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An event speaker gesturing to the side of a colourful projected slide in yellows, pinks and violet. Image: Andy Catlin

Sound Design - MSc by Research

MSc Research


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


This programme is aimed at those with existing creative and/or professional experience of sonic art, electronic composition or sound design and who wish to pursue further study by researching a particular area of one of these fields.  

If you’re looking to redefine your career, open up a new area of creative activity for yourself, or to research and develop ways of thinking about the crafts and theories behind excellent sound design, digital music or sonic art, this course is for you. 

Your research practice with us may lead to a portfolio of creative work (an album of music, a series of well-documented sound installations, work on a film), or the portfolio could consist of a series of sonic experiments that are well-documented and explained in the text.  

The programme offers structured teaching learning opportunities that enable you to hone aspects of your craft, open up new areas or consolidate skills. In addition we support you to use these tools in a detailed piece of research work where you demonstrate innovate use of them.  

Students can engage deeply and creatively with the social, cultural, technical and theoretical aspects of one or more of the following:

  • Sound design  
  • Sonic art  
  • Digital composition and performance  
  • Digital audio and media technology  
  • Creative coding for sound  
  • Film/TV/Radio/linear sound  
  • Sound and Music philosophy


Upon graduating, you will be able to engage deeply with social, cultural, technical and theoretical concepts spanning sound art, design, digital composition, new music practices and digital media.  

The programme is especially good preparation for PhD study in a sound related area, via our PhD in Creative Music Practice, or a foundation for taking your career along a new path.  

Why you should choose this programme


Create a career-defining portfolio of innovative new work


Hone and develop your craft in sound design, sonic art or digital composition


Prepare yourself for further research work such as a PhD


Collaborate with a large group of Masters-level students working across the digital and creative arts


Work with world-leading researchers and artists in a globally recognised cultural centre

How to apply and 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
+44 (0)131 651 5740

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