Undergraduate study - 2021 entry

MA Architectural History and Heritage

UCAS code: VV31

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA Architectural History and Heritage

Architecture offers the capacity to explore wider social, cultural, and political themes. This undergraduate programme in Architectural History and Heritage is rooted in this potential and places the history of architecture, fine art, and heritage management within the context of urbanism and the cultural history of cities.

Teaching takes place through lectures, tutorials, practical demonstrations, site visits and field research. These draw on the extraordinarily rich urban context of Edinburgh itself, as well as the architectural heritage of Europe and beyond. With its unique concentration of professional architectural historians, Edinburgh offers an unrivalled breadth of study in the historic built environment.

Our staff specialise in topics ranging from ancient and medieval, through the early and late modern periods, to the twentieth century, including expertise in heritage theory and conservation practice. Our programme engages with the latest research in all these areas.

Year 1

The programme begins with a Year 1 introductory course covering the development of the built environment from earliest times to the present. You will also take relevant options in history, archaeology, and history of art, or any other course in the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences that suits your programme and timetable.

Year 2

The programme builds up in Year 2 by broadening out to consider the city as a social and cultural phenomenon. In this year you will also take a course dealing specifically with techniques and practices concerning heritage management and conservation.

As in Year 1 you will have further opportunities to take option courses from across Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and the wider College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences.

Year 3

You will study Texts & Theories in Western Architecture and have the opportunity to deepen your study of the built environment by taking a number of specialist option courses in the history of architecture, ranging from the Medieval period, through the early and late modern periods, into the twentieth century.

In this year you will also undertake a specialist building archaeology course that will teach historic building identification and recording techniques, as well as translation and analysis of this data in digital format. In addition, you will undertake a work placement where you will gain first-hand experience of conservation in practice.

Year 4

Specialist honours courses are chosen on the same basis as Year 3. You will also complete a major supervised research dissertation on a topic of your choosing.

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


Placements comprise a core component of the programme in Years 3 and 4. This usually entails attachment to a local heritage-based organisation where experience can be gained in assessing and studying methods and strategies for managing the historic built environment.

Study abroad

Study abroad options are available. The programme has a dedicated exchange opportunity with architectural history at the University of Virginia in the United States, which is available to students in Year 3.

Further exchange opportunities are organised in conjunction with the Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) Exchanges Coordinator and vary according to timing and location.

European trips

The Ben Pentreath Fund allows for an annual programme trip to a major European capital for students in Years 3 and 4, providing an unrivalled opportunity to study and discuss major works of architecture in context.

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Courses are taught through a combination of lectures, seminars, projects, study trips and practical experience.

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by a combination of coursework, exams and presentations. There is a dissertation submission in Year 4.

Graduates can have careers in conservation, land management, heritage or historical consultancy, and education.

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: ABBB by end of S5 or AABB/ABBBB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6.
  • A Levels: ABB.
  • IB: 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.
  • A Levels: no specific A Level subjects required. GCSEs: English at C or 4.
  • IB: HL: no specific subjects required. SL: English at 5.

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.)

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 MA Architectural History and Heritage

Additional costs



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