Inside

College History

Origins and Growth

The Royal College of Art started life in 1837 as the Government School of Design, located in Somerset House in the Strand. Following the Great Exhibition of 1851, this relatively small-scale operation was radically transformed to accommodate art as well as design, leading the institution to be rechristened the National Art Training School at its new home in South Kensington. In 1896 it became the Royal College of Art.

In 1967 the College was granted a Royal Charter, endowing it with university status and the power to grant its own degrees. To this day, the RCA remains the world’s most influential wholly postgraduate university institution of art and design, offering MA, MPhil and PhD degrees in fine art, applied art, design, communication and humanities. It is the most concentrated community of young artists, designers and communicators to be found anywhere.