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Royal College of Art, Full Time MA Degrees

We have 32 Royal College of Art, Full Time MA Degrees

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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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RIBA Part 2 credited since 1983. Applicants to the RCA from England and the EU are likely to be eligible for the new Postgraduate Student Loan of up to £10,000 per course of study. . Read more
  • RIBA Part 2 credited since 1983
  • Applicants to the RCA from England and the EU are likely to be eligible for the new Postgraduate Student Loan of up to £10,000 per course of study. 
  • Although the priority applications period for 2016–17 entry has now closed, we will continue to accept and consider applications.

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. 

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 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.



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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 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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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. Read more

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. 



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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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The purpose of the CHS programme is to encourage debate, understanding, intellectual confidence and self-expression in the history, philosophy and criticism of the various disciplines taught at the College. Read more

The Programme

The purpose of the CHS programme is to encourage debate, understanding, intellectual confidence and self-expression in the history, philosophy and criticism of the various disciplines taught at the College. It is designed to enhance each student’s experience at the College by engaging with important ideas that are relevant to their studio work in an exciting and challenging manner. The programme provides each student with an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice. The CHS programme is supported by RCADE, the RCA’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE).

Autumn Term

In the first term of their first year, MA students are offered a range of courses that are each closely related to one of the groups of disciplines represented by the schools: applied art, architecture and design, communications, fashion and textiles and fine art. Through lectures, screenings, visits and seminars, they explore key debates and issues within contemporary culture. While most students will take a course that is related to their particular discipline, there is also the opportunity for them to explore issues outside of their discipline by electing for one of the other courses. The details of the different courses are listed in a comprehensive brochure, which is distributed at the beginning of the academic year. Each of the courses will also have an interactive page on RCADE. These pages will not only contain essential week-by-week information regarding the course, but will also provide students with the opportunity to continue debates and discussions and to upload and download course materials.

Spring Term

In the second term of the first year, students have the opportunity to select for themselves one of the set of college-wide courses that are concerned with broad, cross-disciplinary issues and that provide opportunities for students from a variety of disciplines to mix and discuss areas of common concern. By presenting a broad spectrum of ideas, issues and approaches, they help to prepare students for the challenge of undertaking their CHS dissertation. The college-wide options on offer change every year, and are described in detail in a second brochure, to be found on the relevant page of RCADE.

The Dissertation

The remainder of the academic year is devoted to the preparation and writing of a dissertation on a self-selected topic. Students are closely tutored by staff who are chosen as far as is possible to correspond with their chosen subject. As part of that process of preparation, students take part in research methods and work-in-progress seminars and receive regular individual tutorials. They are also required to submit a draft so their tutor can assess their progress and prepare them properly for bringing their work to a successful conclusion. A detailed guide to undertaking the dissertation is distributed to all students at the start of the dissertation programme. This information will be available on RCADE, and students will also be able to submit via RCADE all interim submissions, tutorial logs and feedback forms. The dissertation must be passed in order for a student to undertake their final exam.

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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 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 first year combines learning through practical experience with historical, theoretical and critical reflection. Students work on various exhibition projects, and research and write two essays. Read more

First Year

The first year combines learning through practical experience with historical, theoretical and critical reflection. Students work on various exhibition projects, and research and write two essays. They also undertake a number of study trips.

Practical Projects
Students work on a portfolio of practical exhibition projects. Projects offered in the past have included: curation of a week-long artists’ retreat at Wysing Arts Centre, Cambridgeshire; curation of a section of CCA’s exhibition as part of the Goethe Institute Cultural Project Europea n; curation of a project at ACME Project Space, London
Teaching Blocks
The programme is structured around a series of intensive taught thematic teaching blocks. Recent teaching blocks have included: What is a Curator?; Performance; Art and the Public Domain; Moving Image; Coloniality; Exhibition/Audience. Block teaching is provided by programme staff and practising professionals, including curators, artists and critics.
Courses
In parallel with the teaching blocks and practical projects, a series of seminar-based and workshop-based courses led by programme staff run throughout the first year:
'Curatorial Practice' comprises a range of collaboratively realised curatorial projects. Participation in these projects is designed to equip you with the knowledge and understanding as well as the practical skills that you will need to curate exhibitions in a variety of contexts (commercial, institutional, etc.) and with a range of content (collections, film and video etc.) It involves active, practice-based thinking about ways in which exhibitions shape cultural history and enter curatorial discourse.

