Our studio programme encourages practices that are speculative and reflective, encouraging work in a range of media. It is concerned with ways of learning that are experiential – embodied through and understood by the acquisition of a practice.

Students produce artworks and projects in a family of media, adapting approaches drawn from an increasingly wide array of subject disciplines. The programme also involves the theoretical study of this family of media and approaches, drawing on related fields and methods.

Media-related disciplines supported by the programme include sculpture, painting and printmaking, photography, a/v and new media. The programme also encompasses approaches to practice that are non media-specific, including intermedia, time-based arts, performance, installation, social-practice and artwriting.

The programme develops from a broad to a specialist understanding of the technical resources and validating contexts in which artists work today, drawing inspiration and nourishment from the experience of our international student cohort.

Who is it for?

The masters programme is aimed at professional artists who want to develop a more ambitious artistic practice by extending their practical, theoretical, organisational and economic knowledge. It develops from a broad to a specialist understanding of the technical resources and validating contexts in which artists work today, drawing inspiration and nourishment from the experience of our international student cohort.

Our Philosophy and Values: 

A defining aspect of our studio programme is the emphasis it places upon speculative scepticism - not proceeding from the position of knowing what art is; rather, being motivated by speculation on what it might be. We generate an atmosphere that supports mutual co-operation, a dynamic, intellectually ambitious environment in which staff and students can learn together.

Our students often work collaboratively, therefore we are very eager to select applicants based on their ability to work well as part of a creative team as much as we are interested in their artistic and academic potential. We attract students from all over the world with very different backgrounds and experiences. The focus on building a supportive creative community, on the rigorous and experimental combination of theory and practice and the international profile of the student body makes our Masters programme unique.

We offer two programmes:

1) MA (eca) in Contemporary Art Practice | 180 SCOTCAT Credits/90 ECTS | The MA programmes are one year full-time or two years part-time.

2) The MFA Contemporary Art  |  240 SCOTCAT Credits/120 ECTS | The MFA programme is two-years, full-time only. It is considered the terminal degree in art internationally.

You can either apply directly to the MFA Contemporary Art, or, if you are a full-time MA (eca) student, transfer on successful completion of the PGDip stage of your MA programme.

Programme structure

You can choose to complete an MA, or continue on to the MFA. You will work in a designated studio space, and have access to a range of studio equipment, technicians and resources, including printmaking, metal, wood, casting, painting, photography, reprographic and digital facilities. As well as working on your preferred media and approaches, you’ll collaborate with your fellow artists on critical, creative and curatorial projects. This is your opportunity to integrate the fields of art practice and culminates in an exhibition of your own practice.

A defining aspect of our Masters studio programme is that it places emphasis upon questioning accepted notions of artistic production as a means of encouraging you to develop a highly ambitious art practice. To this end, we seek to provide  support for students wishing to pursue practices in established media of painting, printmaking and sculpture while fully engaging with the ever changing context of emerging media and innovative forms of critical and organisational praxis.

As such, the studio programme has the following specific aims;
• To undertake a systematic examination of major international art practices.
• To enable you to analyse the major strands of theory and criticism that inform your practice.
• To explore some of the principal critical and theoretical positions informing the interpretation of your work and its organisational contexts.
• To provide you with a set of competencies, skills and understanding that will enable you to pursue a rewarding life as an artist.

Studio is concerned with production. It with your understanding of the making and unmaking, with the successes and failures of your practice. Lectures and seminars initially help you to focus on the ways you conduct your research, on how you develop a sense of the breadth and depth of cultural practices and how you formulate a creative and discursive response to them. It encourages you equally to take risks with your work and to develop a more resolved methodology that imaginatively combines ‘thinking’ and ‘doing’.

Learning and continuous assessment takes place in studio, our project space, in group seminars, crits, tutorials, via the VLE and through set assessment tasks wherein you are encouraged to exchange ideas relating to your working process. [Courses: Practices, Studio, Sites]

Sites is concerned with distribution. It improves your ability to creatively manipulate the ways in which your work is distributed, represented and consumed. It is concerned with how presentation may be best embodied and integrated though innovative curatorial practice. Learning takes place in lectures and workshops, in our partner institutions, in the Project Space, online, offcampus, on-site and through the group organisation of a number of exhibitions.

You are assessed on your ability to plan, implement and realise an inventive exhibitions of your practice within a group context, and to collaborate with your fellow students on imaginatively promoting contemporary art to a range of audiences. Organising exhibitions will allow you to experiment and showcase your work and give you valuable experience of building a strong social dynamic. This aspect of postgraduate study relates directly to the professional development of your career as an artist, helping you to develop more dynamic means of supporting your ideas and giving you the confidence to mature as artist.

What do we do?

The School of Art contributes to Edinburgh’s contemporary art sector. Students benefit directly from our partners’ teaching and research input into their work, as well as from the considerable resources and experience they offer. Postgraduates exhibit their work in galleries in Edinburgh such as the Embassy Gallery as well as in other venues in and beyond Scotland.

The School invites prominent artists, critics and curators to deliver our Friday Talks. Visitors also run workshops for our masters students and lead critiques. Additionally, the Embassy run a professional development programme for our students that features regular guests.

What could you do?

The programme will enable you to develop an ambitious art practice as well as provide you with the organisational and economic knowledge required to thrive as a self-employed artist. You will also be qualified to teach studio art in higher education and to work in the contemporary art sector.

Five reasons to join us

- In addition to your own studio space, you are given access to a wide range of studio equipment, technicians and resources, including printmaking, metal, wood, casting, painting, photography, reprographic and digital facilities.

- Contemporary art is a moving target; staff and students engage in new practical and theoretical research, learning together. We nurture a democracy of creative experience, encouraging you to make your personal imagination social.

- Our staff are a mixture of professional artists, artwriters, critics, visual culture scholars and curators – enabling you to combine the practices of making, writing, theorising and organisation in their widest sense.

-  You will build and join a supportive community of international artists in our masters studios, one founded on the rigorous and experimental combination of studio, curatorial and theoretical practice.

- You will benefit directly from our partners’ teaching and research input, as well as from the considerable resources and experience they offer, allowing you to fully contribute to the creative, intellectual and social life of Scotland’s celebrated contemporary art scene.


Permanent Faculty includes a mixture of practicing artists, critics, visual culture scholars and curators. Many members of staff combine two or more of these roles bringing an exceptional diversity of expertise and experience to our postgraduate programmes.
John Beagles, Keith Farquhar, Torsten Lauschmann,  Andrew Sneddon, Ruth Pelzer, Kristin Mojsiewicz, Rachel Maclean and Deborah Jackson
Visitors to the Masters in recent years have included: Sue Tompkins, Stephen Sutcliffe, Michelle Hannah, Erica Eyres, Dave Sherry, Rob Churm, Ilana Halperin, Michael Wilkinson, Clara Ursitti, Michael White, Andy Cranston, Stacy Boldrick, Sarah Tripp, Anne Colvin, Guy Veale,  and Anthony Schrag.
Jihoon Son MFA 2017Jihoon Son MFA 2017
Cat Meighan MA 2015Cat Meighan MA 2015
Kirsty Macleod MA 2015Kirsty Macleod MA 2015
C19 Studio PlanC19 Studio Plan
Installation of Masters Show, Talbot Rice Gallery, June 2010Installation of Masters Show, Talbot Rice Gallery, June 2010
Crit, MFA Studio, Edinburgh, October 2009 (Stuart Fallon)Crit, MFA Studio, Edinburgh, October 2009 (Stuart Fallon)
Project Space, Shandra LamaunteProject Space, Shandra Lamaunte