MA Fine Art (5-year programme)
UCAS code: W150
Duration: 5 years
School: Edinburgh College of Art
College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences
Introducing MA Fine Art (5-year programme)
This five-year programme combines the studio practice of fine art with the academic study of the history of art.
Unlike many fine art degrees, it provides an equal split between art practice and art history.
We aim to produce graduates with:
- a professional understanding of artistic practice
- an extensive knowledge of art history and methods of its study
For your practice-based study, you will work in purpose-built studios. These offer a friendly and challenging creative practice environment.
In your other studies, you will spend time with students from a range of arts and humanities subjects. This is especially true while studying the programme's intensive art history component.
You will study both history of art and studio-based disciplines over the course of this five-year programme.
This will include:
- intermedia art
In Year 1 your study is equally weighted between art practice and history of art.
For this side of your studies you will work in studios and learn alongside students from other School of Art BA (Hons) subjects.
You will follow studio and research courses. These will involve projects introducing different methods, materials and approaches to art practice.
Teaching in the School of Art is tutorial, seminar and critique-based.
History of art
For history of art you will take:
- History of Art 1
- one more semester-long course of your choice
These courses cover the period from the fall of the Roman Empire to the end of the Counter-Reformation.
You will also choose 40 credits of option courses from across the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. These are nominally made up of two 20-credit courses.
In Year 2 your study is also equally weighted between art practice and the history of art.
In the studio you will begin to study with a more focused range of materiality and practices.
Through seminars you will learn the links between art history and studio methodologies.
History of art
For history of art you will take History of Art 2 and choose another art history course.
You will also choose 40 credits of option courses from across the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences.
You will follow the studio and research courses alongside BA (Hons) students in the School of Art. But in Year 3 the emphasis shifts from projects to deadlines.
You will have the opportunity to engage in external projects and events. You can combine these with extended periods of supported, independent study.
In Year 3 you can also apply for an international exchange.
History of art
For history of art you will choose two 20-credit option courses from a range of topics. These include:
- aspects of ancient, medieval, renaissance and modern art in Europe
- Islamic and Asian art
- contemporary art history and theory courses covering 21st century practices in an international context
You must choose at least one option course covering the pre-1800 period.
In Year 3 you will also develop your research skills by writing an independent history of art project. You will supported with regular supervision from a member of staff.
In Year 4 you will spend two-thirds of your time studying history of art courses and a third on art practice.
History of art
You will choose three 20-credit option courses from the history of art portfolio. Your choices can cover the pre or post-1800 period.
You will also complete another independent history of art project or a work placement.
You will consider the relationship between your studio practice and your background research.
Our courses support you to define your personal area of research. They also encourage you to be experimental and ambitious.
Individual tutorials and group critiques will help you critically analyse your work. This includes analysing your work and methods of investigation in relation to current fine art practice.
In your final year you will write a history of art dissertation. This is on a topic of your choice and submitted early in Semester 2.
The emphasis then shifts to the consolidation of your studio practice.
You will spend most of the year (around two-thirds of your time) on research and producing new work in the studios.
You will present a self-directed body of work to show your ability. This should demonstrate a high level of:
- critical analysis
- personal vision
- awareness of its context in current art practice
This work culminates in the display of your artwork at public Degree Show exhibitions in May/June.
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.
At our Lauriston Place campus you will learn in purpose-built workshops and studios. These include facilities for:
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.
There are opportunities to study abroad in Year 3 through exchanges with institutions affiliated to art and history of art.
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:
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
Our programme prepares you for a range of careers in the art world. These include:
- curatorships in galleries and museums
- art journalism
- art dealing
Some graduates use their skills for careers in management or teaching. Some pursue further academic study. Others establish themselves as successful independent artists and art historians.
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.
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.
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.
Dates for the opening of the mini-portfolio submission site, and deadlines for submission, will be posted in March 2021.
(Revised 3rd November 2021 to correct an error in the entry requirements. BTEC Level 3 Nationals in Art and Design and the University of the Arts London Extended Diploma in Art and Design removed as accepted qualifications for entry to this degree.)
We welcome applications from students studying a wide range of international qualifications.
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.
We welcome applications from mature students and accept a range of 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.
SQA, GCSE and IB
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.
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.
The costs of your materials will vary depending on your programme of study.
Some programmes offer fieldwork. For these, you will usually need to cover accommodation, subsistence and travel costs.
Your actual contribution will depend on your programme and the courses you select.
For more information on how much it will cost to study with us and the financial support available see our fees and funding information.
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