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Elliott Winslow Thorpe

The future of transportation design

Key details

Programme details

  • 240 credits
  • 15 month programme
  • Full-time study

Next open day

Application deadline

  • 13 Nov 2019

Creating design leaders with the skills to influence.

Building on the success of the world-renowned Vehicle Design programme at the RCA, Intelligent Mobility places transportation design in the context of an increasingly complex environment.

Our approach is to establish a critical learning environment in which projects and research focus on innovation and disruptive design outcomes. We encourage a design-led, highly personal and ideological approach where key themes such as vehicle aesthetics, sustainability, emerging markets and human cultural factors can be met with impactful and relevant design proposals.

Starting from the traditional role of automotive and transportation (vehicle design), our ambition is to create future leaders who have the mindset required to influence this rapidly changing industry.

We offer extensive industrial relationships through sponsored projects, internships and bursaries/awards. Recent collaborations include: Audi, Bentley, Citroen, Hitachi Rail Europe, Jaguar, Kia, EXA, Sabic and TATA.


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    Jack Watson

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    Chan Sik Park

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    Aion SYSTEM Saint Paul Cathedral GATEWAY

  • Jiayue Wu

    Jiayue Wu

  • Customisable, personal and welcoming environment

    Customisable, personal and welcoming environment

  • RCA vehicle design

    RCA vehicle design

    Javier Garcia-Gallardo

  • RCA vehicle design

    RCA vehicle design

    Pontus Merkel

  • RCA vehicle design

    Kaize Zheng

  • Jackets

  • Car interior



Dr Chris Thorpe

Acting Head of Programme

Chris’s practice and research interests span sustainable products and system design, as well as the paradigm of new technology and its relevance to human culture, experience and value.

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

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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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    Intelligent Mobility studio

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    Intelligent Mobility studio


More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

Your initial two terms are designed to equip you with the critical perspective, experience and knowledge base to understand and create new mobility solutions.

This term features a long team project to challenge convention and demonstrate your ability to handle team work, develop a complete project and deliver a full package.

Your final proposal must identify and feature innovation through service, technology and design as a group experience.

In your final term you’ll lead your own Independent Research Project. This is a well-researched and highly developed critical response to a clearly articulated mobility question.

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.

You’ll have completed or be in the final year of a first degree in an art and design (or related) subject. Alongside this, you’ll need proven commitment to the discipline, with a high level of self-motivation and evidence of independent study. You should possess a high standard of illustrative skills and an understanding of 3D form.

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.

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. These are likely to go up roughly in line with inflation for 2020/21 entry. Fees will be confirmed by 1 December 2019.

Home and EU
£14,500 total cost*
£34,000 total cost*


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.

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.

Ask a question

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

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