertise required.

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.

You are encouraged to attend courses at the Institute for Academic Development (IAD), where all staff and students at the University of Edinburgh are supported through a range of training opportunities

You will have access to study space (some of which are 24-hour access), studios and workshops at Edinburgh College of Art’s campus, as well as University wide resources. There are several bookable spaces for the development of exhibitions, workshops or seminars. You will also have access to well-equipped multimedia laboratories, photography and exhibition facilities, shared recording space, access to recording equipment available through Bookit the equipment loan booking system.

You will have access to high quality library facilities. Within the University of Edinburgh, there are three libraries:

  • Main Library
  • ECA library
  • Art and Architecture Library.

The Centre for Research Collections which holds the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections is also located in the Main Library.

The Talbot Rice Gallery is a public art gallery of the University of Edinburgh and part of Edinburgh College of Art, which is committed to exploring what the University of Edinburgh can contribute to contemporary art practice today and into the future. You will also have access to the extraordinary range and quality of exhibitions and events associated with a leading college of art situated within a world-class research-intensive university.

St Cecilia’s Hall, which is Scotland’s oldest purpose-built concert hall, also houses the Music Museum which holds one of the most important historic musical instrument collections anywhere in the world.

In addition to the University’s facilities you will also be able to access wider resources within the City of Edinburgh. These include:

  • National Library of Scotland
  • Scottish Studies Library and Digital Archives
  • City of Edinburgh Libraries
  • Historic Environment Scotland
  • the National Trust for Scotland.

You will also benefit from the University’s extensive range of student support facilities provided, including:

  • student societies
  • accommodation
  • wellbeing and support services

These entry requirements are for the 2024/25 academic year and requirements for future academic years may differ. Entry requirements for the 2025/26 academic year will be published on 1 Oct 2024.

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent in a related field. If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of relevant professional experience.

You must also submit a research proposal; see How to Apply section for guidance.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

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

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. We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • 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 five years old* at the beginning of your programme of study. (*Revised 05 March 2024 to extend degree validity to five years.)

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:

  • Postgraduate Research Director, Dr Maryam Ohadi-Hamadani
  • Contact:
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Research Team Student and Academic Support Service
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, 78 West Port
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE
Programme start date Application deadline
9 September 2024 1 July 2024

If you are applying for funding or will require a visa then we strongly recommend you apply as early as possible. All applications must be received by the deadlines listed above.

You must submit two references with your application.

One of your references must be an academic reference and preferably from your most recent studies.

You should submit a research proposal that outlines your project's aims, context, process and outcome. Read the application guidance before you apply:

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 Research Team or the Programme Director.

Applicants are advised to contact the ECA Postgraduate Research Team ( 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

  • Postgraduate Research Director, Dr Maryam Ohadi-Hamadani
  • Contact:
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Research Team Student and Academic Support Service
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, 78 West Port
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE