MA Application Process

Applications are open for all programmes with the exception of Design Interactions.

Online applications for 2016/17 entry opened on 12 October 2015, and information on the application process is provided below.

With the exception of Design Interactions, all programmes will continue to welcome applications after the priority deadline of 13 January has passed.

Dates for Priority Applications 2016/17

Applications open – 12 October 2015

Deadline for priority applications – 13 January 2016

Deadline for receipt of portfolios – 22 January 2016

Invitations to interview sent out – 12 February 2016 

MA interviews completed – 11 March 2016 

Offer letters sent out – 23 March 2016

Online Applications

All applications are to be submitted via the RCA Online Applications website. 

Application Process

1. Check you are eligible

Please ensure that you fulfill the particular entrance requirements of the programme before applying – see MA Entrance Requirements for details.

2. Check you meet the English language requirements

You will be expected to demonstrate that you have a reasonable knowledge of the English language

MA candidates who do not speak English as their first language will be required to provide evidence that they have achieved one of the following:  

  • An IELTS grade 6.5 with a 6.0 in the test of written English (TWE)

  • A Pearson Academic (PTE) score of 64 overall with 54 in the TWE, or equivalent  

Applicants for the MA/MSc in Innovation Design Engineering require English language tests results equivalent to 6.5 overall with no less than 6 in all four elements.

Applicants for the MA/MSc in Global Innovation Design ONLY are required to have English Language proficiency requirements of or equivalent to an IELTS score of 7 with a 6.5 in the TWE.

Please note that this includes anyone who has already studied in the UK or another English-speaking country. Tests must be no older than two years.

Although your English may improve dramatically once here – thinking, listening, speaking and reading English everyday – it is important that you are able to participate fully from the start of the course. Those students who develop these abilities late in the programme may be disadvantaged. If your English is not fluent you should consider delaying your application to the College until your language ability has been developed to a higher level.

Students who need a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK should note that if they are offered a place at the RCA, they will be required to take an external test (IELTS UKVI only) as a condition of their offer in order to meet the Home Office's English Language requirements. For more information, please see English Language Requirements

3. Select a course

Please note that is possible to apply for more than one course. You will need to register with a different username for both applications (you can use the same contact email address). The applications are to be treated individually and you will need to make two separate payments and submit two separate portfolios.

4. Complete and submit your application

After 12 October 2015, go to Online Applications to start your application. The application website will open in a new window, so that you can see this guidance while you are completing it. You will be able to save your work and retrieve it later, so you do not have to complete it all in one go. Once you have registered with the applications system, you will be given an Application Reference Number. This number should be quoted in all further correspondence and on any papers that you wish to submit separately.

You will need to provide the following:

  • Personal and Contact Details 
    Your name, address, country of origin etc.

  • Previous Education Details and Previous Experience
    Details should be entered in the online form and a copy of your degree or diploma (if you have graduated) should be uploaded. All candidates with overseas undergraduate degrees must also enclose a full transcript of their first degree course covering each year of their studies and stating subjects taken and marks obtained. The offer of a place to a candidate who is undertaking a degree at the time of application will be dependent upon the candidate producing proof of having fulfilled the College’s criteria for admission. Transcripts may be sent separately to the Admissions Office and must be clearly marked with your name, course and Application Reference Number. Tier 4 students MUST inform us about any periods of study in the UK that were six months or longer.
  • Disability or Learning Difference
    The RCA welcomes you if you have a physical disability or learning difference. You are required to present a portfolio or other evidence of creative work on a level with other candidates, but the entry requirements may be varied. The Academic Board for Concessions and Discipline (ABCD) can make judgements about the extent to which qualifications or experience gained elsewhere may be accepted in partial fulfilment of its requirements for a given award. You are advised to visit the College in advance of your application to ensure that the study environment will suit your needs or can be reasonably adapted to do so. The assessment of a disabled applicant’s needs is coordinated by the Student Adviser, and you are encouraged to make contact to arrange a visit and discuss any concerns with Student Support over the telephone +44 (0)20 7590 4140 or via email.

