- 180 credits
- 1 year programme
- Full-time study
- MRes RCA supports the development of research careers in academia and industry-based research groups. All students develop an individual research project, which prepares graduates for further studies at PhD level or careers within an emerging field of practice-led and practice-based research.
A vibrant and dynamic research community.
The MRes RCA Communication Design Pathway will introduce you to practice-led and experimental research processes, methods and methodologies that inform communication design research. You’ll position your research within a social, historical, cultural and theoretical discourse through proven research methods and by engaging critically with reflective practice and evaluation.
The focus of the Pathway is to explore the nexus between social science, art and design methods and the ways in which they might be applied to independent research proposals, R&D consultancy or ‘live’ project briefs. Communication is at the core of this offer, engaging critically with different perspectives and sensory forms.
The School of Communication is located in White City, London’s newest research and creative quarter.
Our mixed-discipline studios encourage cross-disciplinary thought, awareness and action. Shared workspaces are provided for all research students. In addition, you have access to craft and technical workshop areas and excellent technical support in the College. These include well-equipped computer studios for print and digital moving-image production, sound editing, a letterpress and book-binding workshop.
Our alumni form an international network of creative individuals who have shaped and continue to shape the world.
- Graham Newman
- Jungmi Lee
- Paul Ransom
- Emily Hoong
More details on what you'll study.
Find out what you'll cover in this programme.
What you'll cover
MRes RCA programmes are delivered through a combination of: structured learning, comprising of lectures and master-classes by practitioners and senior academics; workshop classes based around a set task (a ‘brief’); tutor-led seminar classes where students will be asked to reflect on material that they have read or studied in advance; and project assignments that support the structured teaching programme.
Unit 1: Research Methods and Individual Research Proposal
This unit will enable discussion and exploration of key concepts in art and design research. The workshops will introduce you to key methods and methodologies in art and design, based around the areas of specialisms of each of the contributing schools. You’ll also develop an individual research proposal.
Unit 2: Research Cultures
This College-wide unit focus on knowledge exchange and communicating your research effectively to an interdisciplinary audience. This will involve developing an understanding of the contexts in which research is practised, and engaging different research cultures and communities.
Unit 3: Research in Practice (Pathway specific)
This unit focuses on the process of research. It will connect you with practicing researchers and research teams and encourage you to reflect on how research projects are developed, managed, evaluated and communicated.
Unit 4: Group Research Project (Pathway specific)
This unit builds upon learning undertaken in unit 1 by exploring the nexus between research methods and the ways in which they might be applied to independent and collaborative research projects.
Unit 5: Research Identities
This college-wide unit will focus on further development of your personal research project and professional development. It will enable you to develop your research projects and define your professional identity as a researcher.
Unit 6: Personal Research Project
The Personal Research Project will enable your to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding developed through units 1 and 2 within a complex personal research project.
You are required to submit a 12,000–15,000 word thesis that defines a research question, outlines the research methodology and theoretical context, presents and discusses the results and offers robust conclusions.
You are required to submit:
- An original work of art, design or communication (including critical and curatorial works)
- A visual portfolio of practice with clear documentation in PDF form
- A 4,000–6,000 word thesis that defines the purpose of the work, outlines its theoretical and technical context, and articulates the contribution it has made to advancing knowledge.
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 considers and the capability to reflect, criticise and innovate as demonstrated in your research statement and portfolio.
You should have a good first degree in a related subject. We welcome applications from students of all ages, and view both prior academic and professional experience as valuable.
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.
For this programme
Fees for new students
You'll find tuition fees for 2020/21 entry below.
Home and EU
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.
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.
Change your life and be here in 2020
The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.