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Creative Arts & Design×

Royal College of Art, Full Time MA Degrees in Creative Arts & Design

We have 22 Royal College of Art, Full Time MA Degrees in Creative Arts & Design

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The Critical Writing in Art & Design MA programme in the School of Humanities provides unique opportunities for postgraduate students to develop high-level writing, research and analytical skills in the setting of one of the world’s most dynamic art schools. Read more

The Critical Writing in Art & Design MA programme in the School of Humanities provides unique opportunities for postgraduate students to develop high-level writing, research and analytical skills in the setting of one of the world’s most dynamic art schools. Combining workshop models of teaching and learning, and ‘live’ projects with leading arts organisations, the MA provides the skills required for a successful career in the arts or a research degree. For 2017/8, we are introducing some exciting new areas of specialisation within the programme.

The programme is committed to the idea that writing – of all kinds – is a creative practice that requires imagination as well as good literary skills and expert knowledge. Students on the MA are presented with many opportunities to develop and apply the skills required by various writing formats from the review and catalogue essay, to fiction and other forms of speculation. The unique structure of the programme allows for specialisation and the freedom to explore novel approaches to writing. 

The Critical Writing in Art & Design programme combines lectures, specialist writing workshops and ‘crits’ as well as live projects with external partners. Previous partners have included the Royal Opera House, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and Turner Contemporary in Margate. Recognising that the media is undergoing considerable change, the MA also offers opportunities to work with professionals working print and online publishing, broadcasting and podcasting. Students on the programme enjoy opportunities to share classes and to work on shared projects with other students across the RCA including our sister programme, the Critical Practice pathway in the Contemporary Art Practice programme in the School of Fine Art.   

Founded in 2010, the Critical Writing in Art & Design programme will launch a set of new specialisms in autumn 2017: Publishing and New Media; Creative Writing; and Art Theory. Students follow a shared, core programme as well as their chosen specialism. This will enable students to develop focused and expert skills within the RCA’s new 15-month MA framework. The specialisms allow a close focus on the particular needs of individual students, delivered through small group seminar teaching and one-to-one tutorials.

Graduates of the Critical Writing in Art & Design programme have published their MA work as books for publishers around the world including MIT Press, China Machine Press, and Zero Books. Others write regularly for the art press (including titles such as Art Monthly, Frieze and Eye Magazine). Some graduates of the programme have gone on to doctoral study at the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester and Goldsmiths. Others work in editorial positions in art and design magazines, or as curators and programmers in galleries and museums and other arts organisations in Europe, China and North America. 

Critical Writing in Art & Design students have a strong track record of producing ‘live’ publications with the support of the programme. These include the Albertopolis Companion produced by the graduating class of 2015 or ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 19501978, an anthology from 2014. Other live projects include Of and For Turner Contemporary, a series of texts exploring a remarkable building on the Kent coast. Students on the programme are encouraged to publish their writing on a dedicated Critical Writing in Art & Design website during their studies.

From 2017, the programme is primarily located in the RCA's newest facilities in White City



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The Animation programme is a world leader in practice and research, with a commitment to broadening the understanding of our complex discipline. Read more

The Animation programme is a world leader in practice and research, with a commitment to broadening the understanding of our complex discipline. Established over 30 years ago, the programme has an international reputation that places it at the forefront of the discipline. Within the programme there are three distinct pathways: Documentary AnimationExperimental Animation and Narrative Animation, one of which students select as part of their application.

The programme’s location within a visually sophisticated, multidisciplinary art and design school, rather than a film school, is crucial in the development of creative and critical thinking, research skills and expanded discipline expertise that’s applied to ideas, styles, genres and technological approaches. Both the MA and research degrees attract artists and makers from a broad background of disciplines: science, maths, architecture, literature, art history, computing and fine art, as well as communication.

We offer a unique learning and teaching environment, developing the creativity and skills required in an age of rapid cultural and technological change. Our students contribute to this expanding and maturing field of moving image, with core skills centred around directing, narrative and production. We offer an exceptionally stimulating multidisciplinary environment, complemented by the College’s award-winning programmes in art and design. The curriculum allows students to explore the creative slip between diverse forms of moving image: animation, documentary, fiction, process and interactivity. Through innovative, practical research and an understanding of different contexts, traditions and histories, students learn through a potent combination of workshops, lectures and tutorials, while developing their own practice, individually and collaboratively.