  • A statement outlining why you have chosen a particular course and what you propose to gain from your studies
    This is your chance to explain why you want to study at the RCA and why you have chosen the particular course that you want to join.
  • Academic Referee Contact Details
    When you make an online application, a request for a reference will be automatically emailed to your referee. Please make sure that you provide your referee’s full contact details when you make your application.

  • Payment of the Application Fee
    The Fee for 2016/17 is £65. Payments must be made online and full instructions are given in the online application form. Please note that payment will be required before you can submit your application. Application fees are non-refundable.

Any queries about the application process should be addressed to:

Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU

+44 (0)20 7590 4444

5. Submit your portfolio

Please see top of page for closing dates for receipt of portfolios by individual programmes. For details about the Entrance Examination and portfolio requirements see MA Entrance Requirements

Portfolio packing

  • We receive hundreds of portfolios therefore it is vital everything is properly labelled.
  • Please ensure you use the Item list or Image List form and fill out an identifying label for each item in your portfolio.  These will be available to download once you have submitted your online application form.
  • Please use the ‘Fragile: Handle With Care’ labels provided. These will also be available to download once you have submitted your application form online.
  • Working drawings and photographs or finished work should be dated and have attached a brief written explanation.
  • All work submitted should be correctly titled and clearly marked with your name.
  • You must indicate clearly the exact role you played in the creation of the work submitted
  • Each portfolio must be parcelled separately in a strong cover. The College will not accept crates containing the work of several candidates sent in bulk. 

Shipping portfolios from overseas

  • Overseas candidates must ensure that freight charges include payment of any delivery charges from the port of arrival in this country and meet the cost of the return of their work, including all handling charges incurred by the College’s agents. This is very important as the College will not pay customs charges on behalf of candidates.
  • The external wrapping should be marked clearly: ‘For Entrance Examination only; to be returned to the country of origin within three months’. This should eliminate any customs-clearance charges.
  • If you use a courier company to send your portfolio, you MUST state on the invoice and on the shipment Air Waybill that the package is to be returned within three months.
  • Paintings must not be sent.

Portfolio posting

For all courses, with the exception of those only accepting online portfolios (see below), physical portfolios should be sent to:

Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU

Portfolios for Animation, Ceramics & Glass, Contemporary Art Practice, Design Interactions, Fashion Menswear, Fashion Womenswear, Information Experience Design, Painting, Photography, Print, Sculpture, Service Design, Textiles and Visual Communication are to be submitted online for 2016/17.

The portfolio website will be live from 1 December 2015. A link will be provided on the application form. You can start to prepare your portfolio prior to upload, according to the MA Entrance Requirements under the relevant programme.

Portfolios for Design Products, Global Innovation Design, Jewellery & Metal and Innovation Design Engineering may be submitted either online or in physical format.  Please read the guidance in the relevant Entrance Requirements section for more information.

6. Assessment

The first part of the Entrance Examination consists of a review of the application and, for the majority of courses, a portfolio of work. If you have not been successful at assessment stage, an email notifying you of this decision will be sent out.

7. Interview

The second part of the Entrance Examination consists of an interview. If you are selected you will be invited to a formal interview at the College with the appropriate admissions board and, for some courses, practical tests.

8. Results letter

The results letters will be sent to those students who have attended an interview.

Students who are accepted to the College will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place, which will be offset against the 2016/17 tuition fees.

9. Post-entrance examination

  • Portfolios will be returned to candidates as quickly as possible after the examination

  • To avoid the possibility of damage in transit, those candidates who can are advised to make personal arrangements for collection
  • The College cannot accept any responsibility for work lost or damaged


+44 (0)20 7590 4444

Student Support
+44 (0)20 7590 4140