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Royal College of Art is the World’s Best University for Art & Design for Consecutive Year

Once again, the RCA is named the world’s leading university for Art & Design as announced today in the 2016 QS World University Rankings. 

This accolade is the second endorsement of the RCA in as many weeks, following the announcement made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the Rt Hon George Osborne MP in his 2016 Budget to Parliament that the RCA will be awarded £54million in funding for an expansion to the Battersea campus. 

The RCA takes first place globally in Art and Design over top-ranking universities including MIT, Rhode Island School of Design, Stanford and Yale.

Dr Paul Thompson, Rector of the Royal College of Art said:

“We are delighted to be again recognised as the world’s top university for Art and Design. The RCA is highly selective, taking only the most talented artists and designers. Those students go on to transform the world – in design, fine art, fashion and engineering. The QS subject rankings represent a resounding endorsement of British higher education, with Cambridge, Oxford and UCL joining the RCA at the top tier of world-ranked universities."

Established in 1837, the Royal College of Art is the world’s most influential university of art and design. Its current students follow in the footsteps of illustrious alumni who include Sir James Dyson, Tracey Emin, Thomas Heatherwick, Holly Fulton, David Adjaye and Sir Ridley Scott.

The QS University Rankings accesses the best international universities based on peer reputation, employer reputation and academic research. 


For further information or images please contact Bethany Bull, RCA Press Office on t: +44 (0) 20 7590 4114, e: [email protected], or call +44 (0)20 7590 4123/4127, e: [email protected]

Notes to Editors

The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading university of art and design, placing at Number One in the 2015 QS World University Rankings. 

Specialising in teaching and research, the RCA offers the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD across the disciplines of applied art, fine art, design, communications and humanities. There are over 1,500 Master’s and doctoral students and more than 1,000 professionals interacting with them – including scholars, art and design practitioners, along with specialists, advisers and distinguished visitors.

World-wide Top-10 Universities for Art and Design:

1.    RCA
2.    MIT
3.    RISD
4.    Parsons
5.    UAL
6.    Pratt
7.    SAIC
8.    Joint 8 Stanford/Yale
9.    10 Politecnico di Milano

RCA Facts and Figures  

The Higher Education Funding Council for England’s report Research to Assess the Nature and Annual Value of Student Start-ups (2015), ranked the RCA as having ‘the highest number of student spin-outs with university ownership in recent years in the UK’. TheRCA had 14, compared to 4 at Oxford, Imperial and UCL and 2 at Cambridge.

The university’s commercialisation incubator, InnovationRCA, has fostered 26 start-ups which have raised £14m in investor funds over the past decade. Those start-ups have had valuations of between £600,000 - £20m. They include ROLI, recently visited by the Prime Minister, and Concrete Canvas, one of the 31 British businesses selected to accompany the Prime Minister’s visit to south-east Asia earlier this year. 

The new RCA campus will sit alongside the RCA’s existing Dyson and Woo Buildings and Clore Innovation Centre, and the Sackler fine arts facilities in Battersea. The new campus will offer new programmes at the intersection of design and science, such as robotics; wearable technologies; the application of ‘smart materials’ into new product areas; and City design - all of which form part of the new vision for the RCA. 

Driven by a strong, entrepreneurial streak, a remarkable 45% of RCA alumni go into self-employment or run their own business (survey undertaken by EKOS, 2015); the new Battersea building will allow the RCA to expand the number of start-ups inInnovationRCA, its commercialisation and business incubator described above. The RCA remains committed to its Kensington site and its historic roots, including its joint Masters programmes run with its Albertopolis partners, the Victoria & Albert Museum and Imperial College, London. 

According to a recent report published by the Design Council, the design economy is worth £74 billion to the UK.