Reasons to choose the programme

This is the only masters-level course in Europe for the study of musical instruments
You will have direct, hands-on access to the University’s instrument collection
The course is taught by research active expert curators
There are regular visits from leading international scholars and musicians
A large cohort of PhD students gives additional support and encouragement

Programme director Darryl Martin and students outline the programme.
Edinburgh College of Art

The programme is ideal for students who are fascinated by the technology and construction of musical instruments and how this relates to the music we play.


Musical Instruments are fascinating objects which relate to music, art, culture, technology and acoustics. 

From the outset of this postgraduate programme, you will be immersed in a world-famous collection which spans some 500 years and includes many prized and unique items.

The programme is ideal for students who are fascinated by the technology and construction of musical instruments and how this relates to the music we play.

The skills you develop in observation and analysis will prepare you for a career in a range of music-related, and research-related, areas. You will also be able to use documents and pictures to help build up a detailed knowledge of the history of instruments and their musical uses.

Areas including historical, technical, social, musical and acoustical factors are examined for each of the main instrument groups – keyboard, wind, stringed and percussion.

Graduates of the course have held positions in museums all over the world, as well as in other fields requiring skills in detailed observation and research.

Join a vibrant creative community

The University of Edinburgh is unique in Europe in offering a degree in musical instrument research.

We benefit from working with world-leading musicians, musicologists, art historians and scientist who help us to understand instruments from a wide range of points of view.

The course is taught by the curators of the collection, so you will have hands-on access to one of the most important collections of musical instruments in the world under the guidance of experts in their field.

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


Dr Darryl Martin

Principal Curator, Musical Instrument Collections


Tel: +44 (0)131 650 2123

Facilities and resources

Six purpose-built, acoustically-treated music studios, with tie-lines to a shared recording space.

Recording equipment is available to students through BookIt, the online booking system.

A huge variety of choirs, dance societies, musical theatre and film groups, orchestras, bands and world music groups.

On occasion the Reid School of Music loans audio equipment to outside organisations.

Seventeen practice rooms equipped with pianos, ideal for students requiring a private place for music practice.

Students have access to a variety of resources as well as several dedicated collections of musical instruments.

Information on the equipment available to students in the music studios and editing suites.

A 218-seat Victorian venue built in 1859. Used for regular orchestral and choral rehearsals and performances.

Located beneath Reid Concert Hall, this studio is built to record live performances in the venue.

Studio equipment and software tailored for music students to be able to record, edit, and experiment with their work.

The oldest purpose-built concert hall in Scotland, home to one of the most important historic musical instrument collections in the world.

Scholarships and bursaries

Andrew Grant Postgraduate Scholarships

  • Value: £5,000-£15,000
  • Deadline:
  • Eligibility: Scholarships available for one academic year of postgraduate study at Edinburgh College of Art.

Bucher-Fraser Scholarship (for new students)

  • Value: £5,000
  • Deadline:
  • Eligibility: Awarded to a student who is accepted for admission on a full-time, postgraduate taught Masters programme in Music. Applicants must have received an offer by the scholarship deadline.

J.S. Anderson Organ prize

  • Value: £1,000
  • Deadline:
  • Eligibility: For current full-time music students. Students wishing to enter the competition must present a programme of organ music lasting 35-40 minutes.

Jean Kennoway Howells Scholarship

  • Value: £3,000
  • Deadline:
  • Eligibility: Awarded to a student who is accepted onto a full-time, postgraduate taught Masters programme in Music.


Edinburgh College of Art Postgraduate Admissions

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 4086