MA/MSc Programme Description
In the first year, students embark on a range of taught modules to develop skills and experience. Each of these focuses on a particular aspect of IDE and involves practising design skills, as well as research activities both within product development itself, and in exploring user and broader social issues. In each module, students will undertake a design project to a brief sometimes set and sometimes of their own devising. The work periods vary in length, and students practise the transferability of the core skills in different design settings. Emphasis is placed on generating imaginative ideas, and on testing prototypes through simulation and feedback from potential users, design, engineering and other experts. During the first year students are introduced to two learning strands:
Disruptive Market Innovation (DMI): is core IDE territory and is about delivering innovative products to the market that work.
Experimental Design (EXP): is for design innovation at a fundamental level, which may incorporate the exploration of new technologies, new product categories or new contexts.
The learning strands enable students to excel at a particular approach to design or to expand their abilities through exploring a way of working unfamiliar to them. The strands are lightly embedded into the programme, they are intended to be a framework to guide and not a rigid methodology.
The programme of work in the second year (IDE2) consists of two projects:
- Group project, which is a team-based activity
- Solo project, which is conducted on an individual basis
The Solo project runs throughout the year (albeit thin at first), and the Group project runs during the autumn term and a brief period of the spring term. The Group project is assessed early in the spring term at the Work-in-progress Show and the Solo project is assessed at the end of the year in the Graduate Show as part of the Final Examination. The Solo project also forms the subject of a Solo project report involving a full description of the project development and results – this is completed and handed in to be assessed towards the end of the summer term.
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.