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A cityscape of Edinburgh showing Edinburgh Castle, St Giles Cathedral, and the OId College with hills in the background Tricia Malley & Ross Gillespie


Architectural History - PhD/MPhil



2 - 6 years
Full-time; Part-time


The PhD in Architectural History is for those students with prior advanced knowledge of and qualifications in the history of the built environment who want to pursue a rigorous, in-depth study of a specific topic under specialist supervisory guidance. We welcome prospective students with a strong idea of what they want to research and how they will carry it out. A willingness to engage with primary-source material and to interpret this alongside existing literature in the field are essential attributes in those wishing to undertake this programme. The student’s aim will be to make an original and substantial contribution to knowledge in the chosen area of study. 

Research interests

Areas of staff interest and possible thesis fields include late medieval architecture in Europe; architecture in Renaissance and Baroque-era Europe and its contact zones (1400-1800); the architecture of the Scottish Enlightenment; architecture in colonial Latin America; architecture in Victorian Britain and its empire; 19th- and 20th-century architecture in Germany, Russia, and Eastern Europe; and Modernism in Britain. Permanent staff in allied disciplines additionally have expertise in medieval Islamic architecture and Modernist architecture in Latin America.


The PhD programme in Architectural History leads to careers in academia and heritage conservation and consultancy.

Why you should choose this programme


You will have access to supervision from a range of world-class researchers, drawn from within and beyond the discipline of architecture.


We actively promote interdisciplinary approaches and encourage research that challenges conventional modes of practice and thought.


You will benefit from leading research training methodologies and seminar events, including distinguished visiting professors, all within a lively, research-driven environment.


You will have access to world-class computing, library and workshop facilities, all located in a European capital city with good transport links.


The programme provides exciting opportunities for cross-disciplinary exploration and research with the Schools of Art, Design, History of Art, and Music.


Our programme promotes a broad understanding of the methodological, theoretical, and historiographical aspects of the history of architecture, rooted in deep and rigorous engagement with study of the built environment. Students benefit from close links with specialist disciplines across Edinburgh School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA), as well as Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences (CAHSS) more generally. The programme’s research culture is supported by seminar and public lecture events, including the Architectural History and Theory Seminar Series, and conferences and workshops hosted by the History of the Built Environment Research Group (HABE).

How to apply & entry requirements

If you'd like to study on a postgraduate research programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through EUCLID, our online application system. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh website, where you'll also be able to: 

  • See detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder  
  • Get information on what to expect after you apply  
  • Find out about study modes, start dates and fees  
  • Find out if, and how, you need to submit a portfolio, showreel or research proposal  
  • Find out where to go for further advice and guidance.

Application process

Before you apply

Students are assigned two research supervisors, the second of which may be from another discipline within ECA, or from somewhere else within the College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences (CAHSS) or wider University. 

Please ensure that at least one member of staff (see below) maintains an active research programme that aligns with the themes of your proposed project.  

Prospective students are strongly encouraged to make contact with the relevant member(s) of staff via email to explain your research interests prior to submitting an application. Please note that we only accept applications and review application materials submitted through the official EUCLID application portal

After you apply

Once your application has been submitted for consideration, it will be sent to a team of academic reviewers for their attention. They will then make a decision about your application and research topic, and decide whether it is possible to make an offer of a place to study with us. You may be asked to attend a brief online interview but if this is the case, you will be notified in advance. 

Get in touch

Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)131 651 5740

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