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A student and member of staff discussing work at a desk which shows illustration work and materials in the background Image courtesy of Ben Shmulevitch


Illustration - MA



1 year


MA Illustration offers a challenging synthesis of theory and practice for an international group of masters students.      

Students have individual work-spaces in which they explore contemporary issues and the living traditions of this subject. Research Proposals are written in the early weeks, describing ideas and contexts for individual projects. Students are guided in these proposals and they are also given set projects and collaborative tasks at various points of the academic year.    

Postgraduate study of this subject allows for a deeper analysis of themes and texts, and enables students to build innovative and focused portfolios. Often, these students will have ambitions for the professional sphere, or they may wish to pursue doctoral studies. In each case, there is a sustained level of research, allied to technical ways of working and conceptual thinking. There is a Life Drawing studio with a series of classes, and various digital clusters throughout the campus. The academic work naturally encapsulates traditional media and information technology. Theoretical work underpins all studio practice at many levels, and there is a series of visiting lecturers from the professional and academic worlds. We welcome a range of approaches to Illustration, and the ways in which this subject relates to design and the fine arts. Illustration Masters students have studios close to Graphic Design, with which there is a natural affinity, and we have also collaborated with other academic subjects in ECA and the wider community of the University of Edinburgh. Current group projects have included exhibitions at the Scottish Parliament and Institut Français Écosse, a set of finely printed postcards depicting aspects of Edinburgh for the Heart of Midlothian project. There are field trips for drawing and visual research, with additional natural history projects. Recent collaborations have included the Edinburgh Filmhouse and various University publications. Additionally, there are competitions and opportunities to exhibit at points during the year. These include Penguin, the V&A, Folio Society, 3x3 and the Macmillan Children’s Book Competition.


Proposed new programme

We would like to hear your views on a potential new postgraduate opportunity in Design for Body and Mind

Take survey


By the time you graduate you’ll be ready to progress to a wide-range of exciting careers from working as a picture book illustrator, a designer, freelance illustrator or within a leading agency.

Why you should choose this programme


Designated work spaces for all students in spectacular studios.


Life drawing classes, collaborative work, and professional practice.


Advanced development of studio practice and theoretical study.


Access to excellent printmaking workshop and digital arts computing facilities.


Advanced exploration of book arts, text and image, picture books, and authorial illustration.

How to apply and entry requirements

If you'd like to study on a postgraduate 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.

Get in touch

Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions
+44 (0)131 650 4086

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