Material Practice - MSc

Programme video: Material Practice - MSc


The MSc in Material Practice is an exciting one-year programme that takes an innovative, cross-disciplinary approach to understanding the qualities and potential of different physical materials.

Taking in glass, textiles, architectural materials and metals, you’ll be encouraged to explore new boundaries and experiment as you develop and expand your experience in both making and using materials in our state-of-the-art studios.

You’ll have access to an exceptional range of facilities, from our hot glass workshop, textiles print room and dye facilities, to metal workshops, casting spaces and spaces for digital fabrication, including rapid prototyping and CNC laser cutting.

The mix of spaces and resources, and the blending of traditional craftsmanship with cutting-edge technologies, will enable you to explore new boundaries as you develop your understanding of the potential of different materials and the impact they could have on your work.

Who should study Material Practice?

Whether you have a background in art, design or architecture, or your skills and experience are in technological-based disciplines, this programme will build on your existing expertise and expand your understanding of both material techniques and collaborative practice.

Programme format

You’ll spend Semester One on collaborations based in various workshops across Edinburgh College of Art. Taking in glass, textiles, metal, architectural materials and digital fabrication, these short projects will help develop your understanding of the individual qualities and behaviours of different materials.

In the second semester, you’ll work on two in-depth collaborative projects that are cross-disciplinary and cross-material in nature. Both will address a contemporary issue through the lens of material practice.

One of the projects typically focuses on The Circular Economy, with students reusing recycled materials such as dredged residue from Scottish Canals (2014/15) and ground glass, aluminium and sisal (2015/16).

There are talks and workshops by guests including Ian Lambert and Mark West, opportunities for collaboration with companies such as Martec Engineering, Ecoscreed and the East African Sisal Company, visits to industry events such as the Textiles Futures Forum, and the chance to participate in special, one-off projects (this year’s was a record-breaking attempt to build a 35m ice bridge in Finland).

The skills you’ll gain throughout the programme will lead you towards the development of a major research project tailored around your own aims and experience, with support and guidance from an appropriate tutor.

Last year, Charlie Patterson’s research project was to develop a technique for 3d printing bespoke garments using silicone. He subsequently developed the process for medical and sports performance/recovery applications, coming second place in the University of Edinburgh’s annual LaunchEd competition for entrepreneurial ideas.

Top five reasons to choose the programme

  • You’ll draw on the expertise of leading practitioners, researchers and technicians from across ECA. Their guidance and support will prove invaluable as you explore and develop your skills in material practice.
  • You’ll explore both traditional and new materials, processes and technologies, and will develop innovative cross-material solutions to contemporary issues.
  • There are lots of opportunities for collaboration and you’ll learn with students from a range of backgrounds, from the creative arts to technical disciplines.
  • You’ll study in an environment rich in material research and practice, with excellent links to industry.
  • Based in Edinburgh, one of the world’s leading cultural cities, you’ll have the opportunity to take advantage of a vibrant arts scene, world-renowned festivals and leading galleries and museums.

Student work


Remo Pedreschi, Programme Director | View staff profile >

Lindy Richardson | View staff profile > 

Geoff Mann | View staff profile >

Miguel Paredes Maldonado (Digital Design) | View staff profile > 

Cristina Nan (Digital Fabrication) | View staff profile > 


Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Used for displaying student work as well as hosting exhibitions and events.

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.

Carving and mould-making facilities, a ceramics kiln, and casting amenities for bronze and aluminium.

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 to £15,000)

30 masters scholarships for postgraduate study in any subject area. (£3,000-5,000)

Six GREAT scholarships of £5,000 are available for students from India for postgraduate Masters study for the 2016-2017 academic session.

For students or recent graduates of a Scottish university pursuing an overseas project. (£1500)

For new full-time postgraduate masters students. (£2,500)

For students doing undergraduate honours projects, masters projects or PhD projects. (£2,500)

20 awards of £10k are available to full-time one year taught Masters and Masters by Research programme applicants across the University that meet the specified eligibility criteria.

20 scholarships of £10k and 130 scholarships of £4.5k are available to full-time one year taught Masters and Masters by Research programme applicants across the University.

News & events

Lewis Lilburn Finland 960 x 610.jpg

Photo of an ice building project in Finland
Da Vinci’s Bridge in Ice is a record-breaking attempt to build a 35m ice bridge
Material Practice students worked as part of a 100-strong international team of volunteers
Image courtesy of Lewis Lilburn

The team report back from their landmark trip to Juuka in Finland where they worked on a record-breaking attempt to build a 35 metre ice bridge.

EUSAS Instagram challenge 2015.png

EUSAS Instagram challenge 2015
Image courtesy of Joseph Evans

Claudia Evans (EUSAS) reports on the event and explains what else the society has in store this year.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086