Five reasons to choose the programme

Critical and research-based architectural engagement with the contemporary city. 
International reputation for investigative and creative pedagogies aligned with staff research practices.   
Critical enquiry through making, and attention to materiality, situation and presence through traditional disciplinary practices alongside innovative techniques and technologies. 
Exceptional tuition and guidance supplemented by input from eminent international architects, educators and scholars. 
World class facilities in the form of studios, workshops and digital laboratories. 


The two-year Master of Architecture (MArch) programme offers a unique design and research-led learning experience leading to exemption from the ARB/RIBA part 2 examination. Based in one of the most beautiful and architecturally important cities in the world, you’ll join an exciting and dynamic programme combining flexibility with academic rigour. 

Our programme has a reputation for its focus on architecture and the city and as a student you’ll play an active role in projects linked to current debates about cities and specific sites within them. You’ll benefit from a series of guest lectures and workshops from eminent practitioners and scholars. And you’ll also have the option to choose from one of two learning pathways. No matter which pathway you choose, you’ll be guided in the creation of intelligent and creative architectural design at all times, informed by thematically directed studios. 

As a student, you’ll take advantage of studios and workshops recognised as amongst the best anywhere. Our workshops include up-to-date technologies, such as laser-cutting and rapid 3D prototyping machines, and you’ll access computer suites kitted out with the latest software and large format printing machines for digital design development and output. 

Choose to come to Edinburgh and you’ll find a dynamic environment in which to engage creatively with the many facets of contemporary architectural discourse and practice. 

Programme structure

The MArch is delivered through thematically-focussed elective design studios, an ideal platform for graduate-level research-led teaching. Complimentary courses in theory, technology and professional practice are offered to develop your core professional competencies. Uniquely, the programme offers two curricular pathways, allowing you to complete either a one or two-year design-studio thesis, prioritising either breadth or depth of enquiry. 

Design studios

The design studio is the heart of the MArch curriculum, and accounts for 160 credits of the programme. As a student, you will have the opportunity to explore different design approaches, and to develop your own specialism, by choosing from a range of design studio options. Each studio is led by a dedicated academic staff member whose expertise and research agenda frame the themes of investigation, and typically involves a field trip to sites of national or international interest. 


Applications open in October and will close by the end of July . Late applications may be considered, depending on applicant numbers and the availability of places. We strongly advise early application as the programme is frequently over-subscribed. For guidance on preparing your Portfolio visit the following link: Portfolio guidance. For guidance on preparing your application see the following link: Preparing your application. For any inquiries relating to applications contact

Curriculum pathways 

The MArch design studios operate through one of two curriculum pathways, chosen by the student on arrival in Edinburgh. Students on the Modular Pathway will develop two, independent year-long design studio projects; students on the Integrated Pathway will develop one design thesis project over the two-years of the MArch programme. Examples of work completed in previous MArch programmes can be viewed through the collection of degree dhow catalogues available here: MArch Degree Show Catalogues 

Modular Pathway 

The Modular Pathway provides you with the opportunity to choose from a selection of independent, year-long design studios. A range of different studios will be offered each cycle, exploring urban and rural sites of national and international significance, structured through themes related to staff expertise and research interests. Over the course of the programme, you will take two of these studios, sampling a range of topics and methods. 

Previous Modular Pathway studios have explored Kyoto, Paris, London, Copenhagen, Wroclaw, Córdoba, Klaksvik, Edinburgh, Palermo, Naples, Reykjavik, Bath, Santiago de Compostela and the Randstad. 

The MArch modular studios will be open to both 1st and 2nd year students, offering opportunities for peer learning between cohorts. While offering student choice, the two years of study also provide a coherent pedagogic arc. The Modular Pathway allows you to complete a highly resolved thesis project while developing a portfolio typified by breadth of enquiry. 

Integrated Pathway 

The Integrated Pathway, unique to the MArch programme at Edinburgh College of Art, is a two-year long pathway anchored typically around a particular city or territory. Focused on themes associated with these sites, this pathway will lead you through a series of architectural studies and design projects that allow you to engage the full range of architectural scales; from the urban strategy right down to the detail in a comprehensive project. The pathway emphasizes research-led teaching and design. 

Previous Integrated Pathway studios have explored Calcutta, Havana, Manhattan, Mumbai, Athens, Tokyo, Olbia, Lisbon, Nicosia, Venice, Florence, Cadiz, Warsaw, Shanghai and Valletta. 

