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A student and a tutor are standing behind a table looking at cardboard model of a building in front of them. The tutor is gesturing towards the model. Image: Joseph Wilson

Architecture - BA/MA



3 years (BA); 4 years (MA)
Study abroad


The Edinburgh School of Architecture & Landscape Architecture, 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 for an Architecture BA or MA 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. We consider Architectural Design as a unique mode of thought and practice, combining the skills of 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 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 allowing you 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 University's Subject-Specific Exchange Programme and is available through internal application. Current destinations include Madrid, Athens, Graz and Stuttgart.

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.

We also offer a rich range of outside subjects, in the form of electives in years two and four, drawn from across Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh 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.


Architecture students gain excellent skills in design, spatial awareness, problem-solving and project-based production, which combine into a strong and adaptable skill set. Our programmes offer routes into the architecture profession and graduates typically continue their studies to qualify as architects working in private practice, local and national government or large commercial organisations both in the UK and overseas.

Both programmes are accredited by the Royal Institution of British Architects (RIBA) and lead to the Professional Qualification of Part 1 upon graduation. As an Honours degree, the four-year MA Hons degree will facilitate you in applying for a wide range of postgraduate study, both in Edinburgh and other institutions throughout the world, while the three-year BA offers an accelerated pathway towards a Part 2 degree.

Widening Participation

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

Widening Participation for undergraduates at the University of Edinburgh

Find out about Access to Creative Education in Scotland, a Widening Participation programme for eligible S4 to S6 students at state secondary schools in the south-east of Scotland.

ACES website

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, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. 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.

If you have any questions about the application process, our Undergraduate Admissions Office will be happy to help you.

Get in touch

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

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