Leading practitioners on the programme bring a wide range of practice and research, their excellence of teaching supported by a wide variety of visiting established filmmakers/artists of international reputation. Recent visiting artists have included Stephen Quay, Suzan Pitt, David O’Reilly, John Smith, Nina Sabnani, Hiraki Sawa, Peter Blegvad, Asif Kapadia, Philip Hunt, Nick Park and Jonathan Hodgson.

The Animation programme has a world-leading research environment, attracting funding from, among others, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, the Wellcome Trust, and the Medical Research Council. 

Students are encouraged to develop a critical discourse around their subject, as well as building on and challenging notions within their own personal areas of interest or specialism. The programme has an ongoing relationship with the most successful and innovative sectors of the UK animation industry – Blink, Nexus, Studio AKA, Passion Pictures and Hornet – which allows students’ work to be placed within a wider professional context.

The programme offers excellent facilities supported by knowledgeable technical staff, including shooting studios for stop-frame/green screen, sound recording/mixing, digital and film cameras/editing, Cintiqs and an individual desk space for each student in mixed studios within the School of Communication.

The MA programme and research degrees offer a holistic environment that prepares animation artists for a number of roles within gallery- and industry-based animated filmmaking, and provides innovators to the animation professions. 

Current students and graduates continue to have a ‘real-world’ impact on animation, pushing the forefront of the practice and producing innovative and highly accomplished work. Much of this has been demonstrated through the accolades bestowed on the programme, as well as by individual student achievement through winning awards such as 5 BAFTAs, the Royal Television Society, the Adobe Achievement Award, and Jerwood Moving Image Drawing Prizes. Exhibitions in museums and galleries worldwide, together with film screenings at festivals and broadcast licenses with television and Internet channels, allow students to increases their professional profile.



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Jewellery & Metal (J&M) forms part of the School of Material. Within this context we are committed to exploring the rich and diverse field of adornment and object culture. Read more

Jewellery & Metal (J&M) forms part of the School of Material. Within this context we are committed to exploring the rich and diverse field of adornment and object culture. We encourage an open-minded approach that in principle embraces all materials. But it is metal that constitutes the technological core of our subject and we believe that a deepening understanding of the metal elements is key in these developments; the Periodic Table is our reference in expanding our activity within the subjects of jewellery and metalwork.

The attitude of Jewellery & Metal has shifted from a purely object-centred focus to a wider scope, questioning and exploring issues centred on the human condition. We are responsive to the rapidly changing social and cultural landscape, and draw on history and technology in nurturing intellectual and creative skills directed at understanding and pushing forward jewellery and objects of human making. The rich and extensive bodies of knowledge associated with object-making and jewellery underpin an approach that is outward-looking, open to the wider discourse on commodity objects, connecting to contemporary life.

As applied artists, being in control of the making process either by using our hands or through digital technologies is very important, it is our way of making sense of the world. As individuals we are fascinated with the rich and diverse materials and resources the world has to offer, and through the individuality of our personal visions we make our contribution to the bigger picture.

Jewellery & Metal provides an environment for exploring, in practical and theoretical ways, what it means to be an applied artist today. We see our role as challenging norms and questioning conventions, interrogating the role and purpose of objects and adornment through the development of a personal approach to researching, experimenting, designing and making in the context of an increasingly complex object culture.

The growing importance and interdisciplinary character of our distinctive discipline within material culture gives the applied arts an added vibrancy and relevance. We believe the physical act of making has an essential role to play in an increasingly virtual world, but we also embrace digital technologies and the virtual and believe that creating a dialogue between these worlds provides the applied arts with one of its most fertile testing grounds at this time.



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Design projects form the core learning and teaching element of the programme. Projects are a mix of both set and self-generated. They will vary in duration and format. Read more

Design projects form the core learning and teaching element of the programme. Projects are a mix of both set and self-generated. They will vary in duration and format. In the first term of years one and two of the course, students will work together as mixed vertical groups to enhance peer-to-peer learning. In the second and third terms of the course students work in year specific groups but with timetabled reviews of each others work at key points in their respective curriculum. In the second half of term one, second year students work independently as their final year thesis project is developed. It is expected that individual students will pursue projects of a particular personal interest in relation to their Interior Design studio ‘provocation’.

Design projects will always be concerned with issues in and around the design of interior environments, exploring issues such as proximities, inhabitation and the construction of a range of spatial identities. The context for design projects will vary, but will often include existing buildings, urban spaces, the analysis of site and human occupation and inhabitation, material and spatial identity and so on. Where applicable live briefs will be included in the curriculum where students work with commercial or industry partners. In some cases design projects will take the form of competitions that may be set within the programme or by organisations outside of the College.

