Inside

MA Programme Description

Interior Design

Design projects form the core learning and teaching element of the programme. Projects are a mix of both set and self-generated. They will vary in duration and format. In the first term of years one and two of the course, students will work together as mixed vertical groups to enhance peer-to-peer learning. In the second and third terms of the course students work in year specific groups but with timetabled reviews of each others work at key points in their respective curriculum. In the second half of term one, second year students work independently as their final year thesis project is developed. It is expected that individual students will pursue projects of a particular personal interest in relation to their Interior Design studio ‘provocation’.

Design projects will always be concerned with issues in and around the design of interior environments, exploring issues such as proximities, inhabitation and the construction of a range of spatial identities. The context for design projects will vary, but will often include existing buildings, urban spaces, the analysis of site and human occupation and inhabitation, material and spatial identity and so on. Where applicable live briefs will be included in the curriculum where students work with commercial or industry partners. In some cases design projects will take the form of competitions that may be set within the programme or by organisations outside of the College.

The second year of the programme is organised around a number of Interior Design Platforms (IDPs). Their number will depend upon the number of students on the programme at any given time. Each platform will begin around the middle of term one and be based around emergent or current issues in the subject of Interiors and in other built environment/design led contexts. The tutors who run them will position the content of the studios. The studios will be configured in order to respond to a particular overall provocation and location, a site and context that will be set by the Head of Programme and the teaching team.

The programme employs a variety of different learning and teaching methods to help you achieve your individual aims and objectives, as well as those of the programme.

In addition to the core Interior Design programme content all students at the RCA undertake the Critical & Historical Studies component independently of their studio work. This work culminates in the submission of the dissertation, a 6,000 – 10,000 word essay, at the start of the second year.

First Year

In the first year students will examine and develop ideas in response to what are considered to be some of the fundamental elements and principles of the interior. These have been developed into three key areas of work: ‘Proximities’, ‘Inhabitation’ and ‘Identities’. In term one students will undertake a short introductory project. You will then take part in ‘Across RCA’ week where there is an opportunity to work in different departments with students and staff from other Schools in the College. Following this the whole of the programme undertakes a field study visit that will determine the site and context for the rest of the ‘Proximities’ phase of the project. This leads up to the Christmas break.

In the second term ‘Inhabitation’ introduces projects based around different forms of the use of the interior. ‘Work In Progress’ is a school-wide exhibition that is used to show the college what the programme is undertaking. The third term consolidates the previous learning into a project entitled ‘Identities’, where students are required to construct design projects that examine the manifestations of particular atmospheres, surfaces, rooms and conditions that convey the aspects of a particular site, communities, clients and stakeholders. It will foreground all aspects of the student learning to date.

All of year one is underpinned by ‘Provocation & Communication’, a set of weekly Tuesday morning lectures, talks, seminars that underpin the current project being undertaken with key ideas, texts, theories and discussions.

A Personal Development Plan, in the form of a ‘Magazine’ is expected to be originated that allows students to communicate their learning through capturing their process work, research, visits to exhibitions, cities, and so on. This will be debated and referred to throughout the year in tutorials and projects. Where appropriate the year will contain industry partner projects and competitions.

Second Year

At the start of the second year (term four) students undertake a short project with year one students in vertical studios. At the end of the project students will participate in ‘Across RCA’. The site visit follows and will then set the context for the IDS’s and their personal thesis project. The focus of the work is concerned with developing an innovative project that explores an aspect of interior design at a level appropriate for a Masters student. This work may be a single interior design project, involve an extended piece of research, a series of smaller exploratory projects or a combination of these approaches. This work culminates in the material developed for the Final Examination and then exhibition at the Degree Show.

Where appropriate the year will contain industry partner projects and competitions.

Critical & Historical Studies Dissertation

The RCA provides a unique environment for postgraduate art and design students to reflect upon their own practice, and to engage with students from their own and other disciplines. The role of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) is to support the studio programmes in enabling these critical engagements to take place. The courses offered by CHS to first year studio-based MA students propose an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.

In the autumn and spring terms there are a series of College-wide seminars and lectures. The autumn term series will relate to your particular discipline (though it is possible also to join one or more additional series being offered to students from other programmes), whereas the spring term series will be more broad-based and cross-disciplinary in nature.

In the spring and summer terms, a CHS tutor will give you individual tutorials to support the development of a dissertation that is submitted at the start of the second year. The dissertation should be between 6,000 and 10,000 words in length. It is a major piece of work and you will be not be able to submit for the Final Examination until you have passed this assessment.

For Interim Examination you are required to submit a piece of written work of no less than 1,000 words (known as a First Text) together with a dissertation bibliography by a date given to you by the CHS programme. The date and additional details of this submission will be given to you in the autumn term. You cannot proceed to the second year without completing this submission.

Critical & Historical Studies

The RCA provides a unique environment for postgraduate art and design students to reflect upon their own practice, and to engage with students from their own and other disciplines. The role of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) is to support the studio programmes in enabling these critical engagements to take place. The courses offered by CHS to first year studio-based MA students propose an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.

In the autumn and spring terms there are a series of College-wide seminars and lectures. The autumn term series will relate to your particular discipline (though it is possible to elect to join a series being offered to students on other programmes) whereas the spring term series will be more broad-based and cross-disciplinary in nature.

In the spring and summer terms, a CHS tutor will give you individual tutorials to support the development of a dissertation which is submitted at the start of the second year. The dissertation should be between 6,000–10,000 words in length – this is a major piece of work and you will be not be able to submit for the Final Examination until you have passed this assessment.    

KEY DETAILS

240 credits
Two-year programme
Full-time

Student Work
Student Work, Matthias Jung