Postgraduate study

Contemporary Art Practice

Awards: Master of Fine Art, MA (eca)

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

Programme website: Contemporary Art Practice

The curriculum of this programme is under review for the 2018/19 academic year. Programme structure and course availability is subject to change.

This programme encourages practices that are speculative and reflective, supporting work in a range of media. It is concerned with ways of learning that are experiential – embodied through and understood by the acquisition of a practice.

During the late 20th century, developments within visual art introduced new processes and situations, which resulted in an expanded concept of artistic practice.

Media-related disciplines supported by the programme include sculpture, painting and printmaking, photography, audio-visual and new media. The programme also encompasses approaches to practice that are non media-specific, including intermedia, time-based arts, performance, installation, public art and art writing.

You may complete the MA in one year, or continue on to the MFA. You will have access to a designated studio space and a wide range of studio equipment, technicians and resources, including printmaking, metal, wood, casting, painting, photography, reprographic and digital facilities.

Our students often work in groups across subject areas in the School of Art and collaborate throughout the year on critical, creative and curatorial projects. This gives you a unique opportunity to integrate the fields of art practice, art writing and curating, culminating in an exhibition of your own work or in a research project of your own design.

We regularly organise field trips and offer short residency and project opportunities with our local and international partners.

The programme also involves the theoretical study of this family of media and approaches, drawing on related fields and methods.

Facilities

Students on this programme will benefit from studio-based learning in Edinburgh College of Art's (ECA) historic Lauriston Place campus, along with the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college. The art college experience will be complemented by the University's extensive range of student support facilities, its libraries, student societies, and student accommodation.

Our purpose-built studios are adaptable, serving both as working studios and project and exhibition spaces. Our workshops and foundry provide excellent accommodation for working in wood, metal, mould-making, casting and carving and there are facilities for working with sound, digital imaging and video editing.

The programme develops from a broad to a specialist understanding of the technical resources and validating contexts in which artists work today, drawing inspiration and nourishment from the experience of our international student cohort.

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 ArtContemporary Art Practice21 MonthsFull-timeProgramme structure 2018/19
MA (eca)Contemporary Art Practice1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2018/19
MA (eca)Contemporary Art Practice2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2018/19

This programme enables you to develop an ambitious art practice as well as providing you with the organisational and economic knowledge required to thrive as a self-employed artist. You will also be qualified to teach studio art in higher education and to work in the contemporary art sector.

Normally a UK 2:1 honours degree or its international equivalent.

You may be asked to participate in an interview via Skype.

You must submit a portfolio as part of your application. Your portfolio should be formatted as an A4-sized PDF document of no more than 10 pages and contain:

  • images of your work (the number is up to you, but we would advise that you do not put more than four images on an individual page)
  • accompanied image text detailing title, medium, date and where appropriate web link to any supplementary documentation of the referenced work (for instance a link to video work)
  • a short artist statement (no more than 250 words)
  • no more than five URL links to any sites that further detail or document your work

Your application and portfolio should demonstrate:

  • evidence of practical and theoretical knowledge of, and experimentation with, a variety of formal, aesthetic and conceptual approaches to the production, distribution and exhibition of contemporary art
  • evidence of practical or theoretical work that addresses key thematic areas in contemporary art and theoretical discourse
  • evidence of collaborative working practices, either in a capacity as an artist or working curatorially; evidence of independent working practices, as an artist or curator

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

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

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.

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.

The first panel for this programme will assess applications on 31 January 2017. Please complete and submit your application before this date if you would like to receive a decision at this time. All other applications will be assessed after 31 May 2017.

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