Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) is an art, design, creative and performing arts school in Edinburgh, the oldest and largest in Scotland, providing higher education in art and design, architecture, history of art and music disciplines for over two thousand University of Edinburgh students. ECA has an international reputation as one of the most successful art colleges in Europe; its stated mission is to promote critical inquiry through scholarly research, learning, teaching and education in creative practice. Edinburgh College of Art is a School in the College of Humanities and Social Science, University of Edinburgh. ECA is mainly located in the Old Town of Edinburgh, overlooking the Grassmarket; the Lauriston Place campus is not far from the University of Edinburgh's George Square campus. It was ranked 1st in Art and Design in the UK in the Complete University Guide 2012.
The college was founded in 1760, and gained its present name and site in 1907. Formerly associated with Heriot-Watt University, its degrees have been issued by the University of Edinburgh since 2004. The College formally merged with the University on 1 August 2011, combining with the School of Arts, Culture and Environment and continues to exist with the name Edinburgh College of Art as an enlarged school in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. As a result, the new Edinburgh College of Art comprises not only Art, Design, Architecture and Landscape Architecture, but also History of Art and Music. In September 2011 Professor Chris Breward became Principal of Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) and Vice Principal Creative Industries & Performing Arts of the University of Edinburgh.