Reasons to choose the programme

You will gain intensive work experience stimulated by the real-life dynamics of agency practice and mentored by Edinburgh-based professional design agencies.   
You will be encouraged to develop your own individual style and voice. We don’t subscribe to or enforce a house style.
Our staff are practicing designers, artists and researchers who share their experience in a hands-on and supportive environment.
You will take part in a series of live projects which include collaborations with many influential clients.
In your final year you will have the chance to incorporate your design strengths into an showcase presentation of your work and at New Blood in London.

Zoe Patterson talks about the programme
Edinburgh College of Art

""What we like to say about students on our programme is – they not only leave with a degree in Graphic Design, but they also have three years’ work experience.""

Zoe Patterson, Programme Director


We encourage bold, lateral thinking coupled with a clear understanding of process, technique and business and we pride ourselves on helping graduates to be unique and individual, and 100% employable. Our aim is to produce confident and emotive designers who can successfully interpret complex briefs and grasp the subtleties of targeted and effective problem-solving.

As a student, you will learn through sustained involvement with the design process, graduating with skills spanning the wide range of engagement that contemporary graphics demands. An essential tool in this process is the esteem in which we hold the currency of ideas generated by open debate.

Student projects are constantly revised, reflecting the ever-evolving nature of the graphic design industry, and our award-winning Design Agency Project, with mentorship from industry professionals, will help you build valuable networks and prepare you for life after graduation. Our many live projects include collaborations with influential clients, including the Scottish National Blood Transfusion Service, BBC, British Airport Authority, Barrie Cashmere, Craft Scotland and The National Portrait Gallery. Being part of the School of Design also encourages collaboration with peers across the various disciplines of ECA and the wider university community. Our students are becoming increasingly vocal about the world they inhabit – issues around sustainability and ethics often expressed through experiential design have been particularly successful.

On this programme, you will develop a variety of skills, from the traditional techniques of screen print and letterpress, through to cutting-edge digital technologies. We use up-to-date digital tools, but the importance of the handmade is considered fundamental to the thinking process, and is encouraged at every opportunity.

Final year students have the chance to fully incorporate their design strengths into a final exposition of their work. There is also the opportunity to showcase work at the annual British Design and Art Direction: New Blood graduate exhibition in London.



Graphic Design graduates work in a wide range of creative career paths. The variety of projects, approaches and opportunities on the programme enable graduates to apply their knowledge and experience of the design process and their considerable skills on to many disciplines.

Typically graduates leave to become valuable members of a graphic design agency. There are extensive links with the professional world built through industry-led projects and staff research. This coupled with a range of visiting speakers, ensures that graduates are aware of the full range of career possibilities and are provided with a strong footing from which to develop their chosen career.

Previous career paths have included experiential design, packaging, advertising, digital design, interaction design, design research, marketing, retail design, exhibition design, multimedia, design management, education. Graduates may freelance or seek employment within a company they also, of course, may wish to continue their studies at postgraduate level.

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 website, 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 website on how to apply for undergraduate

If you’re applying to study on one of our Art or Design degree programmes, you’ll also be required to submit a mini portfolio. Our application guide explains what you need to submit and by when.

Art & Design: How to Apply application guide (PDF)

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

Email the Undergraduate Admissions Office:

Alumni profiles


Zoe Patterson

Programme Director, Graphic Design - BA


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.


College of Arts, Humanities & Social Sciences Undergraduate Admissions Office

Tel: +44 (0)131 650 3565