Undergraduate study - 2022 entry
Open to the world

BA Art

UCAS code: W100

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing BA Art

Please select the UCAS code W100 if you wish to apply for entry into Year 1 in the School of Art.

This is a general year introducing you to different areas of art, including:

  • painting
  • photography
  • sculpture
  • intermedia

Choosing a specialist programme

At the end of Year 1 you will transfer to one of these specialist programmes:

The first year

We introduce you to studio practice, workshops and the types of teaching you will experience in your chosen specialist programme of study. For example, you'll learn:

  • what a project brief is for
  • what a crit is
  • how a seminar works
  • what to expect from a tutorial
  • what feedback is for and how you use it

We also introduce you to key visual culture texts, methods and methodologies of art theory and practice.


As the year progresses you have project options to enable you to specialise in the subject most appropriate to your work.

In semester two students make decisions about which programme they wish to study supported by feedback and advice from staff.

Studio work

One of the most distinctive aspects of your studies with us will be the studio. You will spend most of your time in dedicated studio spaces or workshops.

You need to spend time in these spaces, as the making of art is a time-based activity that requires a disciplined approach.

Working and learning in them will be different from your experience of lecture and seminar rooms.

Option courses

We have been at the forefront of introducing option courses, providing you with choices that permit a breadth and depth of subjects.

We recognise your desire to immerse yourself in your discipline. However, we believe your learning is enhanced if you are exposed to a wider range of methods and knowledge beyond the confines of the studio.

There are many optional course permutations available. You can choose a mix of art and other courses available across the wider College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.

Year 1

In Year 1 you will be introduced to the culture of studio and workshop practice.

We encourage an independent approach to making work supported by a structured timetable of:

  • tutorials
  • crits
  • lectures
  • seminars

Throughout Year 1 you will work with tutors to ascertain your strengths and preferences, and select which of the specialist BA (Hons) programmes you wish to pursue.

The choice of option courses in Year 1 comprises a total of 40 credits. This is normally made up of two 20-credit courses.

If you complete your Year 1 study to a satisfactory standard, you are guaranteed a place in your chosen Art specialism from Year 2 onwards.

Year 2

You will study your chosen art specialism.

Year 3

You will study your chosen art specialism.

Year 4

You will study your chosen art specialism.

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

At our Lauriston Place campus you will learn in purpose-built workshops and studios. These include facilities for:

  • intermedia
  • painting
  • photography
  • sculpture

You will also be able to access the exhibitions and events associated with a vibrant art college.

Some of your lectures and tutorials will take place in the George Square area.

You will have access to the University's libraries and computer facilities.

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

Study abroad

The School of Art offers exchange opportunities with partner institutions across the world. Exchanges usually take place in Year 3.

Studying abroad allows you to:

  • become immersed in a new culture
  • make new friends
  • expand your working knowledge of another language
  • realise a degree of self-reliance, which future employers will regard as an asset

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

Most of your teaching for compulsory courses will be in a studio environment and involve a range of experiential projects. For option courses, teaching and learning methods vary.

Methods used to explore conceptual, material and technical issues include:

  • seminars
  • workshops
  • lectures
  • tutorials
  • critiques

The programme sees research and critical thinking as essential to your development.

You will study visual, intellectual, social and professional contexts of creative practice. This often involves participating in exhibitions and live projects.

You will learn both in group settings and regular one-to-one tutorials with your studio tutor.

How will I be assessed?

We use continuous formative assessment throughout your study. This helps give meaningful feedback and encourages experimentation in the studio and beyond.

Assessment can take the form of:

  • project work
  • participation in group events and presentations
  • written submissions

Art careers

Many graduates pursue careers as artists or enter other art-related professions and go on to undertake residencies and commissions in a global context.

A high percentage of graduates establish themselves in workshops and studios. Many have achieved considerable success and built international reputations.

Transferable skills

Our programmes provide a progressive education in contemporary art practice.

Our students develop:

  • analytical and practical skills
  • the ability to work with others in an organised manner
  • lateral thinking skills

These attributes can be applied to a wide range of career possibilities.

Some students continue their studies at postgraduate level. Others go on to teach or make an impact in the wider creative industries.

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.

Additional requirements


Applicants will be asked to submit a digital mini-portfolio to provide evidence of artistic aptitude and potential, this will form an important part of the selection process.

Portfolio guidance

Important dates

Dates for the opening of the mini-portfolio submission site, and deadlines for submission, will be posted in March 2021.

BTEC/UAL Diplomas

Applicants studying Pearson BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Art and Design will be considered for entry with the following:

  • Pearson BTEC Extended Diploma with DMM.
  • Pearson BTEC Diploma with MM plus one A Level at A (or DM plus B at A Level).
  • Pearson BTEC Extended Certificate / Subsidiary Diploma with D plus two A Levels at B (or M plus AB at A Level).

Applicants studying the University of the Arts London Level 3 Extended Diploma in Art and Design will be considered with Merit.

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

Please select the UCAS code W100 if you wish to apply for entry into Year 1 in the School of Art, a general year in which you will experience a wide range of options including painting, photography, sculpture and intermedia art.

At the end of Year 1 you will be transferred to one of the following specialist degrees within the School of Art:

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 Art

Additional costs

Your materials costs will vary, depending on your programme of study and the materials used to make your work.

Some programmes will offer fieldwork. There is no additional contribution required for the teaching costs involved. However, for the residential fieldwork and individual field-based projects, you usually need to cover accommodation, subsistence and travel costs.

Your actual student contribution depends on the programme involved and the courses selected.


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