The second year of the programme is organised around a number of Interior Design Platforms (IDPs). Their number will depend upon the number of students on the programme at any given time. Each platform will begin around the middle of term one and be based around emergent or current issues in the subject of Interiors and in other built environment/design led contexts. The tutors who run them will position the content of the studios. The studios will be configured in order to respond to a particular overall provocation and location, a site and context that will be set by the Head of Programme and the teaching team.

The programme employs a variety of different learning and teaching methods to help you achieve your individual aims and objectives, as well as those of the programme.

In addition to the core Interior Design programme content all students at the RCA undertake the Critical & Historical Studies component independently of their studio work. This work culminates in the submission of the dissertation, a 6,000 – 10,000 word essay, at the start of the second year.



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IED is set within the vibrant mixed studios of the RCA’s School of Communication, each of its pathways with a specialist Lab as its hub. Read more

IED is set within the vibrant mixed studios of the RCA’s School of Communication, each of its pathways with a specialist Lab as its hub. Professor Neville Brody, who provides inspiration and instigation, calls IED an interface between information and experience, and a platform for exploring post-screen, post-digital and post-disciplinary practice. Our students and researchers work alongside the School’s graphic designers, animators and illustrators, and in interdisciplinary teams with other RCA programmes as well as external scientists, companies, architects and academics.

IED develops a mindset as well as a skillset. No specific technical skills are required; applicants come from diverse backgrounds in design, science, fine art, engineering and technology, with a common critical interest in data, design and making. Graduates may go on to work in visualisation, data science, advanced design practice, cultural and educational institutions, research labs or studio practice.

The three distinct pathways offered by the IED programme of Sound DesignMoving Image Design, and Experimental Design, one of which students select as part of their application, are interrelated, focused around different ways of approaching IED’s core aim of transforming information into experiences. 

IED offers: 

  • Specific training in working with data, programming and electronics, prototyping and making using a range of methods and materials, and tools for enquiry, investigation and research.
  • Tutors, visiting lecturers and guests who are at the forefront of practice and thinking internationally.
  • An Experimental Lab, Sound Lab and Moving Image Lab for making and hacking, each stocked with a range of specialist hardware and software and set within the mixed studios of the School of Communication.
  • Highly interdisciplinary projects with other RCA programmes, as well as industry partners large and small, museums and universities in the UK and around the world.
  • Close links between MA, MPhil and PhD students, funded research and professional practitioners.
  • Opportunities for exhibition, publication, intervention, online and offline dissemination, and commercialisation of student work and research.
  •  International exchanges and trips, as well as real-world projects and research set in and around London.


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During the first year emphasis is placed on set projects which explore different design approaches, contexts and roles in relation to emerging technologies. Read more

First Year

During the first year emphasis is placed on set projects which explore different design approaches, contexts and roles in relation to emerging technologies. The first project of the year is for both first and second years. The first project is designed to open up a space for discussion, experimentation and debate about the relationship between design and technology. It is also an opportunity for everyone to get to know each other, and to make clear how the programme and College work.

The next few projects are designed to expose students to different design roles, contexts and approaches in relation to new technology. Most of these projects will be led by either a member of the core teaching team or a visiting tutor. They will last between one to five weeks.

Guests with specialist knowledge and skills will plug-in to each project, giving tutorials, talks, or crits. Guest lecturers and course staff will also give talks about their work and ideas as part of the weekly evening talk series.

There will be short workshops throughout the first year exploring different technical skills such as software and electronics prototyping, model-making and film production. Students also undertake the mandatory Critical & Historical Studies programme in their first year (see below), in which a series of lectures, seminars and tutorials culminates in the submission of a dissertation at the start of the second year.

Besides gaining experience as an Intern, the summer is an ideal time for students to reflect on what they have learnt during the first year and to think about their design focus for the second year.

Second Year

During the second year students are expected to initiate their own projects and build up a body of work that reflects the professional context they wish to practice in.

At the start of the second year, students participate in a three to four-week project set for the whole programme. After that they are assigned a personal tutor and will begin to negotiate their areas of interest and final projects.

