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Entrance Requirements

Graduate Diploma Art & Design

Prospective Diploma in Art & Design applicants are likely to be:

  • Those who have the required educational background to go on to Master’s study, but who require greater proficiency in the English language.
  • Those who do not have an undergraduate background in art and design, but who can demonstrate potential in their chosen discipline of study.
  • Those for whom their undergraduate studies did not adequately prepare them for MAster’s study at the RCA.
  • Those who would like to use the programme as a diagnostic experience to help them decide which area to specialise in at Master’s level.

Candidates are selected for places entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The first part of the Entrance Examination consists of an assessment of the application and portfolio of work. If successful at assessment stage, students will be invited to the second part of the Entrance Examination, a formal interview with the appropriate admissions board, and for some specialisms, practical tests. The programme may choose to offer a place without an interview but reserves the right to invite candidates for interview. Applicants should be able to meet both the cross-College Requirements and individual Programme Requirements set out below. 

Cross-College Entrance Requirements

  • Entry is based on a high standard of final-year undergraduate work (as reflected in portfolio or degree classification), or an advanced work of an equivalent level. Applicants’ work must also demonstrate a maturity and readiness to undertake Master's-preparatory studies.
  • Applicants must normally have obtained a good relevant undergraduate degree or an equivalent qualification. The College recognises as an equivalent qualification any degree, diploma, certificate or other evidence of formal qualification awarded by another university or higher education establishment where the award is made following the successful completion of a course of at least three years’ study, the programme of study being open, as a general rule, only to persons holding a certificate awarded on the successful completion of a full course of upper secondary education. Other qualifications may be approved, providing that the Academic Board for Concessions and Discipline (ABCD) is satisfied that the applicant has the ability to pursue the programme of study successfully.
  • The ABCD is empowered to make judgements about the extent to which qualifications or experience gained elsewhere may be accepted in partial fulfilment of its requirements.

Upon entry to any of the College’s programmes, students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. The potential to benefit from and contribute to the programme of study
  2. Prior knowledge and experience indicating the potential to achieve the independence necessary for advanced study in a specialist discipline
  3. Respect for cultural differences and such representations in art and design
  4. Openness to having ideas and notions challenged by themselves and others
  5. Enthusiasm and aptitude to confront the issues to be addressed in preparation for future Master's study or a professional career

Specialism Requirements

  • All applicants must evidence a good undergraduate degree in a related subject area and IELTs of 5.5 overall and a minimum of 5.5 in all elements (or equivalent from another approved testing provider).
  • We welcome applications from students of all ages, and view both prior academic and professional experience as valuable.
  • Applicants applying to any of the specialisms should also be able demonstrate the appropriate technical skills required for this level of study.

Fine Art specialism

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in the Fine Arts subject area. Applicants with a strong degree in other undergraduate fields will also be considered if the applicant can demonstrate their suitability to the study of Fine Art at application and interview. Applicants should be able to demonstrate an original and critical approach to Fine Art as well as an ability to engage with current theories of art and culture that inform their practice.

Humanities specialism

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in an arts or humanities subject. Applicants with a strong degree in other undergraduate fields will also be considered if the applicant can demonstrate their suitability to the study of history of design at application and interview. We encourage the diversity that different academic backgrounds can bring to the programme. Applicants with a background in art or design practice are also encouraged to apply. Unlike other specialisms on the Graduate Diploma, applicants do not need to submit a portfolio as part of the application process for the Humanities specialism. We ask that you send us a sample of your writing, for example, an essay from your previous studies or a section of your undergraduate dissertation.

Communication specialism

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in an art, design or humanities subject area. Applicants with a strong degree in other undergraduate fields, or sufficient work experience, will also be considered if the applicant can demonstrate the appropriate intellectual, creative and personal qualities to engage with the demands of the programme.

Product, Interiors & Spatial Design specialism

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in an art, design or humanities subject area. Applicants with a strong degree in other undergraduate fields, or sufficient work experience, will also be considered if the applicant can demonstrate the appropriate intellectual, creative and personal qualities to engage with the demands of the programme.

Fashion & Textiles specialism 

Applicants should have a good undergraduate degree in an art, design, textiles or humanities subject area. Applicants with a strong degree in other undergraduate fields, or sufficient work experience, will also be considered if the applicant can demonstrate the appropriate intellectual, creative and personal qualities to engage with the demands of the programme.

Digital Portfolio

Your digital portfolio should be uploaded to the Online Applications website. Portfolio submissions will be accepted in the following formats only:

  • Ten digital images in JPG format no larger than 2MB
  • We prefer your images to be 1024 x 768 pixels or greater
  • All image files must be saved as JPG format
  • Links to videos hosted on sites such as Vimeo or Youtube may be uploaded, please make sure that they are publicly viewable
  • No physical work should be submitted at this stage
  • Submission of any material in any other format than the requested JPGs or URLs will invalidate your application
  • The ten items of your work should include, if possible, a few examples of your earlier work as well your more recent work
  • Each item should be provided with relevant information (i.e. date, size, materials, medium, title, etc)
  • Please note that we will only accept ten images or links to videos
  • We do not consider any late applications

If you’re coming from a non-Art & Design background and you don’t have a portfolio, please submit anything that demonstrates your skills and your passion for your chosen area of study. Examples of the kinds of things you could submit are: writings, drawings, or photos for example. When considering applications for the Graduate Diploma, we focus less on the quantity of items submitted for consideration and more on the quality of items.