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Be the future agent of change

Key details

Programme details

  • 240 credits
  • 2 year programme
  • Full-time study

Next open day

Application deadline

  • 13 Nov 2019

Innovation through synergy between creativity, science and technology to create value for society.

Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) is a unique double Master’s Programme that has been run jointly with Imperial College London for over 39 years. You’ll take advantage of the skills and cultures of two very different organisations. The result is the rigour and precision of science, technology and engineering in combination with the inspirational and creative aspects of design.

Our interdisciplinary approach focuses on the exploration and development of impactful innovation through critical observation, disruptive design thinking, experimentation, exploration of emergent technologies, advanced engineering and enterprise activities.

We want students who are ready to be exposed to multiple perspectives and expertise. People who can critically question the present to envisage the creation of new human experiences, system-based dynamics that foster behavioural change and generate cultural, economic and societal value.


  • IDE reflex1.original.jpg

    re:flex - a novel shape memory composite material

    Pierre Azalbert, Benton Ching, James Fraser and Karlijn Sibbel

  • Innovation Design Engineering Amos Oyedeji_festival_of_percussion2.jpg

    Festival of percussion, 2019

    Amos Oyedeji

  • IDE Flora Weil postcard-min.original.jpg

  • IDE Complete_Set__Ratios_LbYGoIl.original.jpg

    RedMud Project

    Paco Bockelmann, Joris Olde Rikkert, Kevin Rouff and Guillermo Whittembury,



Savina Torrisi

Acting Head of Programme and Senior Tutor

Savina has worked as Project Architect for several architectural and interdisciplinary firms including Foster + Partners and has collaborated as Design and Innovation consultant with Richard Rogers & Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects.

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View more programme staff


The School of Design is based at our historic Kensington site.

View all facilities

Students have access to the College’s workshops, with traditional facilities for woodworking, metalworking, plastics and resins, including bookable bench spaces. Computer-driven subtractive milling equipment is available, as well as additive rapid prototyping.

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    Darwin workshop

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    Innovation Design Engineering studio

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    Kensington workshop


More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

In your first year, you’ll embark on a range of units to develop skills and experience. Each of these focuses on a particular aspect of innovation, design and engineering and involves practising design, engineering and innovation skills, as well as research activities.

Each unit is project-based with a brief that will either be set by staff or of your own devising. The work periods vary in length, and you’ll practise the transferability of the core skills in different settings. Emphasis is placed on generating imaginative ideas, development and validation through testing prototypes, simulation; and gaining feedback from various stakeholders including potential end-users, designers, engineering engineers, entrepreneurs and other experts.

During the first year, you will be introduced to evolutionary, revolutionary and experimental approaches to innovation together with building foundational expertise in creating cyber-physical systems. A ‘go-global’ project will involve the whole cohort travelling to another country to work with partners on major societal and environmental challenges.

The programme of work in your second year consists of a team-based group project, and a solo project, which is conducted on an individual basis.

You’ll choose the theme of these projects yourself. The group project runs during the autumn term and is assessed before the winter recess and exhibited at the Work-in-progress Show early in your spring term. The solo project is assessed at the end of the academic year, with your work being exhibited in the graduate Show and Imperial Design Engineering Show.

All studio-based MA students follow a weekly schedule of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS), a College-wide initiative that provides you with the intellectual framework to build a coherent relationship between theory and practice.

CHS delivers exciting, thought-provoking and inspiring lectures by experts within the programme and high-profile visiting lecturers. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the theoretical background and aspects of your chosen discipline through a tutored dissertation process, as well as receiving individual tutorial support from our team of expert tutors.

View more CHS information


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 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.

We accept a multidisciplinary range of applicants – we want diversity of expertise, culture and experience. We are interested in engineers and technologists, we are looking for designers from all aspects of the subject area and we welcome applicants from other diverse fields such as business, social science, and the arts. In fact successful IDE applicants can come from many fields: anyone with outstanding skills in their current activities that has an excellent aptitude for innovation and team working and has a fundamental belief that design can make a direct contribution to the quality of life. Engineers, designers, scientists, technologist, artists, social scientists, business people, if you have intelligence, curiosity, passion and a drive to improve the world then IDE is interested in you.

IDE is a double Master’s course run jointly with Imperial College London, and consequently, applicants need to have a degree at 2:1 level or higher (or the equivalent). In exceptional circumstances, applicants without this degree qualification will be considered (for example, excellent professional experience or outstanding creative or technical abilities).

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).

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. First year fees are likely to go up roughly in line with inflation for 2020/21 entry. Fees will be confirmed by 1 December 2019. Please note that second year fees are set by Imperial College and more details can be found at imperial.ac.uk.

Home and EU
£9,500 (first year)
£13,600 (second year)
£28,400 (first year)
£32,050 (second year)


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



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.

MA/MSc fees

Students on this programme pay the tuition fees direct to the RCA. In addition to the standard RCA postgraduate masters fee this programme is subject to a supplementary fee (£2,000 per annum) because of the higher costs involved in delivering a programme in three countries.

In addition to the tuition fee, students will need to cover other non-academic costs such as flights, visas, accommodation, insurance and general living expenses.

Ask a question

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

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