A Note from the Rector

Founded in 1837, the Royal College of Art is the world’s oldest art and design university in continuous operation.

Proud of its extraordinary roster of former students and its past successes, the RCA is however very much focused on the future: advancing knowledge and exploring new fields of practice in art, design, architecture, fashion, communication, the humanities and the applied arts.

The RCA is a graduate university, offering Master’s, MPhil and PhD programmes. We are a community of 1,420 students spread across six academic schools situated in central London. In addition to our taught courses, the RCA is a research intensive environment, with faculty members of international stature working alongside early-career research fellows. This concentration of specialism makes the RCA unique.

Whether you are interested in study, research or partnering with the RCA, I hope you find this website inspiring and informative.

The Royal College of Art is the world’s most influential, wholly postgraduate university institution of art and design – fine art, applied art, design, communications and humanities – offering the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD. It is the most concentrated community of artists, designers and communicators to be found anywhere; a community focused on art in a design environment and design in an art environment.

A key tenet of the RCA is that, as well as teaching, our academic staff – renowned artists, designers and writers – also practise and research. This is an approach that seems to work. World-ranking academics attract the world’s finest MA students, and this year we welcomed 1,420 talented individuals from some 62 different countries, and increased our pool of MPhil and PhD candidates.

At the College’s heart is a firm belief in project-based education, face-to-face teaching and learning and professional orientation. Our mission is to recruit talented students of great variety and complexity, whatever their background, and we are proud of the fact that our students come to us from all over the world, as well as from all over the UK. This commitment to diversity and inclusion makes our ability to give financial support to as many students as possible very important.

To the designer or artist or writer considering whether the RCA is the right place for them, I say this: the RCA gives you the freedom to experiment, to think differently, debate, challenge and practise. The chance to find your voice. We want you to leave with the confidence to follow your own path and pursue your goals with the right set of skills, and we work hard to ensure that happens.

Dr Paul Thompson
Rector and Vice-Provost

"The RCA continues to develop graduates who are confident, smart, networked, future-focused and prepared to take risks in bringing distinctive creative visions into the world, transforming it with contributions whose impacts are felt in culture, society and the well-being of citizens." Naren Barfield

Pro-Rector, Academic