MA Programme Description


First Year

In their first year, students are assigned Personal Tutors who supervise academic progress throughout their year in consultation with the wider tutoring team. They are provided regular one-to-one tutorials throughout their time and termly crits. Students work towards a Work-in-progress Show, their interim exams and submission of their draft dissertations at the end of the year.

The first term focuses on engendering social cohesiveness, respect and collaboration among the year group, and a sharing of expertise and experience. The year begins with a thorough orientation programme that familiarises the students with the culture and philosophy of the programme, the space and facilities, staff and students’ work, and the city. The Drawing Show in week 1, first and second-year presentations, and Edinburgh exchange provide an activity-rich start to the two-year programme.

In the second term, students fall into their stride with tutors helping them identify intention in their practice, context and direction. Seminars, talks, walks, gallery/museum visits reinforce this thinking-through-practice and is complemented by Critical & Historical Studies’s College-wide themed lectures and the Fine Art lecture series. Students are also required to undertake a Work Review during the term where they present their progress to date, and then listen to a panel of tutors debating their work which demonstrates how their work is discussed within a wider art and cultural context.

First-year students are encouraged to help and engage with the degree show build. As a spatial discipline, the creation of exhibition space is core to students’ understanding of sculpture.

Second Year 

Returning students will present their work to the new students and this is an opportunity for them to process and articulate how their newly submitted dissertations relate to their practice.

Students will continue to work with a personal tutor who helps direct their progress in their final year. They participate in the first term activities, with an eye towards pushing the development of their studio practice. This is supported with regular tutorials and crits from visitors and regular staff.

In the second and third terms, while experimentation continues to be encouraged, work also becomes much more concentrated on production for the final show.

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

"First year students are encouraged to help and engage with the degree show build. As a spatial discipline, the creation of exhibition space is core to students’ understanding of sculpture."
 Untitled (Watch me eat, without appetite, a la carte)
Untitled (Watch me eat, without appetite, a la carte) , Charlie Godet Thomas