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Three white paint tins on a brown shelf. Each tin has different text handwritten on them Edinburgh College of Art


Fine Art - MA (Hons)

MA (Hons)


5 years
Study abroad


If you are interested in making and theory and/or history of art, but don’t know which to choose, then the MA (Hons) Fine Art degree is for you. This unique five-year undergraduate degree allows you to work in the studio and gain practical experience and also learning about the histories and ideas embodied in art and visual culture. You do not need to have studied history of art, but a portfolio of practical work is required for application.  

Fine Art, where practice and theory meet… 

Fine Art MA (Hons) has been part of Edinburgh College of Art’s degree programme since 1948. It is a unique five-year undergraduate degree, which unlike many other Fine Art degrees, is an equal split between History of Art and studio-based art practice. 

In the first two years, you will study core courses in both Art and History of Art, alongside a choice of courses offered by ECA and other Schools within the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. As an artist you will have the opportunity to develop and hone your craft working with lecturers who are exhibiting artists, are experts in their respective practices. You can choose from painting, sculpture, intermedia and printmaking.  As an art historian, you will have the opportunity to learn from specialists in a variety of periods and geographies. You will study courses in Global Art, including Chinese, Islamic, Pre-Hispanic and South Asian art; pre-modern, modernist, and contemporary European artistic movements, among them the Italian Renaissance, European Modernism and Scottish art; as well contemporary eco-critical art, feminist art and activism, and arts and crafts movements.  

In third and fourth years, you will choose from a range of specialised topics in History of Art and develop a more independent approach to your studio practice in Art. In your final year, you will write a 10,000-word dissertation a research topic of your own choosing and develop a body of work which you will exhibit in the Graduate Show as well as conduct practice-led research in the studio. 


Our graduates have gone on to be curators, archivists, independent artists, writers and gallerists, as well as teachers and academics. Some students also choose to go on to postgraduate study and some have even taken up PhDs. Across Edinburgh College of Art, we have a number of Fine Art graduates who now teach as part of our staff at the University of Edinburgh. Other students have gone into careers in industry, including marketing, communications, or started their own businesses.

Why you should choose this programme


You will get a unique experience of study both studio-based practice and the histories and theories of art.


History of Art at the University of Edinburgh is one of the largest in the UK, offering a wide range of specialist subjects.


Weekly research seminars and artist talks during term time, when visiting experts and artists come to speak to staff and students about their latest research and work.


An active and engaged student community, including the History of Art Society, the Contemporary Art Society and the Edinburgh Gallery Society, Gay Club, Art Soc and Photography Society.


Opportunities to work with institutions and gain hands-on experience working within the cultural sector.

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 (ACES), 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. 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.

Application process

Members of the admissions panel are looking for highly motivated applicants with the skills and attributes that will enable them make the most of the programme. They are looking for evidence of creativity and individuality in the development and resolution of your ideas. The aim is to form an understanding of the potential of how you, as an applicant, might respond and contribute to the challenges of the programme.  

The portfolio allows us to build up a picture of your capacities to think creatively to embrace new ideas, manipulate materials, organize information, and identify the context in which you are working. 

We would recommend also looking at the BA (Hons) Fine Art programme page for more detailed information on putting together an art portfolio.

Portfolio advice video

Art portfolio guidance

Join Art lecturer John Brown who will talk you through how to put together a competitive portfolio for undergraduate Art, and what our academics look for when assessing your work.

Get in touch

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

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