Five reasons to choose the programme

Combines self-directed and tutor-led research within a dynamic academic community.
Develops both critical and methodological skills in a creative environment.
Examines digital media within its broader social, cultural and theoretical contexts.
Enables you to choose your own area of research interest.
Opens up career opportunities and pathways to further, advanced research.


Are you interested in ideas? Do you enjoy the challenges of philosophy and theory? In this one-year, research-based degree programme, you will have the opportunity to experiment in the space of contemporary philosophies, using emerging ideas and debate to reflect on and interpret technological change and the social, cultural and political contexts in which it takes place.

You will be at the critical centre of a diverse range of different disciplines and media, including film, architecture, music, texts, television, magazines, mainstream and alternative art forms, and performance. As this is a research programme, support and supervision may be provided by any of the teaching staff in the School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (ESALA) and beyond.

About the programme

This programme examines theories and philosophies of digital media, political change, the mass media, computation, big data analytics, artificial intelligence, and the social and cultural contexts in which such developments take place. See relevant blog postings at

The MSc is a research degree, with some coursework, and can be completed in a year. The course content can constitute a primer for PhD study. The degree can also be taken part-time over two years.

Students of this programme will be part of a dynamic community of researchers exploring many aspects of computing: its social ramifications, social media, the world of e-commerce, e-entrepreneurship, e-learning, project-based composition and artistic works, digital architecture and urbanism, new media consumption practices, the co-creation of media, changes to the household, links between vision and sound, branded places, non-places, and more. There are currently over 50 coursework students, researchers, PhD students and staff researching in these areas.

What you will study

Our programme provides training in methods of postgraduate research, including in creative practice, as well as developing reflective skills and theoretical understanding. You will gain the confidence to respond critically to developments in digital media and to critique the commentary of others in the field, in both academic and popular literature.

You will be part of a dynamic community of around 50 researchers at all career stages exploring theories and philosophies of digital media and the many aspects of computing, including its societal impact and our understanding of identity, scale and space. You'll also be part of a new intellectual infrastructure for digital media design and art practice.

The programme includes core coursework, options, directed reading and opportunity for original research, packaged into work units, with engagement in seminars, lectures and a lively, student-led conference. We have structured the programme to allow you a great deal of freedom in choosing your own areas of research interest within digital media and culture and to work alongside students on more technical courses, some of which you can elect to take.


Digital media and culture is a dynamic field offering international opportunities for further research, including in the private sector. A Masters degree by Research is a great way to start your research career, test your appetite for a PhD, or simply to hone your critical and intellectual skills.

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

Preparing your application

Common to all research programmes are a set of research aims, a research context, a research process and a research product/outcome. The research proposal should include reference to all of these elements. All applicants for postgraduate research programmes must submit a research proposal.

Portfolios or writing samples are also required for some research degrees.

View the Architecture and Landscape Architecture guidelines (PDF)


Prof Richard Coyne

Professor of Architectural Computing


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2332

Facilities and resources

Including journals, image databases, and local collections.

At the heart of the Evolution House Learning and Research Zone, the ECA Library provides an innovative environment for learning, teaching and research resources in art and design.

The primary collection of books, periodicals, manuscripts, and research material.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4086