Programme Welcome

MRes RCA: Humanities Pathway

The MRes Pathway in the School of Humanities offers interdisciplinary training in critical, curatorial, historical and theoretical approaches to research in art and design. The pathway will foster experimentation, risk-taking and critical and creative thinking through humanities research, with a distinctive ‘art school’ ethos. Unique to the pathway is an emphasis on practice-led Humanities research: writing, curating, and designing research projects that are public-facing, contribute new knowledge and action around contemporary concerns, develop robust platforms for PhD and other subsequent research and can be applied across a rich range of professional careers.

MRes Humanities encourages interdisciplinary and experimental approaches to arts and humanities research.  The broad base of expertise offered by the School of Humanities means that we can support research interests in art, design, photography, architecture and urban studies, fashion, the crafts, film, graphics, sound, performance, technology and emerging media.  Given our location in a world-leading research intensive art and design university, our work is directly informed by our close relationship to contemporary practice and future-thinking in art and design. The School has an international network of partners, including museums, galleries and archives and arts, publishing and media organisations. Across professions, our graduates’ work is informed by critical practice, research and curatorial methods.

The Mres combines independent research and with training in research methods and skills.  Students formulate and develop an independent study programme, supported by one-to-one tutorials with a personal research supervisor. Final outcomes for the independent study programme may include either a thesis or project. In addition, students will complete a portfolio of research outcomes. These might include devising arts proposals for exhibitions and public programmes, curating and programming live events, preparing texts for publication, and creating digital content such as blogs and podcasts. The portfolio will include a group project, designed and delivered collaboratively by the cohort of MRes. students.

MRes RCA Humanities students also undertake broad training in the research methods and skills used across research-led careers in the arts and humanities. Lectures, seminars, intensive workshops and projects led by the College and School’s internationally active faculty introduce students to a broad range of research practices and techniques which can be used in the independent study programme.

MRes Humanities will equip students to progress to doctoral research, or to pursue careers in the arts and the creative industries, whether through independent practice, consultancy or employment in arts organisations.  The programme stresses entrepreneurial skills alongside intellectual growth. School of Humanities graduates have a strong track record in obtaining leadership roles in the arts, whether in academia, museums and galleries, cultural programming and management, journalism, publishing and criticism, or as independent practitioners. Our graduates shape as well as facilitate the future of practice, policy and strategy in cultural sectors worldwide.

The launch of the new MRes comes as we recognise the increasing role that research-informed thinking and practice plays in these fields internationally, and the RCA’s unparalleled ability to offer a training ground and networks to enhance developing careers. 

Key features of the programme:

  • Training and support for the development of a research career in academia and/or arts, business, policy and cultural enterprises
  • ‘Practice-led’ humanities in curating, writing and history as well as critical theory and research methods
  • A broad programme of interdisciplinary research methods training across art and design, at the interface of practice and research
  • Focus on the public value and contribution of research through understanding ‘impact’ agendas for arts and humanities research
  • A combination of time-tested and experimental research formats and approaches, including practice-led and practice-based research
  • Designed to nurture an individual research project (potentially leading to PhD or public project) and a portfolio of writing and research examples
  • Taught by Internationally-active, public-facing researchers
  • London research community, national and international partners including museums, arts organisations and academic subject specialist networks

Fore further information or to arrange a conversation about the MRes degree, email

Jane Pavitt
Jane Pavitt