History of Art, Theory and Display - MSc

Why take this programme?

This is the perfect programme for you if a thorough understanding of art across historical and geographical boundaries is your aim. You will be studying art either side of the year 1800 in one of the most vibrant cities in the UK. Through our internship network, you will get the chance to work inside some of Scotland’s world-leading museums, galleries, libraries and special collections. This will give you a chance to put your learning into practice. Graduates have found the History of Art, Theory and Display programme the ideal stepping-stone to pursue more in-depth study (e.g. a PhD), or apply for an academic post or a position in the museums world and cultural sector.

Join a vibrant history of art community

Throughout this unique programme, you work within a lively subject area at one of the UK’s most highly-rated research universities. You join a very large and active community of other History of Art Masters and research students. Your work is supported and guided by expert teaching staff who are all writing and publishing research, curating exhibitions, giving research papers and organizing conferences.

What will I be studying?

The programme is underpinned by two compulsory courses over the academic year, called Research Theories and Methods and The Cultures and Politics of Display. Around this, you take option courses ranging across Chinese and Islamic art, European art from Roman, Medieval, Renaissance and Modern times, right up to the most recent art being made in the UK and abroad today.

In the end, you will have strong research abilities, valuable in-the-job experience, a wide knowledge of art in its many contexts, and first-hand experience of some of the practices and concepts of museology and contemporary curating.

Student work


Dr Chia-ling Yang, Programme Director | View staff profile >

Teaching may be provided by any of the staff in the School of History of Art.

View the full staff list for the School of History of Art >


Everything you need to know about finding perfect student accommodation.

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

An amalgamation of the University's extensive art collection and ECA’s collection of prints, drawings, paintings and sculpture.

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.

Including journals, image databases, and local collections.

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

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.

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.

265 plaster casts of Antique, Renaissance, and Gothic statues, bas reliefs, and architectural passages.

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

Torrie IMG_7387 960 x 610.jpg

Photo of an artwork from The Torrie Collection
'Abduction of a Sabine' from The Torrie Collection
Displayed and labelled in a new way at the centre of the latest Rediscover exhibition

Putting original research and knowledge into practice at the Talbot Rice Gallery.

The latest Canvas is themed “Ideas of Beauty” and will be available at the 2016 Degree Show.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Phone: +44 (0)131 650 4086

Email: hsspg@ed.ac.uk