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The University of Edinburgh: Modern and Contemporary Art: History, Curating, Criticism

Institution The University of Edinburgh View institution profile
Department Edinburgh College of Art
Study type Taught


This programme will deepen your knowledge and understanding of the history and theory of modern and contemporary art, and prepare you for further research and/or a range of careers in the art world. The programme focuses on academic study and is taught by research-active staff who specialise in a range of subjects that shape the field internationally.

Core courses

There are two compulsory courses:

  • Research, Theories and Methods (Semester 1)

  • Cultures and Politics of Display (Semester 2)

Option courses

There is a selection of option courses that address contemporary art theory and attend to the complexities of modern art and contemporary art theory and practice as well as of the contexts where art is experienced.

Option courses allow you to acquire specialist knowledge on a subject that relates to the focus of this Masters. Normally, the optional internship is available as an option course in Semester 2.

Option courses vary annually depending on the availability of staff and/or the update of the material following research in the field.


Your work culminates in a supervised dissertation of around 15,000 words on a subject of your choice that relates to the focus of the Masters.

Learn from specialists

Academic staff teaching on the Masters are research-active and, in many cases, present substantial work in their field and/or lead their fields. An external Fellow in Contemporary Art Theory and Curating, a leading voice in the field, shares his/her experience with students as part of the Semester 2 core course classes in March.

There are also optional Internships in the cultural sector in Scotland. Moreover, extracurricular research seminars will introduce you to emergent trends and world-class researchers.


University of Edinburgh 


Inspiring the world since 1583 
University of EdinburghThe University of Edinburgh is one of the world's top universities, consistently ranked in the world top 50, and placed 16th in the 2022 QS World University Rankings. Our entrepreneurial and cross-disciplinary culture attracts not only students but also staff from some 156 countries, creating a unique Edinburgh experience.

We provide a stimulating working, learning, and teaching environment with access to excellent facilities and attract the world's best, from Nobel Prize winning laureates to future explorers, pioneers and inventors.

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