Postgraduate study

Graphic Design Master of Fine Art, MA (eca)

Awards: Master of Fine Art, MA (eca)

Study modes: Full-time

Funding opportunities

Programme website: Graphic Design

This programme’s curriculum is student-led with an emphasis on independent learning. With tutorial guidance, you will negotiate and develop a programme of study based on personal areas of research and practice, beside set projects to support and inform your line of enquiry. You will initially focus on the research and development of a study proposal.

With support from our dynamic team of experienced tutors (all industry practitioners or researchers) you will be encouraged to expand on your preconceived ideas and let your findings dictate future development. We expect you to engage in sophisticated design dialogue to push your ideas to their full potential. There will be a lot of debate and prototyping before any designs are taken into production.

The written context of the programme helps amplify and contextualise your understanding of process and this wider awareness of design feeds back into your practice-based work. You will produce written contextual assignments alongside studio-based work.

We are committed to providing you with enhanced career prospects and the ability to achieve at the highest level. Our graduates are professionally vital and well-informed, and are able to enter the design industry with a freshness of approach and the flexibility and adaptability to respond to change. A contributory factor in this is the programme’s Design Agency project, which won the employability initiative category in the Guardian University Awards 2013. This flagship initiative enables our graphic design students to form their own design agencies, creating their own brand and working collectively towards a common objective based on ability, regardless of age or experience. Edinburgh-based design agencies act as mentor partners to these student agencies, developing long-term relationships that allow our students to show, over an extended period rather than just a few weeks on placement, what they can contribute to potential employers.

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
Master of Fine ArtGraphic Design21 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20
MA (eca)Graphic Design1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2019/20

Our graduates work in a wide range of creative career paths. The variety of projects, approaches and opportunities we offer enable you to apply your knowledge and experience of the design process and your considerable skills to many disciplines. Typically though our graduates leave to become members of a graphic design agency. Our extensive links with industry, built through industry-led projects and staff research, and our range of visiting speakers, ensures you will be aware of the full range of career possibilities and have a strong footing from which to develop your career. Previous career paths have included experiential design, packaging, advertising, digital design, interaction design, exhibition design, design research, marketing, retail design, exhibition design, multimedia, design management, and education.

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

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should show your creativity and particularly your ideas: focus on the thinking behind your work rather than technique and show development as well as finished pieces. You should include a short description of the idea and context of the work you are presenting.

Your portfolio should:

  • display a high standard of conceptual awareness and development
  • reflect a clear ability to think laterally
  • clearly present your research methods and routes, and show the development of ideas
  • include evidence of your working process, from project inception to resolution, demonstrating experiments and explorations
  • demonstrate original and professionally resolved work
  • include high-quality images of completed work across appropriate and varied platforms

If you do not meet the academic entry requirements, we may still consider your application on the basis of your portfolio and/or relevant professional experience.

*Revised 16 October 2018 to expand on guidance for portfolio.

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 6.0 in each module)

  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)

  • PTE Academic: total 67 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)

  • CAE and CPE: total 185 (at least 169 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.*

(*Revised 08/11/2018 to provide more accurate information on English language qualifications expiry dates. Revised 09/05/2019 to provide more accurate/comprehensive information.)

Find out more about our language requirements:

AwardTitleDurationStudy mode
Master of Fine ArtGraphic Design21 MonthsFull-timeTuition fees
MA (eca)Graphic Design1 YearFull-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:

  • 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 one reference with your application.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. You won't be able to submit your portfolio immediately, but you'll receive an email prompt within a few days of submitting your application that will explain how to upload your portfolio.

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