Throughout the second year, students are expected to become progressively independent. The emphasis is on developing a body of work that reflects the intellectual and creative requirements of the context they wish to work within on graduation. Students will meet with their tutor on a weekly basis either individually or in small groups and will present their work to the whole programme and visiting critics at least twice a term. They will also be able to discuss their work with other staff and visiting tutors.

Critical & Historical Studies

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 start of the second year. 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.

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The Design Products programme is about . creativity for purpose.  – educating students to be design leaders who address real-world challenges through balancing high levels of creativity and technical capability with contextual insight and empathy for people. Read more

The Design Products programme is about creativity for purpose – educating students to be design leaders who address real-world challenges through balancing high levels of creativity and technical capability with contextual insight and empathy for people. The Design Products identity is characterised by a pluralistic approach to designing for purpose through a number of design cultures – ‘Design through Making’, ‘Design for Manufacture’, ‘Object Mediated Interactions’, ‘Design as Catalyst’, ‘Exploring Emergent Futures’ – which are underpinned by a set of contextual and real-world themes. This structure provides a platform for students to conceptualise and validate ideas by canvassing, provoking, challenging and questioning people, places, things and systems through crafted artefacts. Through team and individual projects involving external partners and tutored by practising designers and design researchers, students determine their own design culture whilst building a portfolio of work that will locate them in their desired professional context. Graduates are creative catalysts and visionaries who go on to become leaders in their respective fields.

The programme offers:

  • intensive teaching in study groups that we call 'platforms'
  • a programme of activities related to the Themes
  • tutors who are leading practitioners and researchers
  • technical support for prototyping
  • access to College workshops and technical facilities
  • opportunities to exhibit in London and elsewhere
  • collaborative projects with industrial partners
  • a truly international perspective, with students from around 20 nations


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Global Innovation Design (GID) is a joint Master's programme between the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. It is a unique, transnational Master’s design initiative that brings together three major centres of design, culture, enterprise and industry. Read more

Global Innovation Design (GID) is a joint Master's programme between the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. It is a unique, transnational Master’s design initiative that brings together three major centres of design, culture, enterprise and industry: Europe, North America and Asia. 

GID is a multidisciplinary, multicultural and multinational design programme awarding both an MA from the Royal College of Art and an MSc from Imperial College London to graduates. GID offers an engaging global curriculum and provides powerful cultural experiences crafted to nurture innovators and designers who are prepared to take on the changing needs of enterprise in the twenty-first century. 

GID international partners include Pratt Institute (New York), Keio University (Tokyo), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and Tsinghua University (Beijing). Each of these distinctive institutions brings unique expertise and complementary approaches to design, engineering, business and cultural sensitivity, within the context of internationally oriented design innovation. 

The GID vision is to foster a transformative postgraduate experience that is unparalleled in the world, one that cultivates internationally oriented innovation and design leaders who can tackle complex problems and deliver positive social, environmental, economic and cultural change.

The GID ethos is to cultivate activated people, designers and leaders who are capable of making change in the world. Designers on the Global Innovation Design Master's programme will be expected to generate creative directions that other designers and innovators will follow.

The programme is full time and runs over a period of two calendar years. GID Master's candidates on the joint RCA/Imperial College programme begin their course in London for two terms developing their visions and a body of work which will be thematically and regionally developed throughout the next year and a half.

They have the opportunity to study on the New York/Tokyo route or the Beijing/Singapore route during their first and second years. They then return to London for the final two terms of their graduation year. Graduates from the programme are expected to be central to innovation leadership in the twenty-first century. 

Philosophically, GID challenges designers to ask who they are and what is most important to them; as authors of material culture they are asked what kind of world do they wish to create, and what contributions will they make. Global Innovation Designers create transformational culture. At the centre of the programme is the knowledge that transformational culture is engendered by objects and experiences that are the embodiment of the robustly beautiful and the exquisitely functional combined.

The GID Master's programme offers:

  • a double Master's: MA Royal College of Art and MSc Imperial College London – students are fully enrolled at both institutions
  • programme includes study at world renowned institutions: route one, Keio University in Tokyo and the Pratt Institute in New York, and route 2, Tsinghua University in Beijing and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore
  • the first two terms of the first year are in London, where designers participate in the GID London Core
  • a diverse and international mix of students
  • teaching staff who are highly experienced practitioners and work professionally in their field
  • potential enterprise and commercialisation support through the InnovationRCA incubator
  • leadership skills for design-related enterprises operating in international environments
  • high-level graduate destinations: RCA and Imperial alumni work in international corporations, global consultancies as well as new self-started commercial enterprises

London – Tokyo – New York

Study on the Tokyo/New York route route gives access to Keio University, well known for physical computing and social design interventions, as well as Pratt Institute, renowned for a tradition of excellence in industrial design. 

