Postgraduate study

Illustration

Awards: Master of Fine Art, MA (eca)

Study modes: Full-time

Funding available

Programme website: Illustration

Postgraduate study in illustration reflects the diversity of the subject and the opportunities that exist in areas such as publishing, advertising, graphic and web design, theatre, television, art galleries and museums. We welcome applicants with a variety of approaches to Illustration, from both academic and professional perspectives.

You will be encouraged to explore a range of methods with support from highly accomplished and respected staff, all of whom have understanding and expertise in the art of illustration.

Facilities include excellent individual working spaces with access to a drawing studio and extensive printmaking resources. There are life drawing classes, workshops and field trips. You will also have the chance to study bookbinding, book arts, digital technologies and web publishing.

The programme also includes working with writers, designers and publishers in collaboration and in live briefs. Many of our postgraduates have seen their work published and there are a small number of set projects, which evolve from year to year to reflect contemporary developments in Illustration. For example, students have made work for the Royal Botanical Gardens, Edinburgh Filmhouse and the ECA Bookmarks symposium.

You will be encouraged to take part in national and international competitions, with the aim of joining the ranks of those who have exhibited and won prizes in prestigious events, such as the V&A Student Illustration Awards, Folio Society, Penguin Book Awards, 3x3 and Image Nation.

This programme offers an excellent opportunity for independent, focused study. MA students produce a body of practical and written work on an agreed topic. MFA students produce an extended range of work, appropriate to the length of the course. Self-directed projects are connected to a number of set projects, workshops and collaborations throughout the academic year.

Your studies will combine practical studio work with theoretical and written studies, including professional practice elements in preparation for employment in the industry. There is a lecture/seminar series that will examine the wider context of your studies, presented by contemporary illustrators, designers and artists.

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 ArtIllustration21 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2017/18
MA (eca)Illustration1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2017/18

Graduates explore an exciting and diverse range of careers, including working as picture book illustrators, designers, freelance illustrators, artists and craftsmen, or in leading agencies.

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in illustration or a related subject that gives appropriate grounding for postgraduate study. You should demonstrate knowledge of the subject and its contemporary practice.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should contain examples of work that show an understanding and level of skill appropriate to the postgraduate study of illustration, including:

  • observational drawing
  • colour, line, composition
  • idea development
  • awareness of narrative image-making and sequential image-making
  • awareness of print and applications of digital media
  • awareness of the professional practice and the cultural context of┬áhistorical and contemporary Illustration

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.

International qualifications

Check whether your international qualifications meet our general entry requirements:

English language requirements

For 2018/19 entry, 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 6.5 (at least 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 92 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): total 61 (at least 56 in each of the "Communicative Skills" sections)
  • CAE and CPE: total 176 (at least 169 in each module)
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components

For 2019/20 entry, 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 6.0 in each module)
  • TOEFL-iBT: total 100 (at least 20 in each module)
  • PTE(A): 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

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:

  • Programme Director, Jonathan Gibbs
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5732
  • Email: j.gibbs@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science 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.

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

  • Programme Director, Jonathan Gibbs
  • Phone: +44 (0)131 651 5732
  • Email: j.gibbs@ed.ac.uk
  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
  • College of Arts, Humanities and Social Science Postgraduate Office, The University of Edinburgh
  • David Hume Tower, George Square
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH8 9JX