Architecture - MArch

Programme video: MArch


The two-year Master of Architecture programme offers a unique design and research-led learning experience leading to exemption from the ARB/RIBA part 2 examination. Based in one of the most beautiful and architecturally important cities in the world, you’ll join an exciting and dynamic programme combining flexibility with academic rigour.

Our programme has a reputation for its focus on architecture and the city and as a student you’ll play an active role in projects linked to current debates about cities and specific sites within them. You’ll benefit from a series of guest lectures and workshops from eminent practitioners and scholars. And you’ll also have the option to choose from one of two learning pathways. No matter which pathway you choose, you’ll be guided in the creation of intelligent and creative architectural design at all times informed by thematically directed studios.

As a student, you’ll take advantage of studios and workshops recognised as amongst the best anywhere. Our workshops include up-to-date technologies such as laser-cutting and rapid 3D prototyping machines and you’ll access computer suites kitted out with the latest software and large format printing machines for digital design development and output.

Choose to come to Edinburgh and you’ll find a dynamic environment in which to engage creatively with the many facets of contemporary architectural discourse and practice.

Programme structure

The MArch is delivered through thematically-focussed elective design studios, an ideal platform for graduate-level research-led teaching. Complimentary courses in theory, technology and professional practice are offered to develop your core professional competencies. Uniquely, the programme offers two curricular pathways, allowing you to complete either a one or two-year design-studio thesis, prioritising either breadth or depth of enquiry.

Design studios

The design studio is the heart of the MArch curriculum, and accounts for 160 credits of the programme. As a student, you will have the opportunity to explore different design approaches, and to develop your own specialism, by choosing from a range of design studio options. Each studio is led by a dedicated academic staff member whose expertise and research agenda frame the themes of investigation, and typically involves a field trip to sites of national or international interest.

Studio options for 2016/17

Complimentary courses

The remaining 80 credits comprise compulsory non-studio courses.  Architecture Technology Research supports you in developing methods for identifying and integrating relevant technologies in architectural projects; Studies in Contemporary Architectural Theory allows you to follow one of a series of theory seminars, developing an in-depth knowledge of particular contemporary architectural discourses; Architectural Management, Practice and Law offers a part-2 level understanding of architectures professional context, including a scenario-based event that prepares you for the Part 3.

Complimentary course descriptors

Curriculum pathways

Our design studios operate through one of two curriculum pathways.

Modular Pathway

The Modular Pathway provides you with the opportunity to choose from a selection of independent, year-long design studios. A range of different studios will be offered each cycle, exploring urban and rural sites of national and international significance, structured through themes related to staff expertise and research interests. Over the course of the programme, you will take two of these studios, sampling a range of topics and methods.

The MArch modular studios will be open to both 1st and 2nd year students, offering opportunities for peer learning between cohorts. While offering student choice, the two years of study also provide a coherent pedagogic arc. For MArch 1 Modular students, each studio choice will introduce you to a range of different architectural themes, research methods and design approaches, while for the MArch 2 constituency, studios will expect an enhanced level of design resolution, supported by a 40 credit core studio which incorporates external consultancy on structural, technical and environmental resolution.

The Modular Pathway allows you to complete a highly resolved thesis project while developing a portfolio typified by breadth of enquiry.

Examples of previous modular pathway studios

Integrated pathway

The Integrated Pathway, unique to the March programme at Edinburgh College of Art, is a two-year long pathway anchored typically around a major city or territory. Focused on a major (usually European) city, this pathway will lead you through a series of architectural studies and design projects that allow you to engage the full range of architectural scales; from the urban strategy right down to the detail in a comprehensive project. The pathway emphasizes research-led teaching and design.

Examples of previous integrated pathway studios

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • Critical and research based engagement with the contemporary city in an age of globalization.
  • International reputation for investigative and creative pedagogies.  
  • Critical enquiry through making, and attention to materiality, situation and presence through traditional disciplinary practices alongside innovative techniques and technologies.
  • Contributions from eminent international architects, educators and scholars.
  • Links with other specialist postgraduate programs within the College of Art. (For instance Cultural Studies, Architectural Conservation, Architectural + Urban Design,  Advanced Sustainable Design, Digital Media).

