Reasons to choose the programme

This is a unique programme delivered in partnership with leading arts, science and heritage organisations.
Pursue supervised research on a topic of your choice.
You will combine research-focused study with professional on-the-job experience, preparing you for life after graduation.
Develop skills in research, project delivery, collections care and audience engagement while enhancing your professional networks.
You will study alongside a thriving community of postgraduate researchers while engaging with Edinburgh's remarkable collections.

Kirsten Lloyd and Neil Cox talk about the programme

"Drawing on resources and expertise from across the University and city, you will have the opportunity to combine research-focused study with immersion in live projects realised in partnership with leading arts, science and heritage organisations."



Develop your skills and specialist expertise for a career in curating while taking full advantage of Edinburgh’s outstanding collections and galleries. 

Drawing on resources and expertise from across the University and city, you will have the opportunity to combine research-focused study with immersion in live projects realised in partnership with leading arts, science and heritage organisations. 

As a student, you will join a strong, supportive academic and professional community while pursuing your own specialist research topic. This does not need to address issues concerning curatorship as the flexible format of the programme has been designed to support a range of interests, from the visual cultures of the Islamic world and decorative artefacts from Northern Europe in the Middle Ages, right through to early photography and contemporary art.  

If you have a background in the field – either through previous study in a related discipline or professional experience – and a desire to deepen your knowledge while expanding your vocational skills and networks, you’ll find our programme offers an ideal balance. 

Collections and Curating Practices is delivered in partnership with National Museums Scotland, the National Library of Scotland, the National Galleries of Scotland, Talbot Rice Gallery, Fruitmarket, and the University of Edinburgh's own Special Collections. 

Programme structure

The programme comprises: 

A substantial guided research placement offered to small groups of students in partnership with Edinburgh’s flagship cultural institutions. Working collaboratively, you will deliver a project defined in advance by the institution. Placements will be designed to enable you to gain direct hands-on experience in the research elements of the institutions’ work, from curating exhibitions, developing public engagement programmes or conducting research into a particular object, collection or archive.  

A compulsory core course examining the theories and methods of collecting and curatorship. Delivered by specialists drawn from across the university and the professional field, this course will enable you to develop a critical understanding of the issues and debates that define the sector, as well as enhance your knowledge of the practical aspects of curatorship and collections management. The course includes intensive workshops focused on practical training in aspects including object handling, storage, transportation and accreditation processes.  

Either one independent research essay on a topic chosen in consultation with your supervisor (the topic selected does not need to link directly to collections and curating), or two option courses selected from a wide-range offered by allied disciplines both within ECA and across the University of Edinburgh.  

A thesis or individual research project, supervised by a specialist in your chosen field.  


Opportunities and activities

Edinburgh College of Art has a formidable track record for curatorial engagements in teaching and research. You will become part of our strong academic community and will be encouraged to participate in the University’s rich programme of research seminars, colloquia and conferences. As a research student you will have access to ECA’s newly refurbished study space.  

Direct engagement with our partner institutions and their staff will provide you with valuable opportunities to develop your skills and networks in a practical setting. These experiences will be further enhanced through our masterclass programme where visiting specialists will introduce you to innovative approaches to collections research, management and engagement. 



Top image credits (from left to right)

  1. Eduardo Paolozzi, History of a Medium (1971), The University of Edinburgh Art Collection © Jonathan Clark Fine Art, Representatives of the Artist’s Estate
  2. Students and a tutor at the National Museum of Scotland, Ben Shmulevitch
  3. Melanie Gilligan The Common Sense, 2014/15, installation view. Courtesy of the artist and de Appel Arts Centre, Amsterdam.
  4. The University of Edinburgh’s art stores.
  5. Student’s examining artefacts from the University’s Collections.

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

Alumni profiles


Dr Kirsten Lloyd

Lecturer, Curatorial Theory and Practice

Programme Director, MSc by Research Collections and Curating Practices


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4118

Facilities and resources

The extensive University of Edinburgh Collections are here to facilitate teaching and research around the University. The collections, which stretch over 60 kilometres of materials, relate to the history of the University, Scotland, and the wider world.

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

Scholarships and bursaries

Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarships

  • Deadline: 1 March 2022
  • Value: £10,500
  • Eligibility: Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate Masters study at Edinburgh College of Art.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4086