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A group of students attending a lecture in a lecture theatre Image courtesy of Ben Shmulevitch


History of Art - MA (Hons)

MA (Hons)


4 years
Study abroad


This degree programme is for you if you are interested in art and visual culture and the histories and ideas that they embody. You do not need to have studied Art History before but you will be curious to learn about new ideas, places and times that will challenge the way you see the world. 

University of Edinburgh History of Art students gain an informed and nuanced understanding of artistic practice and visual and material culture at different historical periods. Our graduates have extensive knowledge and understanding of art history and its methods of study, and the necessary skills to demonstrate this. You will be taught by experts in specialist subjects and many of our academic staff curate, or exhibit in, major international art exhibitions. You will also have access to Edinburgh's renowned art galleries and museums. 

Edinburgh is a culturally rich and active international city. We enjoy world-class museum and gallery collections and a busy contemporary arts scene on our doorstep. As a History of Art student you will have the chance to make the most of the art and culture that is on offer, and if you choose a work placement in your third year, you may experience life behind the scenes in one of the city’s collections. Within the University, History of Art is part of Edinburgh College of Art so you will study alongside practicing artists, designers, architects and musicians.

Joint degrees 

You can study History of Art as a joint degree in the following areas:

You can also study History of Art combined with a practical art element with our five-year MA (Hons) Fine Art degree. 


History of Art is an interdisciplinary subject that opens many doors. Our students choose careers in museums or galleries, journalism, auctioneering, teaching, research or the media. Or you can use your new skills and experience to get any number of graduate jobs. 

Why you should choose this programme


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


Situated in a culturally rich city, with opportunities to work with the city’s rich collections.


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


Regular weekly research seminars during term time, when visiting experts come to speak to the staff and students about the latest developments in art history.


The Watson Gordon Professor of Fine Art, the oldest Professorial Chair in the UK, goes back to the foundation of Art History as a discipline.


While competitive, in year 3, you will have the option to complete a work placement. 

This involves a supervised position in one of Edinburgh’s museums, galleries, special collections or heritage management institutions.

Widening Participation

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

Find out more about Widening Participation for undergraduates at the University of Edinburgh

How to apply and 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.

Get in touch

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

Facilities and resources

Meet our staff