London – Beijing – Singapore

Study on the Beijing/Singapore route gives access to Tsinghua University, China's number one institution with world class design labs and studios, as well as Nanyang Technical University's School of Art, Design, and Media whose cutting edge programmes in new media and cultural and social design innovation situate it as a leader in emerging Asian and Global design.

At Tsinghua University, London-based students will benefit from studying at the top University in China, gaining first-hand experience of the culture of China and designing with both new and traditional materials in the context of emerging Asian design.

At Nanyang Technical University, London-based students will be exposed to a rich and varied Pan-Asian community. NTU offers world-class communication and video production instruction with cultural understanding at the core. NTU is expert in the practice of “value transmigration”, how to translate a culturally specific artefact into a viable product-service-system in a new cultural context.



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Service Design has become the new frontier for designers who want to make a difference at scale, and in so doing advance the discipline of design. Read more

Service Design has become the new frontier for designers who want to make a difference at scale, and in so doing advance the discipline of design. The service sector represents almost 80 per cent of the advanced economies, and in recent years the role of design in transforming both public and private sector services has become widely recognised. The programme at the Royal College of Art is the leading specialist service design programme worldwide and with around 80 students and researchers and 10–12 live projects at any time, it’s almost certainly the largest dedicated service design studio globally.

Students emerging from the programme are finding immediate employment as service designers as industry and governments seek to transform their customer and citizen experience. We’ve just enhanced our programme by creating three new platforms for service design. The first is Service Innovation, which focuses on developing citizen and customer centric solutions to address immediate social, cultural and economic challenges. The second, Envision, not only speculates on the future of healthcare, education, retail, banking, transportation, but uses future forecasting techniques for society, culture and technology to design service experiences for the next decade and beyond. The final platform, Public Service and Policy, brings together social and political science with design to transform public service provision as well as government policy

The RCA Service Design programme offers a two-year MA in Service Design as well as opportunities for MPhil and PhD research. Right from the start, students are immersed in the unique interdisciplinary environment of the RCA, enabling them to become specialists in service design while participating in the exciting design education environment of the School of Design. Students are taught by the leading practitioners of the discipline, as well as by pioneers of service design from industry and academia.

To ensure the programme teaches the complete skills required for service design, it is delivered in association with Imperial College London, enabling students to complement their skills in service design by participating in Imperial’s MBA programme, as well developing their competence in digital technology with Imperial’s department of computing.

The programme combines lectures, workshops and projects grounded in empirical evidence drawn from ‘real world’ practice as well as theory. Students undertake group and individual projects that tackle the different domains of public service provision, consumer and business services, in partnership with leading service sector companies and public sector organisations.

As a result alumni graduating from the programme are joining leading design firms such as Engine, Fjord, IDEO and Livework, professional services firms including McKinsey and IBM Business Consulting Services, government departments including UK Trade and Industry, the Ministry of Justice and the Cabinet Office, as well as multinational corporations such as Jaguar, Barclay’s, Royal Bank of Scotland and Tesco.



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The MA programme in Critical Writing in Art & Design offers students opportunities to develop the literary and intellectual skills required for art and design criticism in an age of rapid technological and cultural change. Read more
The MA programme in Critical Writing in Art & Design offers students opportunities to develop the literary and intellectual skills required for art and design criticism in an age of rapid technological and cultural change. More new books, magazines and journals – online and in print – are being published than ever before, many exploring experimental and new approaches to writing about art and design. At the same time, media, the gallery, the studio and the practice of writing itself are being transformed by the deep penetration of new technologies into all aspects of our lives.

This full-time, two-year MA explores different aspects of writing about and for contemporary art and designand other fields of contemporary culture. On joining the programme, students will be encouraged to develop specialist knowledge of a field of art, design, architecture, fashion or the applied arts. They will follow a common programme of classes designed to develop their skills as writers, editors and thinkers. On graduation, Critical Writing in Art & Design students will have written many different kinds of texts, produced actual publications and shaped their own individual major project.

The programme also organises numerous one-off events. In spring 2014, for instance, we held a two-day international conference on the phenomenon of the essay as a literary and visual object at which Wayne Koestenbaum, the Otolith Group and Deborah Levy spoke. In recent years, Ali Smith, Tom McCarthy, Chris Kraus and John Calder, amongst others, have spoken at our events.

