MA Entrance Requirements


Candidates for all MA courses are assessed on their existing qualities as demonstrated in their work and in their interview, as well as on their potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve MA standards overall. The assessment will consider: creativity, imagination and innovation evident in the work; ability to articulate the intentions of the work; intellectual engagement in relevant areas; appropriate technical skills; overall interview performance, including oral use of English.

The application procedure focuses on searching out those candidates that are highly motivated, independent and demonstrate they have the critical skills necessary to develop and further their existing ideas. In short, those artists that – given the opportunity to join the Painting programme – would utilise their time with us to the full, and have the generosity to support their fellow students.

Students apply from all kinds of back-grounds, but generally having completed a BA degree. In recent years, people have come from fine art, printmaking, painting, sculpture, photo media, conservation, illustration, design, textiles, architecture, art history and interactive arts courses.

While many students enter the course after years of independent work, we also accept students directly from undergraduate courses.

Ultimately we want to attract those artists that want to work in a supportive environment and have the drive and ambition to realise the full potential of their studio practice, in turn energising their peer group.

Application Procedure

Applications are assessed through Part 1 and Part 2 of the Entrance Examinations by a panel of tutors and students as well as the Head of Programme and the Senior Tutor.

For Part 1 the panel views the initial portfolio of images to select and invite candidates for Part 2, which is the interview, where applicants are invited to bring physical works, supportive material, and film/video works.

Following the interviews the panel makes their selection for the following year's cohort,  including a reserve list. Applicants are selected on the strength of their portfolio, their interview, the potential of their work and the nature of their work, to ensure a dynamic range of tendencies and agendas in any one year group.

The applications procedure is presented in full during Open Days, outlining how the applications are seen and assessed.

Digital Portfolio

Artwork 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 actual paintings, portfolios, photographs, slides, DVDs/videos 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 earlier as well as recent works
  • Each item should be provided with relevant information (i.e. date, size, medium, title)
  • Please note that we will only accept ten images or links to videos
  • We do not consider any late applications

Interview (if invited)

  • You will be asked to bring up to four works with dimensions not exceeding 2 metres by 2.5 metres, or up to six works if their average size is considerably less.
  • In addition, you should bring a portfolio to the interview containing an edited selection of work, which may include drawings in any media, any other work on paper and photographs. Sketchbooks and notebooks may also be included, but should be limited to those that are relevant to recent work.
  • If you would like to bring any time-based works please notify us of the format in advance of the interview.
  • All work must be taken away after the interview.

In the Painting Studio
In the Painting Studio
Photographer: Richard Haughton

Cross College Requirements

For full details of cross-College entrance requirements and portfolio requirements (if applicable), see MA Entrance Requirements.

Fees & Funding

Applicants to the RCA from England and the EU are likely to be eligible for the new Postgraduate Student Loan of up to £10,000 per course of study. 

Tuition fees for 15-month MA programmes in 2017/18 are: UK/EU: £14,500 per annum; Overseas: £34,000 per annum. 

Tuition fees for 2-year MA programmes in 2017/18 are: UK/EU: £9,500 per annum (£19,000 total fee); Overseas: £28,400 per annum (£56,800 total fee). 

Fees for joint MA/MSc programmes differ. See Tuition Fees for further information. 

Students should estimate the cost of living in London at £12,000–£15,000 per year. 

For further information on funding visit Financial Help, or email

If you are from the USA you should note that the Royal College of Art is designated as an eligible institution for American students to apply for a Guaranteed Student Loan under the new Direct Loan Program. The RCA's School Code is 00942300.

Applications 2018/19

Applications for 2018 entry are now open. Visit Apply for details on how to make your application, or log in to our Online Applications site.

If you are considering applying to the College, you can prepare for your application by researching the academic programmes offered by each of the Schools, and accessing the Tuition Fees and Funding Support information available. The College provides a number of bursaries towards fees and the costs of living in London. They are available to home and EU students on a competitive basis. For further details, please see Financial Help.