MA Programme Description


First Year

In the first week of term, students are introduced to the core programme philosophy, to the College’s structures and facilities and to their peer group. There follows three weeks of three-day inductions into intaglio, lithography and screen print, which are integrated with a brief introduction to the broad range of still and moving digital image facilities across the College.

In the first term a study trip allows for the social and intellectual stimulation of sharing discussion around artworks in an international context. Each student then begins the process of working to develop a self-initiated and ambitious body of studio work. The development of this work is supported and challenged by lectures, seminars, workshops, exhibitions, group critiques and tutorials available both within the programme, the School and the College at large.

A Work-in-progress Show, an external exhibition and a publishing project are all aimed at supporting students in identifying the direction for their work through practical experimentation and discussion with their peers, tutors and visitors.

Second Year

The focus of the second year is the development of students’ art practice in whatever form is appropriate to their ideas. Students are expected to be self reflective and independent in the development of their work and to engage with discussion with their peers, tutors and visiting tutors. Students need to understand and articulate the wider context within which to situate their work. To this end there is an increasing emphasis on the externalisation of work produced.

After the submission of the dissertation at the start of the year, each student gives a lecture to their peers in the Gorvy Lecture Theatre, and undertakes a teaching placement at an undergraduate course in the UK.

In the spring term, students are expected to contribute to a publication and/or special event to coincide with the Final Show and to participate in professional practice activities.

The presentation of a completed body of work is the main focus of the final term. Some of this work is exhibited in the RCA Show where students take responsibility for the selection and installation of their work in ways appropriate to the aims of the work produced and space provided.    

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 end of the Summer Term.* 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.


240 credits
Two-year programme
Full-time study

Work in Progress Show 2016
Work in Progress Show 2016, Luke Whilmhurst