Students on this Master’s programme benefit from working among artists, designers, architects and applied artists studying in Britain’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design. The Royal College of Art is a major centre of the arts, with a distinguished history as a publisher of books under the Lion & Unicorn imprint, as well as Ark magazine. It is a stimulating and intellectually provocative setting; world-leading artists, critics and designers exhibit, lecture and teach here.

Drawing on the teaching methods of the art school, this programme makes full use of the ‘crit’ (group reviews of student work), briefs and writing workshops. Breaking the isolation that characterises much writing practice, it forms a lively environment for intellectual exchange and collaboration.

Writing is strongly shaped by the contexts in which it is practised and where it appears. The programme offers the opportunity to develop writing skills in a variety of contexts including radio and the internet. Students on the programme publish their work – interviews, reviews, polemics, sustained critical essays and scripts – online and in print. Working alongside graphic designers and other postgraduate students in the College, they produce a major publication in the second year of their studies.

On graduating, Critical Writing in Art & Design students will have a portfolio of different kinds of writing, editing skills and critical understanding, as well as membership of a formidable network of RCA graduates. This MA will enhance their opportunities to pursue a career in the arts and the cultural industries. Our graduates are working as freelance writers for print and radio, editors of magazines, curators, publishers and educators.

The MA programme includes:

- Masterclasses – Prominent visiting writers and critics set briefs and lead crits of student writing.
- Writing Workshops – Students are set 15 or more projects over two years. They conduct interviews, write texts that explore London’s diverse faces, write polemics, explore the ‘borders of fact and fiction’ and many other themes.
- Media Platforms and Contexts – Running throughout the first year, these classes examine the practice of writing in different media fields including radio and television, print and web-based media. They are taught by leading media industry professionals.
- Critical Reading: Reading Critically – Good writers are keen readers and critical thinkers. This rolling seminar – running through both years of the MA programme – explores concepts and ideas with high currency in contemporary art and design.
- Critical & Historical Studies – These lecture and seminar series introduce students to major contemporary issues in different fields of art and design.

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The first year consists of three main projects, one per term that will explore different intellectual themes and contexts in which you might work. Read more

First Year

The first year consists of three main projects, one per term that will explore different intellectual themes and contexts in which you might work.

During the autumn term, students work from the collections at the Victoria & Albert Museum to explore the notion of the role that an object might fulfil. It lays the foundations of the research skills associated with developing material and process understanding and the cultural and social history imbedded in an object.

The spring term presents students with the opportunity to explore the theme of ‘Food’: its cultural significance, presentation and consumption.

The summer term is concerned wit the terrain of Wall, Floor, Window.

During the first two terms alongside the projects, a series of short course/workshops/masterclasses will be offered to widen students skill base and material/process understanding. These cover such topics as:

- Plaster making
- Print
- Glass – hot working
- Glass – cold working
- Glass – casting
- Jigger/jolley
- Decorative processes – ceramics
- Hand forming processes
- Basic glaze technology
- Rubber moulds
- Digital Design
- Digital Manufacture
- 3D Print
- Laser Cutting

Second Year

Through the second year, individual programmes of study will be negotiated with Personal Tutors exploring the context and working methods that will inform an individual’s future practice. There are opportunities to engage with a range of staff and visiting lecturers, and student led discussions and seminars are encouraged to promote independent thinking.

Critical & Historical Studies

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 start of the second year. 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.

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The key emphasis of the Jewellery & Metal programme in the first year is on establishing a personal creative mindset. This happens through set projects and seminars. Read more

First Year

The key emphasis of the Jewellery & Metal programme in the first year is on establishing a personal creative mindset. This happens through set projects and seminars. The ideas and work are supported by individual tutorials and progress is evaluated at set formal points. additional course components are designed to complement and underpin this work, developing and deepening students’ understanding of their chosen subject and strengthening their confidence in their own creative language.

During the first year there are set projects running alongside the Personal Projects that address and explore design methodologies, context, presentation skills, technical and digital inductions, introduction to emerging technologies, visits, seminars and group crits as well as visits and live projects.

Students are expected to explore and develop ideas for their Personal Project on an individual basis during the first year, using time between common elements and course project requirements. By the end of the year students should have developed a clear direction for their second-year Personal Project.

Second Year

During the second year students are expected to pursue their Personal Projects and produce work that will reflect the context of their anticipated professional practice.

