Postgraduate study

Modern and Contemporary Art: History, Curating and Criticism MSc

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding opportunities

This programme will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the history and theory of modern and contemporary art, and prepare you for further research and/or a range of careers in the art world. The programme focuses on academic study and you can also opt for a cultural sector internship in or near Edinburgh.

There are two compulsory courses, Research, Theories and Methods (Semester 1) and Cultures and Politics of Display (Semester 2), and a selection of option courses that address contemporary art theory and attend to the complexities of modern art.

An external Fellow in Contemporary Art Theory and Curating, a leading voice in the field, shares his/her experience with students as part of the Semester 2 core unit classes in March. Your work culminates in a dissertation of around 15,000 words. Extracurricular research seminars will introduce you to emergent trends and world-class researchers.

The programme is delivered through a mix of large and small group teaching, individual tutorials and supervision, while research seminars enhance the student experience. You will be taught by research-active staff, including leading experts in their fields. You are also expected to undertake independent study and research. Formal assessment is by means of academic essays, a dissertation, and project work where appropriate. The optional internship involves learning in a work environment.

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
MScModern and Contemporary Art: History, Curating, Criticism1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MScModern and Contemporary Art: History, Curating, Criticism2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Students will acquire knowledge and understanding of the field of modern and contemporary art, as well as transferable research skills. The possibility of an internship in a museum, gallery or comparable work environment can provide hands-on experience.

The comprehensive nature of this programme, including its specialised option courses, will equip you for a confident start in a range of art-world and related work contexts and will be invaluable if you are interested in an academic or curatorial career.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in a relevant subject.

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 6.5 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 61 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 176 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
MScModern and Contemporary Art: History, Curating, Criticism1 YearFull-timeTuition fees
MScModern and Contemporary Art: History, Curating, Criticism2 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:

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU

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 one reference with your application.

Your application's personal statement should answer the following questions:

  • How have your first degree and work experience prepared you for post-graduate study in the discipline of art history?
  • Where do your specific interests lie within this broad field?

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

Further information

  • Postgraduate Admissions Office
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
  • 57 George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JU