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Key details


  • 30 March 2023


  • RCA

Read time

  • 3 minutes

These qualifications offer students the chance to develop new skills and improve career prospects, whilst pursuing their professional passions and developing further specialisations in their field.

Founded in 1837, the Royal College of Art has been named the world's leading university of art and design by the influential QS World University Rankings by Subject for the last 9 years consecutively. Specialising in postgraduate teaching and research, the RCA offers degrees across the disciplines of architecture, arts & humanities, design and communication.

The new qualifications will benefit those with professional experience or students who have completed initial postgraduate study and want to broaden their expertise, although applications for some qualifications will be open to those coming straight from undergraduate study. Each programme will provide opportunities to extend professional networks and both full-time and part-time study routes are on offer.

In comparison to the MA qualifications that the RCA currently offers, the MFA, MDes, MArch, and MEd awards allow students to extend their practice in an interdisciplinary and professionally-focused context whilst also providing the flexibility to tailor their curriculum through College-wide electives. The MRes has a greater focus on research, fostering innovative thinking, and equipping students for PhD-level study or research roles in industry.

Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor, Royal College of Art, said “These new programmes will enable students to specialise further, and benefit from the RCA’s teaching and research expertise to progress their passions and careers. We know that by supporting our students to achieve their ambitions, we will be nurturing the next generation of world leaders in the arts, design and beyond.”

Professor Naren Barfield, Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Provost, Royal College of Art, said:​​“We are delighted to be able to provide new qualifications for students to develop their practice and professional talents to equip them in their current career, or changing careers. These interdisciplinary and industry-facing awards help to build the networks and skills required to tackle our biggest global challenges.”

The programmes to be offered by the RCA at this level are:

MFA Communication

MEd Creative Education

MDes Design Futures

MFA Arts & Humanities


MArch Design Practice

Bursaries for UK students studying the new qualifications are also available, with a particular focus on the over 50s, people returning after a career break, career changes, parents returning to work after parental leave and applicants with a disability.

Sign up for the Online Q&A session on Tuesday 25th April 2023 to find out more, meet the team and learn how to apply.


For further information please contact the RCA Press Office at [email protected].

Notes to Editors

About the Royal College of Art

Founded in 1837, the Royal College of Art is the world's leading university of art and design. Specialising in teaching and research, the RCA offers degrees of MA, MPhil, MRes and PhD across the disciplines of architecture, arts & humanities, design and communications.

A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in the heart of London, the RCA provides 2500 students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world.

The RCA's approach is founded on the premise that art, design, creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today's global challenges.

The RCA is home to more than 700 of the world’s leading academic and professional staff who teach and develop students in 30 academic programmes. RCA students are exposed to new knowledge in a way that encourages them to experiment.

The RCA runs joint courses with Imperial College London and the Victoria & Albert Museum.

InnovationRCA, the university's centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 78 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 800 UK jobs.

Alumni include such major figures as Sylvia Pankhurst, Henry Moore OM, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley, David Hockney OM, Sir Peter Blake, Sir Ridley Scott, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Sir Frank Bowling, Rose Wylie RA OBE, Ian Dury, Dame Magdalene Odundo, Sir James Dyson OM, Tracey Emin RA CBE, Chris Ofili CBE, Sir Anthony Finkelstein, Lubaina Himid CBE, Sir David Adjaye, Erdem Moralioglu MBE, Francesca Amfitheatrof, Philip Treacy OBE, Julian MacDonald OBE, Deborah Nadoolman Landis, Christopher Bailey CBE, and Thomas Heatherwick RDI.

The RCA was named the world's leading university of art and design in the QS World Rankings 2023 for the ninth consecutive year (QS World Subject Rankings 2015-2023).


Get in touch

For further information please contact the RCA Press Office

Email us at
[email protected]
Darwin Building