Suspended for September 2021 entry

This programme has been temporarily suspended for September 2021 entry. You will not be able to apply for this programme at this time.

Reasons to choose the programme

Designated work spaces for all students in spectacular studios.
Regular life drawing classes, collaborative work, and professional practice.
Advanced development of studio practice and theoretical study.
Access to excellent printmaking workshop and digital arts computing facilities.
Advanced exploration of book arts, text and image, picture books, and authorial illustration.


We are committed to offering a high-quality experience to all our students. We are working to minimise the impact of Covid-19, but we have reluctantly decided that we will be unable to offer this programme for entry in 2021.


MA & MFA Illustration offers a challenging synthesis of theory and practice for an international group of masters students.   

Students have individual work-spaces in which they explore contemporary issues and the living traditions of this subject. Research Proposals are written in the early weeks, describing ideas and contexts for individual projects. Students are guided in these proposals and they are also given set projects and collaborative tasks at various points of the academic year.

Postgraduate study of this subject allows for a deeper analysis of themes and texts, and enables students to build innovative and focused portfolios. Often, these students will have ambitions for the professional sphere, or they may wish to pursue doctoral studies. In each case, there is a sustained level of research, allied to technical ways of working and conceptual thinking. There is a Life Drawing studio with a series of classes, and various digital clusters throughout the campus. The academic work naturally encapsulates traditional media and information technology. Theoretical work underpins all studio practice at many levels, and there is a series of visiting lecturers from the professional and academic worlds. We welcome a range of approaches to Illustration, and the ways in which this subject relates to design and the fine arts. Illustration Masters students share studios with those in Graphic Design, with which there is a natural affinity, and we have also collaborated with other academic subjects in ECA and the wider community of the University of Edinburgh. Recently, such collaborations have included and exhibition at the Scottish Parliament, a set of finely printed postcards depicting aspects of Edinburgh for the Heart of Midlothian project. There are field trips for drawing and visual research, with additional natural history projects. Recent collaborations have included the Edinburgh Filmhouse and various University publications. Additionally, there are competitions and opportunities to exhibit at points during the year. These include Penguin, the V&A, Folio Society, 3x3 and the Macmillan Children’s Book Competition.


By the time you graduate you’ll be ready to progress to a wide-range of exciting careers from working as a picture book illustrator, a designer, freelance illustrator or within a leading agency.


Mike Windle

Programme Director - MFA/MA Illustration, Lecturer


Facilities and resources

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

A range of printing, photocopying, scanning and related services are available to students to support projects, events and exhibitions.

The printmaking suite provides a host of facilities for traditional and contemporary printmaking processes.

Scholarships and bursaries

Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarships

  • Deadline: 1 March 2021
  • Value: £10,000
  • 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