The core of learning is project-based according to a unit system made up of eight architectural design studios (ADS) with a unique set of concerns, methods and critical frameworks. Each ADS has approximately sixteen students with first- and second-year students working alongside each other.
First year students work on a live project, and a studio project within a pedagogical framework established by studio tutors. These projects form the foundation for the technical studies course and fulfil RIBA GC1, GC8 and GC9. The studio is complemented by history & theory and media studies courses. The College-wide CHS course provides a broader social and cultural context related to the design disciplines and fine arts.
Second-year students work on a project-based thesis compromising a design brief and design project. The year culminates with an exhibition of work at the degree show.
The RCA provides a unique environment for postgraduate art and design students to reflect upon their own practice, and to engage with students from their own and other disciplines. The role of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) is to support the studio programmes in enabling these critical engagements to take place. The courses offered by CHS to first year studio-based MA students propose an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.
In the autumn and spring terms there are a series of College-wide seminars and lectures. The autumn term series will relate to your particular discipline (though it is possible to elect to join a series being offered to students on other programmes) whereas the spring term series will be more broad-based and cross-disciplinary in nature.
In the spring and summer terms, a CHS tutor will give you individual tutorials to support the development of a dissertation which is submitted *at the end of the Summer Term.* The dissertation should be between 6,000–10,000 words in length – this is a major piece of work and you will be not be able to submit for the Final Examination until you have passed this assessment.
City Design is a new 15-month MA programme starting in September 2017. The programme is aimed at a new generation of architects and urban designers interested in the radical transformation of cities and the societies that are shaped by them. It proposes a new multi-scalar approach to urban design education that unites architectural, technological and scientific research.
Project-based studio work forms the core of activity for the the first three terms, with complementary technical, historical, theoretical and case study seminars occurring in parallel. Group work is encouraged and considered an important introduction to the inherently collaborative process of city design. During Term 4 students complete an Independent Research Project (60 credits) as an individual submission where they will have the opportunity to work with and get feedback on their detailed design proposal/thesis from urban and city design practitioners. Workshops focus on new spatial epistemologies, especially systems of representation, visualisation and calculation. History theory subjects examine alternative models for the city throughout history, focusing on the way social and political ambitions have become spatialised.
Environmental Architecture is a new 15-month MA programme starting in September 2017. The programme is aimed at an emerging generation of designers interested in the widespread and far reaching transformation of environments and landscapes. It proposes a new multi-scalar approach to environmental and landscape education that unites spatial, technological and scientific research. The course is design led and project-based as well as connected to practice in London through an innovative partnership scheme.
Project-based studio work forms the core of activity for the the first three terms, with complementary technical studies seminars and workshops occurring in parallel. Group work is encouraged and considered an important introduction to the inherently collaborative process of architecture and environmental design. During Term 4 students complete an Independent Research Project (60 credits) as an individual submission where they will have the opportunity to work with and get feedback on their detailed design proposal from landscape design professionals, environmental scientists, lawyers, consultants and activists. Workshops focus on new spatial epistemologies, especially systems of representation, visualisation and calculation. History theory subjects examine alternative models of ecology, landscape and environmental thinking throughout history, focusing on the way social and political ambitions have become spatialised
The School of Architecture currently provides research specialism in the areas of Architecture & Media, City Design, Social Movements and Future of Work, which are seen as essential to contemporary architectural and urban research. However, the programme welcomes strong applications for other fields of interest as well as traditional academic research.
The Master’s of Research (MRes) RCA is a full-time, one-year programme that offers early-career research students the opportunity to develop and demonstrate mastery in the theory, methods and practice of research within an art and design environment. MRes RCA degrees are offered in four Schools (Communication, Design, Fine Art and Humanities) and are designed to provide early-career researchers with the intellectual, technical and professional tools with which to complete high-quality research projects, whether at doctoral level or within the cultural and creative industries, working across traditional sociocultural, disciplinary and sectoral boundaries.
MRes RCA programmes are delivered through a combination of: structured learning, comprising of lectures and master-classes by practitioners and senior academics; workshop classes based around a set task (a ‘brief’); tutorled seminar classes where students will be asked to reflect on material that they have read or studied in advance; and project assignments that support the structured teaching programme.
The programme provides students with the intellectual, technical and professional tools to pursue their own independent research within academia or industry, drawing on the experience and expertise of world-leading researchers across the College. The ethos of the programme will be collaborative, so students should be prepared to engage fully within their peer group, and with established and emerging research communities throughout the College.
In the development of intellectual engagement, students will be encouraged to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the principles of scholarly research within art, design and the humanities; identify robust research questions that interrogate fundamental questions of knowledge creation and exchange; critically analyse and evaluate complex research data; and situate their own research questions in the wider academic context of their field, understanding how their own research builds on and contributes to existing knowledge.
In the development of technical skills, students will be encouraged to: demonstrate an advanced understanding of the tools, methods, theories and techniques of research in Art and Design; experiment in the development, evaluation and presentation of complex research projects; effectively communicate the aims, methodologies and outcomes of their research to a range of different audiences; and effectively explore and articulate the potential of their research to achieve impact beyond the academic sphere.
For professional development, students will be encouraged to: take responsibility for directing their studies through setting goals and managing time and resources effectively; participate as an active, thoughtful and responsible member of a research community; demonstrate an understanding of and sensitivity to the principles and policies of ethical research; effectively plan and manage a complex research project; define their professional identity through self-reflection informed by theoretical, social and cultural awareness; engage constructively with research partners in order to form collaborations that benefit both their research and the partner organisation