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A group of students wearing aprons are leaning on a studio table working with pieces of tracing film. There are brightly coloured samples of fabric in the background. Image: Ben Shmulevitch

Textiles - BA (Hons)

BA (Hons)


4 years
Study abroad


Colour, texture, pattern, form… our department continues to challenge what defines textiles as a discipline. With many different types of materials, applied to different surfaces, placed in different contexts, textiles has its place in fashion, buildings, science and even health and wellbeing.

What will you learn?

Initially, you will be introduced to techniques in the print room, dye lab and workshops. You will be taught silkscreen and digital printing, dye techniques, embroidery and drawing.

Research will help you understand the contexts in which textiles can be applied. The act of making - exploring materials, techniques, colour, image and tactile sensitivity - will encourage innovation beyond expectation.

Who will teach you?

Our enthusiastic staff have a broad range of expertise which includes print, embroidery, knit and weave as well as upholstery, jewellery and graphic design. This diverse mix of backgrounds adds to the richness of the teaching. Additionally, you will hear from guest lecturers from commercial industry, small businesses and specialists in, for example, web design. This will help put your learning in context.


Our graduates are employed as textile designers throughout the world and by leading brands, including Burberry, River Island, Cole and Sons and Pentland Design Group. Some also move into related fields, such as fashion, interior design, fine art and education.

Why you should choose this programme


You will develop a broad range of practical skills and a rich understanding of context and application.


You will engage with staff from a range of backgrounds who will get to know you as an individual and help you flourish in a close-knit environment where all of our students work in the same studio.


We have excellent links with industry, offering students the opportunity to work directly with designers from industry on live briefs and competitions.


You will have the opportunity to show your work in the ECA fashion show, group exhibitions and at New Designers in London.


You'll graduate with the skills to enter a wide range of related careers.


We actively promote collaboration. You will have the opportunity to design and make with others through projects with industry and with creative practitioners across ECA and the University of Edinburgh. You may, for example, work with fashion designers, interior designers, fine artists and performance costume designers.

You will have the opportunity to show your work in the ECA fashion show, group exhibitions and at New Designers in London.

As well as the option to study abroad in the 3rd year, we support studio placements for all our students, often in London design studios.

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 and entry requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder, 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.

If you have any questions about the application process, your qualifications or deadlines, our Undergraduate Admissions Office will be happy to help you.

Email the Undergraduate Admissions Office:

Application process

Portfolio guidance

The portfolio guidance listed below is for 2024 entry. Portfolio guidance for 2025 entry will be updated by September 2024. 

As part of your application, you are required to submit a portfolio as evidence of your artistic ability and potential. You should begin to plan your portfolio as soon as you decide to apply.

Assessors are not necessarily expecting a showcase of final work, but rather an indication of work in progress showing how you approach an idea or subject and develop the work from initial thought, through experimentation and enquiry, to resolved work.


Portfolios are assessed by a team of academic staff who are particularly interested in how you research and develop ideas in a visual way and how you engage with your chosen discipline. This is broken down into four main areas of assessment, briefly summarised as follows:

  • Visual Research and Enquiry shows the level of your engagement in intelligent, structured visual enquiry and how well you communicate this.
  • Idea Development shows your ability to appropriately explore and develop ideas, and your level of skills in the use of materials or techniques.
  • Selection and Resolution shows how well you judge which ideas have the most appropriate potential and your ability to bring them to a level of completion appropriate to your intended outcome.
  • Contextual Awareness shows the extent of your knowledge of the subject you have applied for and how your work relates to it.

How the content of a portfolio provides evidence for the above categories will vary enormously depending on the person and the subject being applied to, and no two portfolios will be the same.

Planning and presentation

Assessors are interested in how you have decided to put your portfolio together. This means that your portfolio should be carefully planned and well presented.

Assessors will be judging your ability to edit your work, so be selective and strategic in your choice of material.

Aim to show a clear narrative or sense of the themes in your work, as well as the connections between the pieces.

If you have lots of high quality work, include it. It can show that you have talent in breadth and are hardworking and committed. If you haven’t, select your best: these key gems can show us that you know what you are good at, and how to show it. There is no need to pad out your portfolio with work you’re not happy with.

Each image can be accompanied by a small amount of text, and applicants are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity. You should avoid including titles or descriptions of the work and instead explain the ideas behind the work, the challenge undertaken or any other significant factors.

It may also be useful to explain why you have included the image in its particular category (development work, resolved work or influences). Consideration should also be given to the graphical layout of the portfolio. Remember that assessors will be looking at your work on a screen so the digital image you present to them is what they assess, so be aware of the quality of photographs and scans. It is worth the time and effort to make your work look as good as possible.

The images demonstrating your influences may be images of work or objects which have inspired or influenced your work e.g. people working in the same medium or for the same audience, now or in the past; people interested in the same subject or theme, now or in the past; natural or man-made phenomena, objects, places or events which have inspired or provoked a response.

A strong portfolio is likely to display the following:

  • Well-developed, relevant and original work.
  • Evidence of personal enquiry and direction.
  • Some consistency of thought or theme.
  • Commitment to the study of textiles.
  • Some personal and/or independent work.
  • Strong drawing skills.
What happens next?

We will contact you with our decision by mid-May. If you are made an offer, you will be invited to attend an Offer Holder Day.

Offer Holder Days typically take place in April and are opportunities for successful applicants to learn more about their subject areas and life as a student at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. Whether you visit us in person or attend a virtual Offer Holder Day, you will have the opportunity to meet with academic staff and current students from your programme, tour the studios and other facilities and attend general information sessions.

Portfolio advice video

Design portfolio guidance

Join Interior Design lecturer Gillian Treacy who will talk you through how to put together a competitive portfolio for our Design programmes, 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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