Reasons to choose the programme

We will nurture your personal filmmaking language, encouraging and enabling you to make work which is genuinely original and based on your own way of looking at the world.
You can specialise in documentary, drama or experimental film while gaining training in a wide range of other filmmaking skills and approaches.
We work very much as a community and you will have the opportunity to collaborate with others, including within industry.
All lecturers work within the industry on an international level and bring depth of expertise and practical experience to their teaching.
We are an industry facing course with strong connections within the Scottish and UK audio-visual sectors, supporting students into a wide range of careers. 


In film, we have to battle against generalities: generalities of thought, of seeing, of making. In order to bring a fresh vision to our work, we have to re-locate the specifics of experience, observation and thought which allows us to make work which is genuinely original and based on one’s own way of looking at the world.

Our programme is based on constantly interrogating and learning how to evolve a personal filmmaking language and approach to visual storytelling in its broadest sense. You can choose to specialise in documentary, drama or experimental film, but we encourage everyone to take part in workshops to learn other skills and extend their knowledge of filmmaking and its contexts. Most students graduate as directors, some as cinematographers or producers, but all are expected to develop secondary skills. We run practical workshops in camera (including lens training and 16 mm), sound recording and sound design and editing, as well as directing, writing and documentary making.

We work very much as a community and all undergraduates, as well as directing their own work, collaborate on camera, production or sound on Senior productions, which is an excellent way of learning. All our lecturers work within the industry on an international level. In addition, we have many speakers and workshops led by industry professionals and also collaborate with broadcasters and institutions on commissions and placements.


Our programmes have strong industrial pathways to ensure the most successful and meaningful careers for graduates. You are encouraged to participate in national and international showcase events appropriate to your programme.

How to apply and entrance requirements

If you'd like to study on an undergraduate programme at Edinburgh College of Art, you must apply through UCAS, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service. You can find out how to do this on the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder, where you'll also be able to

  • see the structure of the programme and what you will study each year
  • see detailed entrance requirements for each programme on the Degree Finder
  • get information on what to expect after you apply
  • find out about fees
  • find out where to go for further advice and guidance

Take me to the University of Edinburgh Degree Finder


Portfolio Guidance

As part of your application, you are required to submit a portfolio as evidence of your artistic ability and potential. You should begin to plan your portfolio as soon as you decide to apply.

Assessors are not necessarily expecting a showcase of final work, but rather an indication of work in progress showing how you approach an idea or subject and develop the work from initial thought, through experimentation and enquiry, to resolved work.

In these short guides, you will find details of what we are looking for and how your work will be assessed. You will also find some general tips on how to plan and present your work and what makes a strong portfolio in different subject areas.

Please ensure you allow time for the technical aspects of portfolio submission. Take time to familiarise yourself with the submission portal once it opens in December (you’ll get a link to it after you apply via UCAS), and work out what you will need to do to prepare your images for upload.

Guidance on submitting your portfolio digitally, including answers to common questions, can be found here:



Portfolios are assessed by a team of academic staff who are particularly interested in how you research and develop ideas in a visual way and how you engage with your chosen discipline. This is broken down into four main areas of assessment, briefly summarised as follows:

  • Visual Research and Enquiry shows the level of your engagement in intelligent, structured visual enquiry and how well you communicate this.
  • Idea Development shows your ability to appropriately explore and develop ideas, and your level of skills in the use of materials or techniques.
  • Selection and Resolution shows how well you judge which ideas have the most appropriate potential and your ability to bring them to a level of completion appropriate to your intended outcome.
  • Contextual Awareness shows the extent of your knowledge of the subject you have applied for and how your work relates to it.

How the content of a portfolio provides evidence for the above categories will vary enormously depending on the person and the subject being applied to, and no two portfolios will be the same.


Planning and Presentation

Assessors are interested in how you have decided to put your portfolio together. This means that your portfolio should be carefully planned and well presented.

Assessors will be judging your ability to edit your work, so be selective and strategic in your choice of material.

Aim to show a clear narrative or sense of the themes in your work, as well as the connections between the pieces.

If you have lots of high quality work, include it. It can show that you have talent in breadth and are hardworking and committed. If you haven’t, select your best: these key gems can show us that you know what you are good at, and how to show it. There is no need to pad out your portfolio with work you’re not happy with.

Each image can be accompanied by a small amount of text, and applicants are strongly encouraged to make use of this opportunity. You should avoid including titles or descriptions of the work and instead explain the ideas behind the work, the challenge undertaken or any other significant factors.

It may also be useful to explain why you have included the image in its particular category (development work, resolved work or influences). Consideration should also be given to the graphical layout of the portfolio. Remember that assessors will be looking at your work on a screen so the digital image you present to them is what they assess, so be aware of the quality of photographs and scans. It is worth the time and effort to make your work look as good as possible.


With the exception of BA (Hons) Film and Television, all portfolios require:

  • up to 10 images of your development/sketchbook work (minimum of 5 images)
  • up to 10 images of your resolved work (minimum of 5 images)
  • up to 5 images which demonstrate your influences (minimum of 2 images)

You are encouraged to provide a 500 word (at the most) supporting and/or explanatory introduction to your work at the start of your portfolio, rather than using the text space provided alongside each image. It is much easier to understand your work in this format.

The images demonstrating your influences may be images of work or objects which have inspired or influenced your work e.g. people working in the same medium or for the same audience, now or in the past; people interested in the same subject or theme, now or in the past; natural or man-made phenomena, objects, places or events which have inspired or provoked a response.


The portfolio is made up of written answers to three questions (below) and a short film. The film should consist of a dramatic, documentary or experimental work. The film should be no more than five minutes long and ideally be a complete work, or else a strong excerpt that shows your ability to express a story or concept through audio-visual material. If your film is not in English it should include English subtitles. All submitted portfolio clips must be uploaded via one digital video file (or URL link to it) and be readily accessible (e.g. are not password protected) and must not contain copyrighted material.

We are looking for a clear understanding of what it means to employ film/video as a mean of artistic expression and as such portfolios consisting of showreels, music videos, travel reports or storyboards are unlikely to meet our criteria.

  • What kind or research and preparation did you carry out to produce this film? (Maximum 250 words)
  • Give a short description of the two main roles that interest you in a film production. What do you consider to be the main responsibilities and activities of these departments? Why are you interested in performing these roles? (Maximum 250 words)
  • If you were given the assignment to make a short 3-minute film with the theme ‘Cultural Diversity’, how would you carry out the research, plan the budget and realise the production of this short film? Present a concise and clear plan. (Maximum 500 words)


If you have any questions about the application process, your qualifications or deadlines, our Undergraduate Admissions Office will be happy to help you.

Email the Undergraduate Admissions Office:


What happens next?

We will contact you with our decision by mid-May. If you are made an offer, you will be invited to attend an Offer Holder Day.

Offer Holder Days typically take place in April and are opportunities for successful applicants to learn more about their subject areas and life as a student at Edinburgh College of Art and the University of Edinburgh. Whether you visit us in person or attend a virtual Offer Holder Day, you will have the opportunity to meet with academic staff and current students from your programme, tour the studios and other facilities and attend general information sessions.


Alumni profiles


Tracey Fearnehough

Programme Director, Film & Television - BA (Hons)


Tel: +44 (0) 131 651 5867

Lili Sandelin

Programme Director, Film & Television - BA (Hons)


Facilities and resources

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

The Film and TV studio is a large flexible space used for technical workshops, as well as for small set builds and studio productions.


College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565