Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

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).

All students are admitted to the MA (Hons) Architecture programme. At the end of Year 2 you will have a choice of pathways enabling accelerated progress or development of broader academic interests, either our three-year BA Architecture or our four-year MA (Hons) Architecture, including a variant of the MA (Hons) with an exchange study period abroad (full-year of single-semester).

The character of both programmes is shaped by the educational, research and practice expertise of its committed staff. Students are part of a broad creative community of artists and scholars, including design tutors with practice and specialist expertise, supported by world-class workshops and technical facilities.

Models of design thinking and working grow directly out of operating within the unique, fine-grained, stratigraphic context of a place of outstanding architectural interest and a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The programmes are carefully structured to foster in you a breadth of understanding of architecture as part of culture and society, 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, and offer graduates exemption from this stage of their professional qualification.

Year 1

In Year 1, you will learn about the principles of architectural design. You will 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 and architectural history.

You will study with landscape architecture and structural engineering with architecture students on some courses.

Year 2

Year 2 works towards integrating your developing design skills in more complex and rewarding urban contexts with more ambitious building programme briefs. It includes a field trip to a European city where design projects are situated.

You will continue to apply your knowledge of technology and environment to your design work. 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.

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

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. A series of thematically directed design studio options enables you to consolidate a specific exploration and appropriate tectonic resolution at a deeper level, alongside courses in architectural theory, professional practice and Logistics and develop, curate and present an academic portfolio.

The MA (Hons) programme is a full honours programme with 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

In Year 4, following the period of integrated practice working, MA (Hons) students return to a humanities semester to complete a self-directed dissertation and choose an option from across the University. Option courses may follow a structured programme pathway in architectural histories or digital culture.

In semester 2 you will choose a further architectural design studio to complete an immersive design project, a course in logistics and 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 (2020/21)

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

The University is investing in the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA ) estate and facilities to further develop our flexible, stimulating, supportive and sustainable learning and research environment for students and staff.

Further information is available 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

There are options for working and studying 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?

Architecture courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, studio-based projects and iterative design teaching, field trips, critical reviews and practical experience.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of coursework, exams, portfolio work and presentations. There is a dissertation submission in Year 4 of the MA (Hons).

Programme details

Find out more about this programme's aims, what you will learn, how you will be assessed and what skills and knowledge you will develop.

To give you an idea of what to expect from 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 details (2020/21)

Architecture students gain excellent skills in design, spatial awareness, problem-solving and project-based production, which combine into a strong and adaptable skill set.

The BA and MA (Hons) Architecture programmes both offer routes into the architecture profession and our graduates typically continue their studies to qualify as architects working in a wide range of established and emerging contexts, including private practice, local and national government, or large commercial organisations both here in the UK and overseas.

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: 43 points with 776 at HL - 39 points with 666 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

*(Revised 27 April 2020 to include TOEFL-iBT Special Home Edition.)

As this degree is very popular, we strongly recommend that international students apply by 15 January 2021 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, which will include drawing and modelling equipment and possibly a laptop. In addition, you will incur annual expenditure on printing, drawing and model making materials of around £300.

Field trips and excursions are undertaken as part of the programme. In Year 2, you will visit a European city on a trip that is self-funded by students.

If accepted for entry, you will be sent a letter outlining estimated costs for the forthcoming 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