MA Entrance Requirements

Visual Communication

Applicants will normally have a BA, or an equivalent overseas qualification or sufficient work experience to demonstrate the appropriate intellectual, creative and personal qualities to engage with the demands of the Programme. 

Our students come from a wide range of backgrounds. While the majority still come directly from first-degree programmes in graphic design, interaction design, illustration, moving image and sound, students have also joined the Programme from backgrounds as diverse as computer science, economics, fine art, history, journalism, literature, architecture, product and textiles. 


All candidates are required to submit an online portfolio of work to be assessed by the programme’s senior staff team and student representatives. Candidates should create an online portfolio that best reflects their abilities, experience and interests. The portfolio must follow College guidelines for uploading work such as using the College application site and giving a brief description for each piece of work. Links to personal websites or dropbox folders are not acceptable. 

Candidates are selected on the basis of a body of work that demonstrates an advanced understanding of the subject and sufficient technical skill to realise intentions, evidence of commitment to the subject, intellectual curiosity, open-mindedness, the ability to collaborate, to engage in debate and respond to criticism, and the ability to engage in sustained and consistent study. 

Please ensure

  • Your online portfolio submission can be viewed on an Apple Macintosh computer running OS. 
  • You have reviewed and checked that your submission works in the way you intend it to be seen in a web browser on a different computer (i.e. not the computer you made the submission on, to check that your files have uploaded correctly to our server).
  • The examiners will look at your work for a maximum of 15 minutes. Make sure that you curate and pace your work so they will be able to judge your submission in the way you wish to present yourself.

Portfolio requirements

  • You are asked to provide a personal statement of a maximum of 500 words. This is an important part of your submission which reflects your interest in the programme as well as your aims and ambitions for your practice.
  • Please indicate the pathway you are applying for: Experimental Communication, Graphic Design, Illustration
  • You may upload up to 20 individual projects or items to your portfolio. These may be single images, a design consisting of more than one image (such as publication), a presentation, a moving image or sound clip. You may add a gallery of six further images to support each of these projects. We value articulation as much as presentation. You therefore need to provide a description of a maximum of 100 words for each project image and a caption of up to 50 words for each of the gallery images.
  • Moving image or sound work must be limited to a maximum of five minutes (full length work will be viewed if you are invited for an interview in Part 2).
  • You may include links to websites, such as your personal site, but please do not use this as your main submission. If there is work included that you have professionally designed for clients, you must explain your role in the design and implementation processes.
  • Images should be in an acceptable format (see formats below) to the following recommended dimensions: width: minimum 36cm (1024 pixels) – or larger height: minimum 27cm (768 pixels – or larger resolution must be 72 dpi (dots per inch) – re-size all images appropriately maximum file size: 2mb for each image and 80mb for a movie file (please note movies are best viewed via a link to Vimeo or YouTube) file formats: JPEG, PNG, MOV, MP4, M4v, website URL (please note PDF files are not suitable) For each piece of work you must indicate: Title Medium Date made Size (cm) length (mins)


If invited for an interview, students should bring with a portfolio containing a selection of their online submission in its finished physical form, as well as their most recent work or work in progress, together with supporting research material. It is useful to include a combination of self-initiated work as well as project and professional work. Candidates who do not speak English as their first language are required to produce evidence that within the previous two years they have achieved at least 93 in the TOEFL internet test with an additional writing test score of TWE 24 or an IELTS exam score of 6.5 with 6 in writing.

Cross College Requirements

For full details of cross-College entrance requirements and portfolio requirements (if applicable), see MA Entrance Requirements.

Pre-sessional Language Courses

The College offers an eight-week EAP Pre-Sessional Course runs from July to September every year for applicants who have not quite reached the required IELTS level before they start their Programme. Entry level for the eight-week Pre-sessional Course is IELTS (Academic) 6.0 overall with minimum 5.5–6.0 in the writing or 6.5 overall with 5.5 in the writing, or equivalent recognised by the College.

Fees & Funding

Applicants to the RCA from England and the EU are likely to be eligible for the new Postgraduate Student Loan of up to £10,000 per course of study. 

See Tuition Fees for a breakdown of costs for Home and Overseas students on each of our degrees.

Students should estimate the cost of living in London at £12,000–£15,000 per year. 

For further information on funding visit Financial Help, or email

If you are from the USA you should note that the Royal College of Art is designated as an eligible institution for American students to apply for a Guaranteed Student Loan under the new Direct Loan Program. The RCA's School Code is 00942300.

Applications 2019/20

Due to a substantial increase in applications, we are no longer accepting applications to this Programme for a September 2019 start. New applications are welcome but will be considered for a September 2020 start. If places become available for a 2019 start, successful applicants will be contacted.

Visit Apply for details on how to make your application, or log in to our Online Applications site.

If you are considering applying to the College, you can prepare for your application by researching the academic programmes offered by each of the Schools, and accessing the Tuition Fees and Funding Support information available. The College provides a number of bursaries towards fees and the costs of living in London. They are available to home and EU students on a competitive basis. For further details, please see Financial Help.

Letter Stencils
Letter Stencils
Photographer: Richard Haughton