The major part of the second year is devoted to the Personal Project. The student is responsible for progressing the work, according to a schedule of development that is subject to a timetable of deadlines for delivery and review throughout the second year. Completed work is presented in the RCA Show.

Critical & Historical Studies

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 start of the second year. 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.

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The spirit of Ceramics & Glass at the RCA springs from the heart of those media, and a belief in the transformative power of material thinking, research and making to enrich our world in imaginative and meaningful ways. Read more

The spirit of Ceramics & Glass at the RCA springs from the heart of those media, and a belief in the transformative power of material thinking, research and making to enrich our world in imaginative and meaningful ways. The programme is a site for contemporary discourse where personal concerns and global perspectives intersect. We seek those with passion to extend the possibilities and perspectives of ceramics and glass within and beyond traditional limitations, informed by their rich provenance of materials and practices.

The Ceramics & Glass MA at the RCA provides outstanding opportunities to develop a dynamic, informed and connected practice in a study environment that embraces diversity and depth. We believe in interrogating practices and challenging conventions. 

Our hyper-material age presents exciting and critical opportunities to explore cultures of production; to ask questions about what, why and how we make; to express ideas through the symbolic modes of things and transformative character of substances, and to consider how our work can influence physical, personal and psycho-social environments. We challenge and encourage you to stretch your imagination, expand your potential and find your voice.

The MA spectrum of enquiry includes art and design works, design for manufacture and the built environment, emerging experimental practices and applications. Curiosity is nurtured through the imaginative exploration of concepts, the investigation of material properties and technologies, the potential of interdisciplinary practice and collaboration. Making, thinking and writing skills are integrated to develop critical perspectives of practice and purpose, and to foster new understandings of our interaction with ‘things’.

The exceptional ceramic and glass facilities at the Royal College underpin a dynamic study environment led by outstanding teachers and technical experts, supported by contributions from peers, acclaimed visiting lecturers and graduates, who have shaped the programme’s leading research and international standing over many years.

The MA study experience integrates studio-based project learning with a formal dialogue in Critical & Historical Studies, scaffolded by the rigour of enquiry and reflective practice. Workshops, lectures, visiting experts and collaboration opportunities are supplemented by seminars and personal tutorials to provide guidance, foster critical reflection and encourage the development of individual trajectories and ambitions.

The programme offers:

  • individual studio work spaces
  • well-equipped workshops with facilities for undertaking an extensive range of ceramic and glass processes, both analogue and digital
  • access to specialist facilities across the Royal College of Art, including foundry, rapid form fabrication
  •  exceptional teaching by an international team of experienced, dedicated staff
  • a regular visiting lecturer and guest lecturer programme of leading artists, designers and craftspeople
  • outstanding technical support from a team of highly skilled specialist staff
  • a strong research culture with support for project and doctoral funding
  • alumni include Flavie Audi, Barnaby Barford, Neil Brownsword, Phoebe Cummings, Mike Eden, Malene Hartmann-Rasmussen, Hitomi Hosono, Shelley James, Studio Manifold, Nao Matsunaga, Katharine Morling, Zemer Peled, Rothschild/Bickers, James Rigler, Anders Ruhwald, Clare Twomey


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Led by Dr Mel Jordan, Reader in Art & the Public Sphere, the Contemporary Art Practice programme has specialist pathway leaders in order to facilitate a distinct engagement with specific areas of contemporary art practice. Read more

Led by Dr Mel Jordan, Reader in Art & the Public Sphere, the Contemporary Art Practice programme has specialist pathway leaders in order to facilitate a distinct engagement with specific areas of contemporary art practice. The programme is delivered through four pathways: Critical Practice (led by Jeremy Millar), Moving Image (led by Jane Wilson), Performance (led by Professor Nigel Rolfe) and Public Sphere (led by Mel Jordan).

The Contemporary Art Practice programme enables us to incorporate practices that exceed the specificity of the well-established disciplines of Fine Art at the Royal College of Art. Contemporary Art Practice engages with contemporary modes of art production, dissemination and debate. It facilitates specialisation through its pathway structure enabling students to engage with a particular approach to developing their own art practice. The teaching methodology we employ is not technologically or materially determined however students are expected to utilise appropriate and specific means in which to manifest their ideas. Contemporary Art Practice students have access to all facilities within the School of Fine Art.