Critical Theory is designed to introduce and discuss critical concepts and theories of art and culture relevant to the production, consumption and interpretation and understanding of contemporary art.

Writing for Curators aims to equip students with three distinct skills related to writing: to develop a personal writing style; to write in the ‘range’ of voices required of curators and construct appropriate texts and documents; and to produce academic writing appropriate to MA level. The course is designed to complement the various real and hypothetical curatorial projects which students work on in the first year, as well as preparing them to produce a final dissertation in their second year. Each session is focused around a separate exercise in reading, writing or text analysis.

Second Year

Study in the second year is largely student-led and individuals are encouraged to develop and deepen their own research interests. Each student is required to produce a 6–10,000 word dissertation on a subject of their own choosing. This is submitted in draft form at the end of the summer break between the first and second year, for final assessment in the second year. As part of their second year work, students will realise a major exhibition project. In previous years, CCA has mounted successful exhibitions in the public gallery spaces of RCA, as well as collaborated with key art venues across London. The CCA programme affords the opportunity for students to work in a professional capacity as curators, utilising the gallery spaces of the College, as well as collaborating with art venues and partners in the public presentation of their work.

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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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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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Digital Direction is a new 240-credit, 15-month Master’s programme starting in September 2017. Read more

Digital Direction is a new 240-credit, 15-month Master’s programme starting in September 2017.

Digital Direction addresses media and storytelling in the digital era, assessing emerging issues associated with contemporary digital communication and the creative economy, training new creative leaders who are responsive to continually changing contexts, infrastructures and technologies and engendering a new wave of creative leadership. Graduates will develop a deep understanding of critical and experimental communication/media production, creation and design practices, and through applied innovation will address current and future contexts.

The programme prepares students to evolve and lead new approaches to media and storytelling through predictive innovation, enabled by rapidly changing cultural and industrial practices, plus uses of, and developments in, digital technologies. Centring on the interrelated domains of broadcasting, film and experience/brand, the programme addresses knowledge and skills gaps in four key areas of practice: production, direction, content development/making/writing and communication/digital media design.

The programme proposes new imperatives for storytelling in an age of alternative facts and fictions; challenges associated with multiple media forms and systems; and methods for engaging publics as audiences, users, consumers, (co-)creators, stakeholders and participants.

Established approaches to production, direction, content creation and communication/digital media design are transforming at an exponential rate, employing innovative forms of storytelling and narrative experience to engage audiences in new ways. The programme is informed by associated transformations in digital technologies, including the prevalence of post-broadcast models of On Demand media; the proliferation of networked forms of production and distribution; source- and platform-agnostic, multi-cast, multi-access and multi-layered, multi-linear media; cultures of openness and control; and the primacy of interactivity.

The programme acknowledges human adaptations to living with digital technologies. Contemporary media platforms are mobile, embedded in multiple types of environments, infrastructures and products, and user-controlled with an engagement in more democratic forms of content generation and curation. In parallel, core discrete professions within the media and communication design industries are being challenged and broadened by increasingly transdisciplinary requirements. .

The programme equips students with the knowledge, understanding and skills to engage productively with the creative, design and commercial demands of this emerging and rapidly evolving multi-platform and multi-layered world. To match, a transdisciplinary approach is demanded with a strong narrative sense and a honed instinct for communication. Our contemporary uses of new digital technologies have prompted a reconsideration of communication borders and different types of responsive modes; and content developers and distributors are, in turn, converging within an increasingly fluid space.

Traditional skill sets involving narration, scriptwriting, production design, direction, set design, casting, photography, filming, lighting, and sound recording, for example, are now increasingly accompanied and informed by hitherto unrelated practices such as coding and programming, interactive design, AI, cross-platform and cross-media integration (e.g. transmedia), data visualisation and analytics, visual design, gamification, virtual/augmented reality and social media. Digital Direction addresses the demands of this new world – for example, by enabling designer-directors to produce and create content for social videos with an accompanying strategy for ensuring delivery to their target audiences, including deployment of mechanisms for openness and input.

The programme draws on six key principles from the School of Communication – conceptualisation, experimentation, expression, information, contextualisation and interdisciplinarity – which are in turn supported and developed through strategic research clusters based on the broader themes of identity, experience and publishing.



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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. Read more

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



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