Postgraduate study

Collections & Curating Practices

Awards: MScR

Study modes: Full-time, Part-time

Funding available

The dual focus of this distinctive programme will enable you to pursue research-focused study while developing a rigorous understanding of current debates and practices in the field of curatorship.

Delivered in partnership with flagship cultural institutions, this programme directly responds to a growing need for graduates able to work at the interface of academic research and the curatorial profession. It offers a rigorous framework for intellectual development and innovation, combining supervised independent research with seminar teaching and unique opportunities for live project delivery.

You will gain critical, analytical, interpretative and other research skills that are transferable to further academic research, to curatorial settings and to other careers.

Collections and Curating Practices is devised and delivered in cooperation with National Museums Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, Talbot Rice Gallery, The Fruitmarket Gallery, and the University of Edinburgh’s own Special Collections.

The compulsory course element will examine the theories and methods of collecting and curatorship.

Two intensive one-day workshops will offer introductory training in the practical aspects of curatorship and collections management from object handling and transportation issues to accreditation processes.

Career development opportunities are built into the syllabus including advice days and a bespoke mentoring programme.

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
MScRCollections and Curating Practices1 YearFull-timeProgramme structure 2017/18
MScRCollections and Curating Practices2 YearsPart-timeProgramme structure 2017/18

You will be assigned a research supervisor at the outset of your degree with secondary supervisory support for the dissertation component drawn from ECA, the University or from a member of staff in one of the external partner organisations.

The core course will examine the theories and methods of collecting and curatorship. Two intensive one-day workshops will offer introductory training in the practical aspects of curatorship and collections management from object handling and transportation issues to accreditation processes.

Career development opportunities are built into the syllabus including advice days and a bespoke mentoring programme.

Situated in the heart of Edinburgh's Old Town, Edinburgh College of Art has a wide range of studios and workshop spaces, libraries and collections, places to socialise, perform and show work; all within walking distance of world-class museums, music venues and galleries.

Our facilities range from the historic, to contemporary, specialist spaces for making work at all scales, in and across all media. In this directory, you’ll find details of our own facilities, and selected places in the city to be inspired, research, collaborate or gain work experience.

A UK 2:1 honours degree, or its international equivalent, in any area of arts (e.g. fine art, digital arts, art, visual culture), or humanities (e.g. art history, cultural geography, literature, archaeology, cultural studies), or social sciences (e.g. social anthropology, sociology), or history of science, or a related field.

You should also have professional or internship experience in museums, galleries or other cultural organisations. You will be able to demonstrate aptitude for conducting research at a level beyond that expected in a taught masters degree, and will also be able to demonstrate willingness to work as part of team in a professional context.

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 Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE

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 two references with your application.

Your application should include three components as outlined below.

1. Research Proposal (500 words)

Outline the area in which you would like to work and identify up to five research questions that might guide your enquiry. Use this section to demonstrate your existing knowledge of the field and the context of your future work. You can also discuss the methods that you will apply and, if relevant, the primary source research that you wish to undertake. We will use this information to assign supervisors.

NB: this is a provisional proposal and we anticipate that it will change and develop over the course of your studies.

2. Bibliography

Provide a brief bibliography of relevant scholarly literature and other key research resources.

3. Statements

In the ‘Personal Statement’ section of the application tell us why you feel you are qualified to enter the programme and how you think it may affect your career prospects. How has your first degree prepared you for this programme? What has led you to specialise in your chosen area?

In the ‘Relevant Knowledge/Training Skills’ section tell us about your relevant professional experience to date (this might include paid roles as well as internships). Describe your skills and highlight any curatorial, project management and critical thinking experience you may have gained previously.

Your statements must demonstrate an awareness of the potential for engagement with Edinburgh’s collections and considerable research resources.

Please ensure that your application clearly addresses the criteria. Writing and presentation must be of the highest standard. Ensure that you do not write more than the specified word limit. If you have any questions, please get in touch with the ECA postgraduate office or the Programme Director.

Applicants are advised to contact the ECA Postgraduate Office ecaresearchdegrees@ed.ac.uk if they have any queries relating to research degrees prior to application.

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

Further information

  • Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Office
  • The University of Edinburgh
  • Evolution House, Grassmarket
  • Central Campus
  • Edinburgh
  • EH1 2LE