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A large group of students sitting and standing around a table are looking at maps and papers. Image: Alistair Fair

Architectural History and Heritage - MA (Hons)

MA (Hons)


4 years
Study abroad


Architectural History and Heritage involves the study of buildings and places, and ours is the only degree programme at this level in the UK. We offer a small but diverse programme taught by a team of specialist, research-active staff. 

If you are interested in the built environment as a work of design, then this programme is for you! In this programme, we explore what the built environment can tell us about wider social, cultural and political themes in history, and we also consider issues in contemporary architectural heritage. 

In exploring the history of the built environment, we use a range of sources including: 

  • The evidence of standing buildings 
  • Architectural plans and drawings 
  • Written sources 
  • Film 
  • Photographs 

During your time with us you will gain a variety of experience, typically including placements within the heritage sector, making you well equipped to work in this area on graduation.

The degree begins with an introduction to architectural history. There are also opportunities to take courses from other ECA subject areas, such as History of Art and Music, and from other parts of the University of Edinburgh, including modern languages. The upper years of the degree involve more specialist studies in architectural history.

Although our students often take courses in History of Art alongside their studies in the history of architecture, it is possible to have these studies formally recognised through a joint degree in History of Art and Architectural History. A further joint degree programme is available in Architectural History and Archaeology.

You can find out more about joint degrees on the degree finder:


Our students follow a number of routes on graduation; some will continue their studies at Masters and Doctoral level, either in Architectural History and Heritage, or a related subject that they have found a deep interest in during their undergraduate studies.  Others will move into architectural conservation or work in museums, libraries or galleries.  

In teaching the skills of critical analysis and the presentation of arguments based on a close reading of the available evidence, the programme offers a valuable foundation for a wide range of careers, and our graduates have been successful in a variety of roles.

Why you should choose this programme


We are unique: our degree is the only full undergraduate programme in the history of architecture, anywhere in Europe.


From lectures to site visits and filed research, you’ll be taught by award-winning architectural historians and theorists, and have access to world-class libraries and collections.


With two years of general and two of specialist study, you’ll gain knowledge and skills to pursue a wide range of career options, including further research.


You will be studying in the heart of a unique World Heritage Site in one of the world’s most loved cultural cities, surrounded by extraordinary architecture.


Thanks to the generous benefaction of architect Ben Pentreath, this programme offers additional financial support to students undertaking dissertation research in their fourth year of study, as well as a potential guided trip to a major city.


We work very closely with local heritage organisations, including Historic Environment Scotland, and the National Trust for Scotland, and are usually able to offer placements within the heritage sector as an element of our third and fourth-year teaching.

Widening Participation

ECA works with the University of Edinburgh Widening Participation (WP) team.

How to apply & entry requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to: 

  • See the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
  • See detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • Get information on what to expect after you apply
  • Find out about fees
  • Find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

Get in touch

College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office
+44 (0)131 650 3565

Facilities & resources

Meet our staff