Interested in a Design for Change - MA/MFA programme? Please fill out our short survey about this new proposed programme >

Student work


Full Time Staff

Design Studio Leader

Course Organiser Architectural Technology Research

Contributes to Studies in Contemporary Architectural Theory

Design Studio Leader, Contributes to Studies in Contemporary Architectural Theory

Contributes to Studies in Contemporary Architectural Theory

Design Studio Leader

Design Studio Leader, Course Organiser Design Report and Academic Portfolio

Contributes to Studies in Contemporary Architectural Theory

Course Organiser Architectural Management Practice and Law

Design Studio Leader

Course Organiser Studies in Contemporary Architectural Theory

Design Studio Leader

Visiting Staff

A programme of annual visiting staff are arranged through the Simpson Visiting Professor and Geddes Visiting Fellow initiative. Recent esteemed visitors to the programme have included:

  • Professor Anuradha Mather (PennDesign, Shristi Bangalore)
  • Professor Dilip da Cunha (PennDesign, Harvard GSD, Shristi Bangalore)
  • Professor Mark West (University of Manitoba)
  • William Firebrace (University of Westminster)
  • Peter Wilson (Bolles+Wilson)
  • Josep Mias (Mias Architects)
  • Professor Peter Eisenman (Yale, Eisenman Architects)
  • Cynthia Davidson (Harvard GSD, Anyone Corporation)
  • Professor Mike Cadwell (Ohio State University)
  • Professor Inaki Abalos (Harvard GSD)


Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

Resources for History of Art, Art, Architecture and Landscape Architecture students.

A fully operational, entirely student-run 90-seat theatre housed in a neo-gothic church.

Get information, advice and guidance about your career options.

The Centre for Research Collections (CRC) is the main space for anyone using the University of Edinburgh’s historic collections.

Work spaces are available across the University. ECA's computers include software tailored to the disciplines studied here.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

ECAfé provides a full catering service to all staff, students and visitors to Edinburgh College of Art.

Edinburgh Global's mission is to encourage internationalisation, enhance the student experience, create and develop partnerships.

EUSA represent the student voice. They provide services, run events, and facilitate student societies.

Information and guidance on financial matters for all students of the University of Edinburgh.

A Georgian garden that doubles as a venue for performances in the centre of the city.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.

The workshop facilities include band saws, pillar drills, sanders and wire-cutters.

This model workshop is equipped for constructing architectural models in a wide variety of materials.

By day, a café, bar and study space, and by night a club venue. Potterrow’s dome is also home to the Advice Place and the Potter Shop.

Includes a screen-printing room, relief room, lithography room, process room, intaglio room, and caseroom.

The neo-classical Sculpture Court in the ECA Main Building is home to the many pieces from the Edinburgh Cast Collection, and is regularly used for student exhibitions.

Caters to a diverse range of users from occasional exercisers to international athletes.

Offering counselling services for students, workshops, consultation and training for staff.

Supporting students with dyslexia, mental health issues and students on the autistic spectrum, as well as those who have physical and sensory impairments.

Talbot Rice Gallery is the public art Gallery for the University of Edinburgh.

Home to six distinctive bars, Teviot is the oldest purpose built students' union in the world.

A hub for the University Societies and setting regular live music, comedy, spoken word and poetry nights.

A bar at the Lauriston Campus which hosts regular events including club nights and gigs.

Woodworking tools and machinery include laser cutters, a vacuum former, and a 3D scanner and printer.

Scholarships & bursaries

Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate study at Edinburgh College of Art. (£5,000)

News & events

Oliver Jonathan Shimalresized for article.jpg

Oliver, Jonathan and Shimal next to their Degree Show work
Oliver Beetschen, Jonathan Piper and Shimal Morjaria with their reimagined Otemachi Tower

The RSA Architecture Prize and the Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Award are among the top honours won by ECA students in this year’s showcase.


The three graduates who formed IF DO standing outside
Image courtesy of Simon Webb

The IF_DO team's design was chosen to form a temporary structure to host a series of events as part of the London Festival of Architecture.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086