Critical theory has emerged as an essential intellectual framework for art criticism but what is its potential as a tool within the production of contemporary art? Studio-based and primarily focused on supporting the development of the artistic practice of its students, the Critical Practice pathway offers regular seminars exploring emerging ideas and bodies of theory as well as opportunities to work with organised forms of knowledge such as public archives and institutions.

Moving Image is aimed at artists using film and video, and practitioners working in the areas of documentary film, film and fiction cinema as well as practitioners who wish to draw upon, challenge and re-map established realms of Moving Image based practices. The diversity of approaches employed in the Moving Image pathway reflects the new reality of contemporary moving image.

Performance happens in the ‘here and now’ and not the ‘there and then’. Unlike many practices, where time is historic, and the image presented is necessarily an archive or record, ‘being and doing’ are more immediately significant in live time, and the expectation is that – in the contemporary – artists are often presenting work that is not made in advance but rather happening now!

Public Sphere is a major research area in the School, and the pathway supports expanded engagement with art and its publics as well as art’s social function. Social art practices have featured as a key force in the rise of the global biennale as well as being utilized by the Occupy Movement. Therefore questions about public space, participation, collaboration and collective action are becoming essential principles within the production of contemporary art both in terms of practice and theory.

Your application should be for MA Contemporary Art Practice and you will have to specify in which Pathway you wish to study: Critical Practice, Moving Image, Performance or Public Sphere. 

The programme offers:

  •  specialisation through its pathway structure enabling students to engage with a particular approach to developing their own art practice through the pathways of Critical Practice, Moving Image, Performance and Public Sphere   
  •  a commitment to developing and foregrounding the conceptual and social ideas in an individual students practice   
  •  a teaching methodology which is not technologically or materially determined that encourages students to utilise appropriate and specific means for making contemporary fine art now   
  • a teaching structure that incorporates content-led approaches to the teaching of Fine Art through lectures and seminars to enable students’ engagement with the histories, theories and expanded practices of Fine Art
  • individual and group tutorial and cross school group crits, facilitated by leading practitioners and thinkers
  • a critical discursive environment in which to discuss contemporary issues for thinking about, making and displaying contemporary fine art 
  • a flexible studio space that can be utilised collectively or individually 
  • access to a range of technical facilities across the school of Fine Art including the Moving Image Studio, traditional and digital printmaking, photography and wood and metal workshops 
  • access to college-wide technical workshops
  • an on-going programme of off-site events, exhibitions and commissions
  • opportunities for teaching placements, exhibitions, overseas travel and international exchanges (including Paris and Kyoto)


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Established 25 years ago and led by Professor Victoria Walsh, the MA Curating Contemporary Art (CCA) programme is recognised both as an international leader in its field and for its commitment to collaborative group project-based work that integrates theory and practice throughout the two years of the curriculum. Read more

Established 25 years ago and led by Professor Victoria Walsh, the MA Curating Contemporary Art (CCA) programme is recognised both as an international leader in its field and for its commitment to collaborative group project-based work that integrates theory and practice throughout the two years of the curriculum. For 2017/18, we are introducing new areas of focus in response to the expanded field of curating and the widening professional opportunities for curatorial practice and research in a global context. These will include:

Exhibitions and Programming practice focusses on curating, commissioning and programming within the physical and defined setting of the gallery/museum space providing critical, theoretical and practical understanding of the histories and opportunities within this form of curatorial practice.

Urban practice focuses on curating and commissioning within the urban context of the global city, with particular emphasis on the expanded role curators play bringing together architects, designers, urbanists, and public and private organisations with communities and artist practitioners to create new spaces of creative opportunity, encounter and public value.

Digital practice focuses on the expanded field of artistic and curatorial practice that is rooted in and defined by digital media, online production and networked distribution. It will examine the differences and commonalities between digital and analogue forms of artistic production and curating; and experiment with new curatorial models that bridge on and offline networked cultures and audiences.

The CCA programme approaches the field critically, theoretically and through best practice in commissioning, curating, and programming with London-based and national arts organisations and spaces ensuring that the knowledge and understanding of these practices is grounded in the context of public audiences, urbanisation and the digital. In the increasingly complex cultural environment in which curating takes place, our research-led and practice-led teaching by staff and visiting tutors ensures the curatorial and artistic significance, intellectual value and critical vitality of the MA programme.

Curating Contemporary Art is a two-year, full-time 240-credit ‘enhanced’ RCA MA that runs from September 2017 – June 2019. From 2017, the programme is primarily located in the RCA's newest facilities in White City



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