Data Protection, Privacy and Cookies

This page explains how the Royal College of Art (RCA) collects and uses personal data, why we collect it, how it is used, and what processes are in place in respect of personal information. Below you'll find our Data Protection Policy and Fair Processing Notices for Staff, Students and Alumni.

The Royal College of Art (the College) processes the personal data of staff, students and other individuals who come into contact with the College. This information is gathered in order to enable the provision of education and other associated functions. In addition, the College may be required by law to collect, use and share certain information.

The College is registered as a Data Controller, with the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Details are available on the ICO website:

RCA registration number: Z5688595
Expires: 28 October 2019

The College issues has a series of Fair Processing Notices for Staff, Students and Alumni. These detail the purpose of processing personal data as well as the legal bases that they rely on.

All data kept within the College that falls within the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is recorded in the central Information Asset Register and associated Retention Schedule.

For more information, download our full Data Protection Policy (PDF)

1. Visitors to Our Websites

The RCA website collects data from website visitors for specific purposes that relate to legitimate interests concerning the College’s core activity, as a world-leading university with academic schools and centres in research, knowledge exchange, executive education and innovation. 

The RCA may also use ‘cookies’ and ‘tracking pixels’ on any of its web sites. A cookie is a small text file that is sent from a web server to your browser and may be stored on your computer, designed to collect data for statistical purposes. A tracking pixel is a marker inserted into a website page that connects your data to other information you have made available on other platforms. 

RCA website cookies  and tracking pixels do not collect any identifiable personal information, but can automatically collect data based on visitor browser settings and context (e.g. location, device, browser, preferences) and the use of our websites. You can configure your own browser or social media platforms to control how much of your data is available through cookies and tracking pixels. 

How will we use the data?

  • for analytics purposes – to count the number of unique visits to a page or click patterns, and understand the context in which visitors navigate through the website, so that we can improve the content and navigation
  • to provide visitors with a tailored and appropriate experience, when they return to a website
  • to match profiling data from third parties, to improve our services to users
  • to report statistics internally and to regulatory authorities on request
  • to measure website performance
  • where such storage or access is strictly necessary for the provision of a service requested by the subscriber, visitor or user.

Links to other websites

The RCA website contains links to other websites. We are not responsible for the privacy practices of other sites. We encourage our visitors to be aware when they leave our website, and to read the privacy arrangements of other sites that collect or use personal data.

2. Mailing-list Subscribers

Subscribers to newsletters or email lists may be contacted when we promote programmes of study or events that may be of interest. Anyone may at any time request us to stop using their personal data for direct marketing purposes via the opt out included in all emails or by contacting: media@rca.ac.uk

3. Applicants

By submitting an enquiry or application, you are consenting to your data being held by QS Enrolment plc, on behalf of the Royal College of Art. Your data will be used for the purposes of dealing with your enquiry, and to send you relevant information about the College.

Neither QS Enrolment plc nor the Royal College of Art will pass your details on to any third party. If you wish to remove yourself from the Royal College of Art database please contact QS Enrolment plc, IDT House, 44 Featherstone Street, London EC1Y 8RN or email admissions@rca.ac.uk.

What personal information do we hold?

We ask applicants to provide us with the following data during the application process:

  • name
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • address
  • telephone number
  • email
  • present nationality
  • country of birth
  • country of permanent residence
  • UK Visa status and details
  • passport details (Tier 4 visa students only)
  • English language qualifications (for applicants whose first language is not English), including certificates of award
  • institution name, dates of attendance, programme title, result and thesis title for all higher education qualifications, including certificates of award
  • institution name, subject, qualification, result and year of award for all further education qualifications
  • details and dates of work experience relevant to the application
  • details of previous applications to the RCA
  • ethnicity
  • disability and learning differences
  • financial support plans
  • criminal convictions
  • programme applied for
  • personal statement in support of the application
  • referee name, position and contact details
  • a portfolio of work relevant to the application.

This information is retained in perpetuity on the College’s secure Student Information System.

What do we use this information for?

The information is used predominantly to support us in considering your application. Specifically, the information is used to:

  • consider whether you are likely to have the capacity to successfully complete the programme you have applied to, in accordance with our Admissions Policy
  • enable us to organise interviews and communicate with you about your application to the College;
  • assess your likely fee and visa status, so that we can advise you on how to proceed if you are made an offer to a programme of the College
  • assist with the issue of Confirmations of Acceptance for Study (CAS) documents to students requiring a Tier 4 student visa to enter the UK.

We also use the information to monitor and assess our application and student recruitment processes, ensuring that we can reassure applicants and stakeholders that our processes are entirely merit based, and that there are no barriers that discriminate on the basis of protected or other non-academic characteristics. We also use information to inform and improve activities that enable greater access to the Royal College of Art for all potential students.

Finally, we use this information to prepare your student record should you accept your offer, so that we are able to register and induct you speedily to the Royal College of Art at the start of your programme of study.

Who do we share this information with?

The College has engaged QS Enrolment Solutions to support us in the recruitment of students. Non-sensitive personal data is shared with QS Enrolment Solutions, who manage communications with international applicants up to the point at which the student is registered. 

What happens if I do not provide this information?

If we do not receive the information that we request during the application process then we reserve the right not to consider your application.

4. Students

As a prospective or enrolled student, the College will collect and use data relating to personal details, family and social circumstances, education and training records, employment information, financial details, and services provided. In addition, we may collect and use special category data about you such as information relating to your ethnicity, religion, disability or medical condition for specific purposes. 

The principle purpose for processing your personal data is for us to deliver educational content and to facilitate your education. 

For more information, download our Data Protection and Student Data – Fair Processing Notice (PDF)

5. Alumni

As an enrolled student, you are automatically part of the Alumni Network when you graduate. The Development & Alumni Relations Office collect and use data relating to personal details, family and social circumstances, education and training records, along with employment information, if you choose to share this with us.

The principle purpose for processing your personal data is for us to deliver alumni services to you. To do this, we process your personal data based on our legitimate interests. We also offer some features including events and promotions based on your consent.

For more information, download our Data Protection and Alumni Data – Fair Processing Notice Summary (PDF)

6. Staff

As a member of staff, the College will collect and use data relating to personal details, family, education and training records, employment information, financial details, and services provided. In addition, we may collect and use special category data about you such as information relating to your ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, disability or medical condition for specific purposes. 

The principle purpose for processing personal data relating to staff is to facilitate the provision of your university employment, which is undertaken by way of a contract. 

For more information, download our Data Protection and Staff Data – Fair Processing Notice (PDF)

Further information

This is the website of the Royal College of Art, an exempt charity which operates under the Terms of a Royal Charter. Our registered office is: 

Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU

Complaints relating to the handling of Personal Data may be referred to the Royal College of Arts Data Protection Officer who can be contacted at: dpo@rca.ac.uk

Or to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted at: 

Wycliffe House
Water Lane
Wilmslow
Cheshire SK9 5AF
www.ico.gov.uk