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A view from above of various people gathering around tables which feature projects and works on display Image courtesy of Adrian Hawker


Architecture - PhD/MPhil/MSc by Research

PhD/MPhil/MSc Research


2 - 6 years
Full-time; Part-time


Postgraduate research is vital to the critical dynamism and international profile of the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA). Studying for a PhD/MPhil/MSc by Research in Architecture, you will be contributing to the UK’s largest centre for the study of architecture and environmental design: a world leader in its field.   

The programme offers you the chance to study architecture in all its aspects and you will be immersed in an interdisciplinary environment which draws on a wide variety of specialisms. These include architectural design and criticism, digital media, technology and sustainability, the history and theory of architecture and urbanism, architectural conservation, urban history and heritage, and urban strategies. 

We are looking for applicants who have proven abilities to conduct effective research: independent thinking and excellent quality output. Beside intellectual curiosity, attention to detail, and willingness to learn and develop, you should have self-discipline and resilience, collaborative and time management skills to reach the goals of your proposed research. Finally, we would like to see that you are interested in opportunities to attend and present at conferences, gain teaching experience, and to take on further training relevant to your research.

Research interests 

Research underpins our intellectual and creative activity, as well as driving our collaborations with a broad range of external institutions, both within the UK and internationally. We actively encourage research projects that challenge conventional modes of practice and thought, and which can make a positive impact on government policy making and on people’s lives. We also seek to develop research that addresses global challenges, exploring environmental resilience and sustainable development. We are interested in a diversity of conditions: from the most intimate spaces of dwelling, through complex infrastructures and open spaces, to the heterogeneous fabric of cities and their wider territorial environments.

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.

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. For any of these programmes, supervision and support may be provided by any of the teaching staff in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and beyond. 

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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