Undergraduate study - 2025 entry
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MA History of Art and History of Music

UCAS code: VW33

Duration: 4 years

Delivery: Full-time

School: Edinburgh College of Art

College: Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences

Study abroad

Introducing MA History of Art and History of Music

You will study history of art and history of music in equal depth with this joint honours programme.

History of art

History of art will introduce you to art from different periods and world cultures.

You will:

  • learn how, and for whom, works of art were made
  • situate artworks within visual and material culture more broadly
  • explore the meanings of works of art and visual culture and the ways they continue to be interpreted

In Years 3 and 4 you will have the opportunity to:

  • specialise in particular aspects of the field
  • develop independent research projects
  • develop a dissertation
  • study abroad (Year 3)

History of music

In history of music, you will explore a broad range of music through various contexts, including:

  • aesthetic context
  • cultural context
  • social context
  • political context

You will be introduced to varied issues relating to the production and reception of both popular and western art music.

In Years 3 and 4 you will choose from a diverse range of options and have the opportunity to write a dissertation on a music-related topic.

History of art and history of music complement each other:

  • many ideas and movements are shared across the visual arts and music, and in particular across historical periods
  • both subjects benefit from shared methodologies and historical contexts

Year 1

You will study History of Art 1. This course covers the period from the fall of the Roman Empire until the end of the Counter-Reformation, including non-Western material.

You will take:

  • Popular Music History, which explores the texts and contexts of popular music from 1800
  • Thinking about Music, where you will engage with a broad musical repertoire and some of the major debates surrounding the study of music

You will also choose an optional course from music or another subject area.

Year 2

You will study History of Art 2, which covers the 18th century to the present day.

You will also study:

  • Understanding Music History 1: Critical Approaches to Music from the Middle Ages to the Late Eighteenth Century
  • Understanding Music History 2: The Idea of Western Art Music from Romanticism to the Late Twentieth Century

Year 3

In Year 3 you will:

  • take a selection of history of art and history of music courses
  • complete a history of art independent project

You will also have the opportunity to study abroad in Year 3.

Year 4

In Year 4 you will select courses that build on your subject choices in Year 3.

You will also write a dissertation in history of art or history of music.

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 (2024/25)

Our facilities

Most history of art teaching takes place in the University's Central Area or at the Lauriston campus of the Edinburgh College of Art (ECA).

Most music teaching takes place in:

  • Alison House, in the University's Central Area
  • the Reid Concert Hall
  • St Cecilia's Hall
  • other locations across ECA

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

You can also take advantage of Edinburgh's galleries and museums, many of which are near the University.

Take a virtual tour

You can take a closer look at the Edinburgh College of Art and explore our facilities and campus on the University's Virtual Visit site.

Take a virtual tour of Edinburgh College of Art

Study abroad

You can apply to study in Europe and North America through international exchange schemes.

See the student exchanges section of the Edinburgh Global website for details.

Student Exchanges

What are my options for going abroad?

How will I learn?

You will be taught through:

  • lectures
  • seminars
  • tutorials
  • individual supervision
  • museum and gallery visits

How will I be assessed?

You will be assessed by:

  • coursework
  • exams
  • independent projects
  • a dissertation

This programme prepares you for a range of careers, including:

  • curatorships in galleries and museums
  • art and music journalism
  • publishing, public relations and media
  • art dealing and auctioneering
  • tourism
  • sound archives
  • graphics
  • heritage management
  • auctioneering

Some graduates use their skills and experience for:

  • careers in management or teaching
  • further study

Standard entry requirement

The standard entry requirement is:

  • SQA Highers: AABB by end of S5 or AAAB by end of S6. BBB must be achieved in one year of S4-S6. (Revised 18/04/2024 to lower entry requirements from AAAB by S5, or AAAA by S6.)
  • A Levels: AAB. (Revised 18/04/2024 to lower entry requirements from AAA.)
  • IB: 36 points with 665 at HL. (Revised 18/04/2024 to lower entry requirements from 37 (666).)

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

Regardless of your nationality or country of residence, you must demonstrate a level of English language competency at a level that will enable you to succeed in your studies.


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
  • GCSE at C or 4
  • Level 2 Certificate at 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: total 6.5 with at least 5.5 in each component.We do not accept IELTS One Skill Retake to meet our English language requirements.
  • TOEFL-iBT (including Home Edition): total 92 with at least 20 in each component. We do not accept TOEFL MyBest Score to meet our English language requirements.
  • C1 Advanced (CAE) / C2 Proficiency (CPE): total 176 with at least 162 in each component.
  • Trinity ISE: ISE II with distinctions in all four components.
  • PTE Academic: total 65 with at least 54 in each component. We do not accept PTE Academic Online.*

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

Unless you are a national of a majority English speaking country, your English language qualification must be no more than three and a half years old from the start of the month in which the degree you are applying to study begins. If you are using an IELTS, PTE Academic, TOEFL or Trinity ISE test, it must be no more than two years old on the first of the month in which the degree begins, regardless of your nationality.

English language requirements

(*Revised 24 May 2024 to change PTE Academic requirement from total 62 with at least 54 in each component, and to clarify that we do not accept PTE Academic online.)

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 History of Art and History of Music

Additional costs

You will pay for the costs of printing.

There may be other costs associated with travelling to exhibitions. These are usually limited to £10 to £20 per visit.


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