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Graduate Diploma Art & Design

Online Royal College of Art    Postgraduate Courses

Full time September Other 30 weeks full time

About the course

An interdisciplinary studio-based learning experience.

The Graduate Diploma Art & Design prepares you for Master’s study in Art and Design. We focus on developing proficiency in the independent learning methods and practices of art and design, and on introducing you to the role and influence of art and design in the world today.

We aim to make you better informed about the study options available to you, as well as the possible career paths that you might follow beyond graduation.

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Entry Requirements

Prospective Diploma in Art & Design applicants are likely to be:

Those who have the required educational background to go on to Master’s study, but who require greater proficiency in the English language.
Those who do not have an undergraduate background in art and design, but who can demonstrate potential in their chosen discipline of study.
Those for whom their undergraduate studies did not adequately prepare them for Master’s study at the RCA
Those who would like to use the programme as a diagnostic experience to help them decide which area to specialise in at Master’s level.


£19,250 total cost*

* Total cost is based on the assumption that the programme is completed in the timeframe stated in the programme details. Additional study time may incur additional charges.

 Course Content

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Where will I study?

Where is Royal College of Art


Student Profile(s)

Vivee Barengo

Nationality: Italy

Before coming to the RCA, Vivee studied fashion styling and creative direction and was working several part-time jobs. She enrolled in the Graduate Diploma programme in order to discover who she was as a creative. After completing, Vivee progressed to the RCA’s Information Experience Design MA.

‘The Graduate Diploma fulfilled even the best of predictions: I met so many different people and forged important relationships. The course was crucial in preparing me to tackle briefs in a structured yet very personal manner. It gave me tools and support that was incredibly valuable throughout the MA.

My work in the MA developed into Sustainable Speculative Design with a focus on architecture and product design. These were not areas that I dealt with during the Graduate Diploma but without those pre-MA months spent exploring different facets of my creativity I would have never figured it out so quickly.’

Johann Spindler

Nationality: Germany

Johann has an undergraduate degree in physics. He was drawn to the Graduate Diploma as a way to transition into exploring art, photography and his creative passions. His final MA project was an experimental web design project exploring the countercultural history and current state of interaction design, as well as its implications and alternatives. After completing, Johann progressed to the RCA’s Visual Communication MA.

‘The Graduate Diploma helped me both in terms of familiarizing myself with the environment at the RCA and London, but also by introducing me to students who would become friends and whom I would collaborate with during my MA. It made me aware of the need to push the boundaries of my practice, to explore my own work critically, to reach out and be proactive and seek out students from other programmes as well as my own, from whom I could learn, exchange ideas and together mutually grow our practices.’

Siobhán Palin

Nationality: Australia

Siobhán came to the Graduate Diploma programme looking for a new experience. It led to her focusing on sustainable swimwear during her time studying MA Fashion which she progressed to after completing the Graduate Diploma programme.

‘The Graduate Diploma gave me space, an opportunity to move far from home and re-think my approach to my practice. It provided a strong foundation, a head start, teaching me how to operate within independent and collaborative settings. The network of peers has remained to be an invaluable support to this day.

The MA has been a continuation of my work in Womenswear, turning to specialise in sustainable swimwear. Having come from Australia where swim is known to be a saturated market, I sought to re-define the term, looking to emerging alternative fibres, applications and inclusive means.’

Johannes von Schoenebeck

Nationality: Germany

Johannes studied industrial design in Germany before coming to the RCA. After completing, Johannes progressed to the RCA’s Design Products MA. His final MA project is a device that ‘dictates’ your life when working from home, consisting of a pair of shoes that adjust the wearer’s behaviour leading to a healthier work/life balance.

‘I quickly learned to adapt to the fast pace of the Graduate Diploma, being challenged every day over and over again. It was one of the most intense times of my life as a student, even compared to the MA.’

‘Although it felt intimidating at times, a complete blank page forced me to step outside of my regular product design realm. I learned to let go, loosen up and trust my gut more. My progression into the MA propelled me forward to be more cutting edge, challenge norms and be more critical. This was only possible because I had learned to do so and had the safe grounds to try during the Graduate Diploma.’

Dara Khakpour

Nationality: Canada

Dara completed a BA in visual arts and communication as well as courses in architectural design in Canada, before working in an architectural practice in Tehran. He saw the Graduate Diploma as an opportunity to combine these experiences. After completing, Johannes progressed to the RCA’s Interior Design MA.

‘I didn’t really expect a certain outcome, but mostly a period of reflecting on the direction of my practice while being part of a cross-disciplinary environment. The course established itself as a mixing chamber for all of us to come together and develop our practices parallel to one another. This was one the most valuable experiences I walked away with.
‘Graduate Diploma also provides a window to understand how the RCA functions. I had the opportunity to meet tutors from the MA course that I was interested in applying for and observe what they expect from students aiming to join their programme. This foresight was invaluable when I started my MA because it gave me a much clearer understanding of what I was about to embark on and what to expect from my time at the RCA.’


Value of Scholarship(s)

Up to 16 full fee scholarships to support students from underrepresented communities


UK status fee only

Value of Scholarship(s)



UK fee status only

Value of Scholarship(s)



Black or Black
British Caribbean, Black Or Black
British African, Other Black
Background, Mixed - White and
Black Caribbean, Mixed - White and
Black African; financial need.

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Pokémon Scholarships
Eligibility criteria: Financial need
▶ £25,000 per scholar to cover full
tuition fees, with any remaining
funds being allocated towards
maintenance support

Value of Scholarship(s)


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