MA Programme Description

Critical Writing in Art & Design

Critical Writing in Art & Design is a full-time, 240-credit, enhanced RCA MA (unlike the standard UK 180-credit MA). It is delivered in a 15-month format, September 2017 – December 2018. Home/EU students can opt to undertake the second part of their studies (the independent project) on a part-time basis (June 2018 – June 2019). This innovative structure has been designed to give students greater flexibility to combine full and part-time modes of study. Please note the part-time option is not available to international students for visa compliance reasons. Further details are available on Tuition Fees and MA Entrance Requirements.

Founded in 2010, the Critical Writing in Art & Design programme will launch a set of new specialisms in autumn 2017: Publishing and New Media; Creative Writing; and Art Theory. Students follow a shared, core programme as well as their chosen specialism.  This will enable students to develop focused and expert skills within the RCA’s new 15-month MA framework. The specialisms allow a close focus on the particular needs of individual students, delivered through small group seminar teaching and one-to-one tutorials.

The three specialisms are:

Publishing and New Media – This specialism offers opportunities for students to apply their interests in writing by developing innovative formats. Workshops offered on this pathway will explore the potential of online publishing and broadcasting. They will be supported by the extensive digital resources of the college.

Creative Writing – Many MA students are interested in developing a range of writing skills across a spectrum from fiction to arts journalism. Innovative writing often combines both. Students on this specialism will explore key literary techniques and concerns – such as ekphrasis and ‘voice’ - in their own writing practice, sometimes working with novelists and poets as well as the core Critical Writing in Art & Design Writing team 

Art Theory – With contemporary art embracing an rapidly expanding range of critical and aesthetic philosophies from Object Oriented Ontology to postconceptualism, this specialism will offer students an opportunity to develop a deep and sophisticated understanding of this fast-moving field. Students on this specialism will develop the literary and analytical skills required to contribute to the future development of Art Theory. 

Through close guidance and support from the Critical Writing in Art & Design team, students on all three specialisms will develop their writing and thinking practices in regular writing workshops. In the later part of their studies, they will scope and develop a tutored, independent project. This can take a wide variety of forms; from essays and book-length studies, to podcasts, websites and other live projects. For many of our graduates, the final independent project has been their passport to a career. 

Further information on the programme, and its new areas of specialisation, is available on request or at one of our Open Days. Applicants are encouraged to express interest in an area of specialisation on their application form. 


240 credits
15-month programme

Critical Writing Seminar
Critical Writing Seminar
Photographer: Richard Haughton