MA Entrance Requirements


Applications are assessed through part one and part two of the entrance examinations by a panel of tutors and students as well as the Head of Programme and the Senior Tutor.

For part one the panel views the initial portfolio of images to select and invite candidates for part two, 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.

  • 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.
  • Candidates apply from all kinds of backgrounds, 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 to the course 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.

Digital Portfolio

Portfolio submissions will be accepted in the following format only:

  • Ten digital images in .jpg format with the following dimensions: width: at least 36cm (1024 pixels). height: at least 27cm (768 pixels).
  • All images must be of 72 dpi (dots per inch) resolution - please re-size all images appropriately. All image files must be saved as .jpg format.
  • No actual paintings, portfolios, photographs, slides, DVDs/videos should be submitted at this stage. For the portfolio submission, only still images of time-based works will be considered. If invited to interview then these works will be viewed.
  • Submission of any material in any other format than the requested .jpgs will invalidate your application.
  • The ten images of your work should include, if possible, a few examples of earlier as well as recent works.
  • Each image should have all the relevant information (i.e. date, size, medium, title) on the image list. Please note that we will only accept ten images.
  • We do not consider any late applications.


If you are invited for an interview:

  • You should bring a portfolio including both physical works and 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 invited, you will be emailed with further details on portfolio specifications.
  • 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.

Candidates who don't speak English as their first language are required to produce evidence that within the previous two years they have achieved at least 93 in the TOEFL internet test with an additional writing test score of TWE 24 or an IELTS exam score of 6.5 with 6 in writing.

Cross College Requirements

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

Pre-sessional Language Courses

The College offers an eight-week EAP Pre-Sessional Course runs from July to September every year for applicants who have not quite reached the required IELTS level before they start their Programme. Entry level for the eight-week Pre-sessional Course is IELTS (Academic) 6.0 overall with minimum 5.5–6.0 in the writing or 6.5 overall with 5.5 in the writing, or equivalent recognised by the College.

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. 

See Tuition Fees for a breakdown of costs for Home and Overseas students on each of our degrees.

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 2019/20

Due to a substantial increase in applications, we are no longer accepting applications to this Programme for a September 2019 start. New applications are welcome but will be considered for a September 2020 start. If places become available for a 2019 start, successful applicants will be contacted.

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.