Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

BA/MA Architecture

UCAS code: K100

Duration: MA: 4 years; BA: 3 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing BA/MA Architecture

This programme is offered by the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA).

Study pathways

All students begin on the MA (Hons) Architecture programme.

At the end of Year 2 you will choose one of two pathways:

  • the three-year BA Architecture
  • the four-year MA (Hons) Architecture

The three-year option is good if you want to prioritise qualifying, or if you wish to develop your broader academic interests.

The four-year option means you qualify with an MA (Hons) degree. You can also choose a variant of this pathway that includes the option to study abroad.

Why Edinburgh

Both pathways are shaped by the educational, research and practice expertise of our committed staff.

You will join a broad creative community of artists and scholars. This includes design tutors with practice and specialist expertise. Your learning is supported by world-class workshops and technical facilities.

Edinburgh is a place of outstanding architectural interest and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. Models of design thinking and working grow directly out of operating within this unique context.

The programmes are carefully structured to give you a breadth of understanding of architecture as part of culture and society.

Your studies will be informed by the contemporary conversations taking place not only in architecture, but in landscape, construction, urbanism, economics, politics and ethical practice.


Our three-year BA Architecture and our four-year MA (Hons) Architecture programme have Architects Registration Board (ARB)/Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Prescription/Accreditation at Part 1. Both offer graduates exemption from this stage of their professional qualification.

Year 1

In Year 1, you will:

  • learn about the principles of architectural design
  • work on projects that look at architectural elements and assembly in different contexts

At the same time, you will be taught the fundamentals of:

  • technology and environment
  • art and design practice
  • architectural history

In some courses, you will study with students from landscape architecture and structural engineering.

Year 2

Year 2 you will:

  • begin to integrate your developing design skills in more complex and rewarding urban contexts
  • work with more ambitious building programme briefs
  • take a field trip to a European city where design projects are situated
  • continue to apply your knowledge of technology and environment to your design work

Option courses

You will also take an option course that allows you to broaden your learning in subjects across the University.

Option courses may follow a structured programme pathway in architectural histories or digital culture.

Choosing your pathway

At the end of Year 2, you can select whether you wish to take the three-year BA or four-year MA honours programme.

Year 3

Three-year pathway

The three-year BA route offers a direct route to ARB part 1.

Architects Registration Board: student information

You will study design and its cultural and technical contexts.

Studio options and portfolio

You will choose from a series of thematically directed studio options. These help you to consolidate a specific exploration and appropriate tectonic resolution at a deeper level.

You will study these studio options alongside courses in:

  • architectural theory
  • professional practice and logistics

You will also develop, curate and present an academic portfolio.

Four-year pathway

The MA (Hons) programme is a full honours programme. It includes an integrated practice working period where you study through distance learning as you gain professional experience.

In this year, you will be able to develop your own personal interests in architecture with a range of studio options within the design courses.

Year 4

This year MA (Hons) students return from the period of integrated practice working completed in Year 3.

First semester

You will study a humanities semester to complete a self-directed dissertation.

You will also choose an option course from across the University. Option courses may follow a structured programme pathway in architectural histories or digital culture.

Second semester

In semester 2 you will:

  • complete an immersive design project with another architectural design studio
  • take a course in logistics
  • develop, curate and present an academic portfolio

Programme structure

Find out more about the compulsory and optional courses in this degree programme.

To give you an idea of what you will study on this programme, we publish the latest available information. However, please note this may not be for your year of entry, but for a different academic year.

Programme structure (2021/22)

Our facilities

Teaching takes place across a range of facilities all located in the Central Area.

You have access to design studios, well-equipped workshops, computer labs and libraries.

Teaching on the Architectural History and Heritage programme takes place in lecture theatres and seminar rooms located in the Central Area, as well as during field trips.

Investing in our learning environment

The University is investing in the Edinburgh College of Art estate and facilities. This will further develop our supportive, stimulating and sustainable learning and research environment.

Find out more on the ECA website.

