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A close-up of mosaic tiles of various colours including yellow, red and blue in a clear plastic bag Edinburgh College of Art

Postgraduate

Collections and Curating Practices - MSc by Research

MSc Research

Features

1 year (Full time); 2 years (Part time)
Full-time; Part-time

Outline

Develop your skills and specialist expertise for a career in the arts and cultural heritage sectors while taking full advantage of Edinburgh’s outstanding archives and collections.   

Drawing on resources and expertise from leading practitioners, professionals, and academics from across the University and Scotland, you will have the opportunity to combine research-focused study with experiential learning by developing curatorial projects with world-class arts and cultural heritage museums, galleries, and organisations based in Edinburgh. 

Collections and Curating Practices is delivered in partnership with Fruitmarket, National Galleries of Scotland, National Library of Scotland, National Museums Scotland, and the University of Edinburgh’s own Heritage Collections and museums, including Talbot Rice Gallery.  

If you have a background in the field – either through previous study in a related discipline or professional experience – and a desire to deepen your knowledge while expanding your vocational skills and networks, you’ll find our programme offers an ideal balance.   

The only Master’s by Research programme of its kind in Britain, research frames our intellectual pursuits and partnerships, as well as our approach to experiential learning by putting theory into practice.   

We encourage projects that challenge conventional modes of knowledge, curatorial practice, and cultural production. We strive to advance research addressing current issues and challenges to the discipline of art history, as well as the arts and cultural heritage sectors, encouraging researchers to make use of the vast archives and collections in Scotland.  

We also support innovative and creative research on topics ranging from decolonial approaches to collections and curatorial practice, addressing the historical legacies of the European museum, to case studies on widening accessibility, equity, or community-centred, value-led strategies in the gallery. Your project need not address curatorship or museology, as the programme is designed to be flexible, supporting varied interests in the history of art and visual and material cultures, from contemporary photography in West Africa and Latin America, medieval artefacts from Northern Europe, right through to modern and contemporary art in Britain, the Global South, and beyond. 

Why you should choose this programme

1

This is the only Master’s by Research programme of its kind in Britain, delivered in partnership with internationally-renowned arts and cultural heritage organisations in Edinburgh and Scotland. 

2

You will combine research-focused study with practical, on-the-job experience, delivering a curatorial project while developing skills in archival and object-based research and interpretation, collections management and public engagement. 

3

You will pursue research on a topic of your choosing, with access to supervision from leading researchers within and beyond the discipline of the history of art. 

4

We encourage and support innovative, creative, and interdisciplinary research that challenges conventional modes of knowledge, curatorial practice, and cultural production.

5

You will study alongside a strong, supportive community of postgraduate researchers while engaging with Edinburgh's outstanding collections, libraries, and archives. 

Opportunities

Edinburgh College of Art has a formidable track record for curatorial engagements in teaching and research. You will become part of our strong academic community and will be encouraged to participate in the University’s rich programme of research seminars, colloquia and conferences. As a research student you will have access to ECA’s newly refurbished study space.   

Direct engagement with our partner institutions and their staff will provide you with valuable opportunities to develop your skills and networks in a practical setting. These experiences will be further enhanced through our masterclass programme where visiting specialists will introduce you to innovative approaches to collections research, management and engagement. 

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

ecaresearchdegrees@ed.ac.uk
+44 (0)131 651 5740

Partners

Collections and Curating Practices is delivered in partnership with Fruitmarket, National Galleries of Scotland, National Library of Scotland, National Museums Scotland, and the University of Edinburgh’s own Heritage Collections and museums, including Talbot Rice Gallery

Scholarships & bursaries

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Facilities & resources

Our alumni

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