Postgraduate study

Modern & Contemporary Art: History, Curating & Criticism

Awards: MSc

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

The programme will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the history and theory of modern and contemporary art, and prepare you for a range of careers in the art world as well as for advanced academic research.

The MSc combines two learning approaches:

  1. Academic study, including compulsory courses covering Research, Theories & Methods, Cultures & Politics of Display, option courses on critical subjects, a dissertation and research seminars with external speakers.
  2. More practical, vocational elements - appropriate to studying in a major international art centre.

As part of your programme of study, you can opt for a competitive art-sector internship, and also benefit from discussions with a leading art sector professional appointed annually (in March) as Fellow in Contemporary Art Theory and Curating. For 2018-19 this will be Charles Esche, Director of Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven.

There is a mixture of group teaching, individual tutorials and supervision, and research seminars. 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 by direct practical experience. The MSc is offered full-time or part-time.

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 2018/19
MScModern and Contemporary Art: History, Curating, Criticism2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

Students will acquire knowledge and understanding in the field of modern and contemporary art, as well as transferable research skills. The programme offers the possibility of an internship in a museum or gallery.

The comprehensive nature of this programme, including the specialised courses it offers, will equip you for further research in this fascinating field, and perhaps an academic or curatorial career. In helping you gain vocational skills, experience and contacts, the optional internship can open doors to a career in a museum, gallery or other cultural institution.

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

All applicants must have one of the following qualifications as evidence of their English language ability:

  • an undergraduate or masters degree, that was taught and assessed in English in a majority English speaking country as defined by UK Visas and Immigration

  • IELTS: total 7.0 (at least 6.5 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 23 in each module)
  • PTE(A): 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

Degrees taught and assessed in English must be no more than three years old at the beginning of your degree programme. Language tests must be no more than two years old at the beginning of your degree programme.

Find out more about our language requirements:

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX

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. We may consider late applications if we have places available, but you should contact the relevant Admissions Office for advice first.

You must submit a 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

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX