Architecture - BA/MA

ESALA understands Architecture as the discipline responsible for the design of the built environment. It is both a celebration of our cultural inheritance and a statement of our cultural ambitions. Therefore, we could describe our activity in ESALA as the research and exploration of contemporary society, philosophically, historically, technologically and culturally through the medium of Architecture. While studying at ESALA, you will acquire the necessary knowledge and understanding of how buildings are made, and in the pursuit of this acquire skills of observation, analysis, creative thinking and design. You will learn about the significance of the architectural past, engage critically with contemporary architecture, and apply your skills and knowledge to the formation of built environments of the present and future. The creation of Architectural propositions as modest as a dwelling or as grand and complex as a city scale intervention is, for the architect, a matter of neither formula nor chance, but of reflection, negotiation and adaptation to material, social and cultural contexts.

Architecture therefore comes into contact with other disciplines concerned with buildings and their relationships such as engineering, construction, urban planning, environmental science, sociology and history. Through a carefully designed series of courses ESALA will introduce you to all these disciplines and reveal how they are complicit to the central discipline of Architecture? ESALA consider Architectural Design as the unique mode of thought and practice, combining logical analysis, critical judgement and creativity that produce buildings. The theme, which underpins our approach to architectural education, is that everything you do will be a process of enquiry and as such enables you to discover and develop your own process of design and further more your own position within architecture.

ESALA offers two Degree Programmes at Undergraduate level, both are accredited by the RIBA and lead to the Professional Qualification of Part 1 upon graduation.

The Architecture (MA Hons) Degree is taught over four years allows for the opportunity to study a broad selection of subjects, with an integrated and credited placement period taken during the third and fourth years of study. An opportunity for a period of study abroad during the third year of the Architecture (MA Hons) exists through the Erasmus International Exchange Programme. Available through internal application previous students have studied in Madrid and Copenhagen. As an honours degree, it facilitates you in applying for a wide range of postgraduate study both in Edinburgh and other institutions throughout the world. The Architecture ( BA) degree is taught over three years offering the opportunity for an accelerated pathway towards a Part 2 degree either at ESALA or at another institution involving a placement year post graduation.

ESALA Degree Programmes deliver architectural education in the core sub-disciplines of Architectural Design, Technology and Environment, Architectural History, Architectural Theory, Professional Studies and skills in Architectural Communication. Further to this ESALA also offers a rich range of outside subjects, in the form of electives in year two and four, drawn from across Edinburgh College of Art and the University in such diverse areas as history of art, drawing and painting, visual communication, sculpture, digital media, modern languages, sociology, engineering and construction management, architectural history, conservation and landscape architecture.

Student work


Kevin Adams

Dr Michelle Bastian | View profile >

Ana Bonet Miro | View profile >

Dr Kate Carter | View profile >

Mark Cousins | View profile >

Douglas Cruickshank, Programme Director | View profile >

Dr Soledad Garcia Ferrari | View profile >

Prof Fiona McLachlan | View profile >

Lisa Moffitt | View profile >

Cristina Nan | View profile >

Dr Miguel Parades Maldonado | View profile >

Elaine Pieczonka | View profile >

Giorgio Ponzo

Dr Dimitris Theodossopoulos | View profile >

Dr Penny Travlou | View profile >

Gillian Treacy | View profile >

Dr Ola Uduku | View profile >

Dr Dorian Wiszniewski | View profile >

The list above is of the core teaching team on this programme. We have a vibrant and enthusiastic community of tutors beyond this list who contribute a great deal to our programme.


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.

News & events

Cladding the WikiHouse 001 960 x 610.jpg

Photo of a student measuring cladding
This was Civic Soup's first collective experience of running a live build project
Image courtesy of Civic Soup

We talk to the Civic Soup collective about their recent Festival of Creative Learning event.


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.


College of Humanities & Social Science Undergraduate Admissions Office


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565