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Students at Towner

Critically engaged writing

Key details

Programme details

  • 240 credits
  • 15 month programme
  • Full-time study with part-time option

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Develop your intellectual, literary, and technical skills.

MA Writing provides a unique opportunity to develop high-level writing, research, and analytical skills in one of the world’s most dynamic art schools. The programme combines different learning models — from workshops to seminars, group crits to personal tutorials — during which time you’ll work with many different practitioners, amongst them critics, poets, and editors.

The programme is committed to a broad definition of arts writing, from journalism and criticism to creative non-fiction, and for a wide-ranging audience, too, from the mainstream to the academic. The practice and discipline of writing are essential to our teaching, as well as engagement with other disciplines and the broad range of arts, design, and culture. Our programme encourages both individual and collaborative writing, thereby allowing you to develop your own ‘voice’ while benefiting from working productively with others.


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    HERO Propland Reprogramming Television

    Critical Writing in Art and Design 2018

  • Ends Meet: Critical Writing in Art and Design Publication

    Ends Meet: Critical Writing in Art & Design Publication

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    Spread from Ark: Words and Images from the RCA Magazine 1950-78 published by the Critical Writing in Art & Design programme

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    Critical Writing in Art & Design, Show 2019. Photograph: Richard Haughton



Jeremy Millar

Acting Head of Programme

An artist and curator, Jeremy has written extensively upon contemporary art.

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The School of Arts & Humanities is located across our Battersea and Kensington sites.

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You'll benefit from being part of a vibrant art and design school environment. There are a number of bookable seminar and project spaces across the site available to all Arts & Humanities students.

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    Writing session. Photograph: Richard Haughton

  • Library Kensington

    Library, Kensington

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    Writing Workshop. Photograph: Richard Haughton


More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

MA Writing is a full-time, 240-credit, enhanced RCA MA (unlike the standard UK 180-credit MA). It is delivered in a 15-month format, from September 2020 to December 2021.

Home and EU students can opt to undertake the second part of their studies (the Final Major Project) on a part-time basis (until March 2022).

This innovative structure has been designed to give you greater flexibility to combine full and part-time modes of study. Please note the part-time option is not available to international students for visa compliance reasons.

The MA Writing programme is made up of Units provided by the programme (200 credits), the School of Arts and Humanities (20 credits), and the College (20 credits).

The programme teaching consists mainly of Critical Reading classes, Writing Workshops, Writing Exercises, and Publishing Platforms, which are delivered through seminars, presentations, tutorials (individual and group), site visits, and other means as appropriate.


What you need to know before you apply

Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process will consider creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.

What's needed from you

Your portfolio is a showcase of your work as an artist or designer and can be made up of images, videos or writing examples. Your portfolio helps us to better understand your application and allows you to show evidence of your ability and motivation to undertake a given programme.

Generally, we’re looking for you to demonstrate your:

  • Creativity, imagination and innovation
  • Ability to articulate the intentions of the work
  • Intellectual engagement in areas relevant to the work
  • Technical skills appropriate to the work
  • Potential to benefit from the programme

Each programme is looking for different things in a portfolio. Each Head of Programme provides specific advice on portfolio requirements in the online application system. We advise you to consider these requirements carefully before submitting your application.

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE). Students achieving a grade of at least 6.0, with a grade of 5.5 in the Test of Written English, may be eligible to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes course to enable them to reach the required standard.

You are exempt from this requirement if you have received a 2.1 degree or above from a university in a majority English-speaking nation within the last two years.

If you need a Tier 4 visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.

Find out more about English-language requirements

Fees & funding

For this programme

Fees for new students

You'll find tuition fees for 2019/20 entry below. These are likely to go up roughly in line with inflation for 2020/21 entry. Fees will be confirmed by 1 December 2019.

Home and EU
£14,500 total cost*
£34,000 total cost*


New entrants to the College for MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. This will be offset against the tuition fees for the first year of study.

Home and EU

* Total cost is based on the assumption that the programme is completed in the timeframe stated in the programme details. Additional study time may incur additional charges.



Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.

More information

External funding

There are many funding sources, with some students securing scholarships and others saving money from working. It is impossible to list all the potential funding sources; however, the following information could be useful.


Tuition fees are due on the first day of the academic year and students are sent an invoice prior to beginning their studies. Payments can be made in advance, on registration or in two instalments.

Ask a question

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or have any questions.

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