Studio options for 2019/20 

Island Territories vi: Manhattan: scapeland (studio leaders: Adrian Hawker and Victoria Clare Bernie) 

City Fragments: Neapolitan Porosities (studio leaders: Chris French and Maria Mitsoula) 

Superinfrastructures. Supercities. SuperDutch.  (studio leaders: Cristina Nan, Michael Lewis and Jonathan Lynn) 

Fire Space: London (studio leaders: Liam Ross and Tolulope Onabolu) 

Ecstatic Objects: Santiago de Compostela (studio leaders: Mark Dorrian and Ana Bonet Miro) 

PARA-Situation [Ahmedabad] (studio leaders: Dorian Wisniewski and Kevin Adams) 

Complimentary courses 

The remaining 80 credits comprise four compulsory non-studio courses. Architectural Technology Research (20 credits) emulates the role of the researcher-practitioner, recognising that most architectural projects necessitate a level of technological investigation as a prerequisite to successful integrated design. The course runs throughout Semester 1 with a series of trigger lectures on contemporary architectural technology and environmental issues. 

Studies in Contemporary Architectural Theory (20 credits) runs in Semester 2, and focuses on reading and discussing contemporary theoretical texts on a range of recent issues and debates within architectural theory and criticism, drawing on historical and inter-disciplinary texts as necessary. The course deepens and diversifies the study of theory, equipping students with a close knowledge of areas of particular interest and concern to them. Structured through a series of thematic options, this course gives students the opportunity for close engagement with key topics in current architectural and cultural theory. Instead of the traditional lecture-based survey course, students work in thematically organised groups, led by staff with special expertise in the material. This allows for more active student participation, fosters the nuanced interpretation and debate of issues, and promotes a multi-perspectival approach to the complex field of contemporary theory. Seminars maintain a productive relation to the urban directed concerns of the MArch programme. 

In the second year of the MArch programme, lecture and workshop-based course Architectural Management, Practice and Law (20 credits) aims to develop the student's understanding of the professional requirements of an architect in practice. The course is intended, in part, as a preparation for fulfilling the requirements of the Part 3 Examination in Professional Practice and Management. The course is delivered through a series of lectures presented by Architects and related professionals involved in the creation of the built environment. The lectures are intended to present the student with a range of knowledge which can then be built on and developed by further reading. In Semester 4 of the programme, two complementary courses focus on communicating work produced through the MArch programme.  

The Design Report course (10 credits) asks students to produce a comprehensive design report that documents in detail one of the projects that the student has completed during the programme, setting out the research and design development undertaken, incorporating images including the key representations of the project itself, allowing readers to follow the student's study process, allowing an understanding of the material examined, and decisions taken.  

The Academic Portfolio course (10 credits) asks students to curate the outcomes of academic work undertaken during the programme and present it in the form of an integrated portfolio, addressing the ARB Part 2 criteria, but also focusing on an aspect of practice that is often given inadequate attention by students of architecture: by thematising the portfolio, this module establishes it as a design issue in its own right. 

Visiting Contributions 

The MArch programme invites a number of visitors to the school as invited critics and esteemed visiting Professors and Fellows. Previous Simpson Visiting Professors include: Peter Salter, Stan Allen, Michael Webb, Wang Shu and Lu Wenyu, Alexander Brodsky, Peter Wilson, Peter Eisenmann, Mike Cadwell, Diane Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Inaki Abalos, Alberto Pérez-Gomez, Paul Carter, Daniel Libeskind and Homa Farjadi. Previous Geddes Visiting Fellows include: Luis Callejas, Nicholas de Monchaux, Andrew Herscher, Perry Kulper, Catherine Ingraham, Anuradha Mather and Dilip da Cunha and Philippe Rahm. 

Potential New Programme

We would like to hear your views on a potential new postgraduate opportunity in 'Architecture, Landscape and Environment'. Please fill out our short survey.

Take Survey


Architecture students gain excellent skills in design, spatial awareness, problem-solving and project-based production, which combine into a strong and adaptable skill set. Our MArch degree is the second stage in a process that will enable you to register and practice as a professional architect in the UK. 

How to apply and entrance 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

Take me to the University of Edinburgh website on how to apply for postgraduate study


Adrian Hawker

Senior Lecturer, Architectural Design (Contemporary Practice) Programme Director - MArch


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2312

Facilities and resources

Welding torches, a forge, forming and shaping tools, and a 1-ton gantry crane with access to main workshop areas.

We have model workshops in both the Hunter Building and Minto House. Here you can work with machinery and hand tools for the cutting, shaping, and general fabrication of woods and metals.

This large wood workshop hosts a huge range of machinery and hand tools for the cutting, shaping, and general fabrication of woods, as well as metals, plastics, and cardboard.

Students at the University of Edinburgh have access to a range of library resources across the campus and online.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4086