Facilities and resources at ECA


MA (Hons) Architecture includes a credited integrated practice work period in semester two of Year 3.

Study abroad

You will have options to work or study abroad in the honours years of our MA (Hons) programmes. The integrated practice working period in Architecture allows for work abroad.

We also offer international exchanges in Year 3.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through a mix of:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • studio-based projects
  • iterative design teaching
  • field trips
  • critical reviews
  • practical experience

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed using a combination of:

  • coursework
  • exams
  • portfolio work
  • presentations

If you choose the MA (Hons) pathway you will complete a dissertation in Year 4.

The BA and MA (Hons) Architecture programmes both offer routes into the architecture profession.

Our graduates typically continue their studies to qualify as architects working in a wide range of established and emerging contexts. These include:

  • private practice
  • local and national government
  • large commercial organisations in the UK and overseas

You will gain skills in:

  • design
  • spatial awareness
  • problem-solving
  • project-based production

These combine into a strong and adaptable skill set.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AAAAA-AAAA (achievement by end of S5 preferred). BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: AAA - ABB.
  • IB: 37 points with 666 at HL - 34 points with 655 at HL.

Minimum entry requirement

The minimum entry requirement for widening access applicants is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 34 points with 655 at HL.

More information for widening access applicants

Required subjects

The grades used to meet our entry requirements must include:

  • SQA: Highers: no specific Higher subjects required. National 5s: English at C. Either Mathematics at A or Mathematics and Physics, both at B. Evidence of artistic ability is normally required at either Higher or National 5 level.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4 and Mathematics at A or 7, or Mathematics and Physics both at B or 6, or Mathematics, Science plus Additional Science (or science double award) at B or 6. Evidence of artistic ability is normally required at either A Level or GCSE.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5 and either Mathematics at 6 or Mathematical Studies at 7. Evidence of artistic ability is normally required at either HL or SL, e.g. Visual Arts or Design Technology.

Find out more about entry requirements

International applicants

We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.

Entry requirements by country

International Foundation Programme

If you are an international student and your school qualifications are not accepted for direct entry to the University you may be eligible for admission to this degree programme through our International Foundation Programme.

International Foundation Programme

Mature applicants

We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of qualifications.

Mature applicant qualifications

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.


For SQA, GCSE and IB students, unless a higher level is specified in the stated entry requirements, a pass is required in English at the following grades or higher:

  • SQA National 5 at C
  • SQA Standard Grade at 3
  • SQA Intermediate 1 at A
  • SQA Intermediate 2 at C
  • GCSE/IGSCE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate Grade C
  • IB Standard Level at 5 (English ab initio is not accepted for entry)

English language tests

We accept the following English language qualifications at the grades specified:

  • IELTS Academic module overall 6.5 with 5.5 in each component.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Special Home Edition) 92 or above with 20 in each section. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • Cambridge English: Advanced or Proficiency overall 176 with 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with a distinction in all four components.

We also accept a wider range of international qualifications and tests.

English language qualifications must be no more than three and a half years old from the start date of the degree you are applying to study, unless you are using IELTS, TOEFL, or Trinity ISE, in which case it must be no more than two years old.

English language requirements

As this degree is very popular, we strongly recommend that international students apply by 15 January 2022 as we can't guarantee to consider all applications after this date.

This information is part of a government initiative to enhance the material that higher education institutions provide about their degree programmes.

It is one of many sources of information which will enable you to make an informed decision on what and where to study.

Please note that some programmes do not have Discover Uni data available.

Tuition Fees

Tuition fees for BA/MA Architecture

Additional costs

You will need to purchase course materials, including drawing and modelling equipment and possibly a laptop.

You will also need to cover the annual costs of printing, drawing and model making materials. This normally costs around £300 per year.

You will take field trips and excursions as part of the programme. In Year 2, you will visit a European city on a trip you will have to self fund.

If accepted for entry, we will send you a letter outlining estimated costs for the next academic year.


For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.

Fees and funding