Edinburgh College of Art


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History: Although Edinburgh College of Art traces its roots back to 1729, it was founded as the Drawing Academy in 1760. In 1821, it became the Edinburgh School of Arts, changing its name 30 years later to the Watt Institution and School of Arts. Edinburgh College of Art was founded in 1907. It became part of the University of Edinburgh in August 2011 but retains its own identity.

Address: The main building is situated on Lauriston Place overlooking Edinburgh Castle, with new facility Evolution House on West Port near the Grassmarket.

Ambience: A great mix of traditional and contemporary. Close to almost everything - cinemas, shops, libraries, galleries, clubs and restaurants. Main building is a glorious piece of neo-classicism, situated in the centre of the city’s Old Town with great views of the castle and the Pentland Hills.

Who's the boss? The current principal of ECA is Chris Breward who joined in September 2011 from his position as Head of Research at the V&A. His specialist interest is the history of design and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. He succeeds Professor Ian Howard, painter and printmaker, artist of international standing, Royal Scottish Academician and winner of the Chicago Prize 2000.

Prospectus: 0131 221 6027 or view the website here.

UCAS code: E58

What you need to know

Easy to get into? Usually at least 240 UCAS entry points needed for the BA (Hons) degrees in Art or Design, and three Bs at A-level (or four Bs at Scottish Highers) for most honours degrees. Primary emphasis is on portfolio. Some exceptional students may be admitted on the basis of their portfolios even if they do not have the requisite academic qualifications. All BAs are four years in length and progression to the second year depends on successfully passing the first.

Vital statistics: With small specialist institution status and around 1,600 students, the college is one of the largest and oldest art schools in Europe and the oldest Drawing Academy in Great Britain. Students travel from over 60 countries around the world to study here. The majority of teaching staff are practising artists, designers and architects. Offers an array of courses from painting, sculpture, photography, jewellery, fashion, film and animation to architecture and landscape architecture.

Added value: Degrees are validated and awarded by the University of Edinburgh. The two institutions fully merged in August 2011, allowing students to study a wider range of subjects. Consequentially, ECA has combined with the University’s School of Arts, Culture and Environment to form an enlarged department containing Art, Design, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, History of Art and Music. Many opportunities for international exchange.

Teaching: Awarded the top 'broad confidence' category by the QAA in Scotland for the 2010 institutional review, with standards still considered high by the year-on review in January 2011.

Research: The Edinburgh School of Architecture, which combines researchers from the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh College of Art, came top for Scotland in research in architecture and landscape architecture in the Research Assessment Exercise.

Any accommodation? New students are entitled to live in University of Edinburgh accommodation. Catered halls go for between £120 and £226 per week, while self-catering ranges between £56 for a twin and £101 per week for an en-suite.

Cheap to live there? Unfortunately not. The average cost of a single room in a private flat is about £90 per week but head to cheaper, more student-friendly areas for lower prices of around £75.

Transport links: Edinburgh is easy to reach by air, road and rail. Public transport is good.

Fees: Students from Scotland and the EU are charged £1,820 per year, with undergraduates from the UK required to pay £9,000 per year. Overseas students must pay £17,500 per year of study. Scottish students can apply to the SAAS for a tuition fee grant.

Bursaries: None offered by the college but several are available through the university.

The fun stuff

Nightlife: A vibrant student and arts scene in Edinburgh. The ECA has its own nightspot and music venue, the Wee Red Bar. Annual Festivals include the Edinburgh International Film Festival in June and Edinburgh Festival Fringe and the Art Festival in August. ECA students can make use of the University of Edinburgh's facilities.

Price of a pint: £3.38 on average in Edinburgh, with cheaper drinks deals at the union.

Sporting reputation: No independent entry in the BUCS league, but the University of Edinburgh ranked 6th out of 148 universities and colleges in 2012/13. The University of Edinburgh's Pleasance Sports Centre holds one of the largest gyms in Scotland.

Glittering alumni: John Maxwell, Anne Redpath, Elizabeth Blackadder and Eduardo Paolozzi: all foremost Scottish artists; Sir Basil Spence, architect.