The centre on Holyrood Road will provide postgraduate research students from all three Colleges with new areas for formal and informal study.
It will offer postgraduate students bookable spaces for events, conferences and group work.
Working with Consarc Conservation, the university will add a stone clad extension over three floors to aid circulation and allow the required level of accommodation to be delivered.
Kai O’Doherty, vice president societies and activities at Edinburgh University Students’ Association, said: “The redevelopment of the Old Kirk is a welcome move towards creating a community-building study space where postgraduates from across all colleges can get together to meet, collaborate and work together. The involvement of postgraduate students in shaping the plans, and in running the building once built, will only strengthen the sense of ownership necessary for its success.”
Professor Jane Norman, vice-principal people and culture, added: “I am delighted to see these plans for the Old Kirk taking shape. This redevelopment will provide a superb space for postgraduate students to study, work together and relax, as well as providing a venue for student led postgraduate events, enhancing interdisciplinary working and the student experience.”
Construction of the Old Kirk Postgraduate Student Centre is set to begin at the end of this year. The centre is scheduled to open in early 2020.
The development is part of a £200m investment being made over the next eight years to dramatically improve facilities for students.