MA Programme Description

Information Experience Design

The three pathways in IED, one of which students select as part of their application, are interrelated, focused around different ways of approaching IED’s core aim of transforming information into experiences.

Moving Image Design investigates moving image as a core and vital communicative force in a design landscape fundamentally transformed by digital technologies. Anyone can now easily create and share moving image using a range of mobile tools and media; we offer a critical frame of communication and intent, oriented toward future forms and contexts. Our practice thereby encompasses multimodality and convergence, narrative and communication, temporality and spatiality.

Sound Design is about making sense of social sound within a diverse and complex contemporary world. Linking sound with other media, environments, forms and disciplines, the pathway investigates sound as part of both the public and cultural realm, exploring the experiences of what sound is and what it can be.

Experimental Design stands for a critical and investigative alternative to Experience Design or Interaction Design, grounded in IED’s core expertise in transforming information into experiences. Experimental Design also embraces cross-disciplinary practice and extended disruption, evolving new forms, mechanisms and strategies for future urban and social environments. 

Year 1

The first year will ground students in core theories, skills and research methods. Students are introduced to the philosophy and ethos of the programme through a series of seminars and presentations by staff and visiting speakers. Initial curricular project work is designed to enable students to benefit from the wide range of approaches and backgrounds represented within the programme; students also make presentations of their own work to each other and to tutors. 

Following the School-wide structure, a student’s main practical work takes place in electives in Terms 1 and 2. Electives are offered by all programme in the School of Communication, and cover a range of issues and approaches, managed and critiqued by specialist tutors. The first round of electives will normally occupy the whole of the first term, culminating in a series of crits and discussions early in the spring term. Following this, students will again be asked to choose from another series of projects, in consultation with their personal tutor. This pattern of presentations, practical work and critiques leads to the formal Interim Examination in early May, which students must pass in order to enter the second year of the programme. 

Students are expected to begin planning the second phase of their programme immediately after the Interim Examination, and to complete their dissertation in Critical & Historical Studies—a College requirement—which must be submitted at the end of the first year. Students in IED are encouraged to view this as an opportunity to research some aspect of information experience design in preparation for their studio work in the Year 2. 

First-year students assist second-year students with the Work-in-Progress and Final Shows, and students in each pathway begin with a wide subject bandwidth which focuses on the pathway progressively leading up to Year 2. Each student has a personal tutor for the year, who is a subject specialist and organises regular tutorials. Weekly seminars and workshops are held across all three terms, with core curriculum and skills being front-loaded in Term 1.

Year 2

After dissertation hand-in, second-year students are typically engaged in brief initial projects and/or workshops, to introduce them to new students and to propel them into their self-directed practical work in relation to their chosen pathway. They have a specialist personal tutor for the year, and weekly and individual tutorials continue as before, focused on pathway specialisms. 

Second-year students set their own brief and timetable, working closely with their Personal Tutor, with Work-in-Progress and Final Shows as key milestones. Weekly seminars shift focus to professional practice and pathway specialisms, more advanced and targeted workshops are organised for smaller groups, and there are occasional commercial projects offered.

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

Desk in IED studio
Desk in IED studio