Gain the tools to lead design innovations in a broad range of healthcare environments
This unique interdisciplinary programme draws on the complementary expertise from the RCA's School of Design and Helen Hamlyn Design Centre, and the healthcare expertise from Imperial College London’s medical faculty and the Helix Centre based at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington London.
You'll develop an awareness of the role and value of design in solving healthcare challenges, as well as a multi-professional perspective on problem-solving and the importance of clinical/design collaboration. The programme uses a range of research techniques, tools and frameworks in the fields of design and innovation, and offers an environment in which to develop design-led skills to rapidly research, synthesise and prototype a solution to a healthcare challenge.
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.
More details on what you'll study.
Find out what you'll cover in this programme.
What you'll cover
In the first year, you embark on four taught modules: introduction to the principles of design and innovation or introduction to health and healthcare (depending on applicant background), design-led innovation in healthcare, approaches to health research and business skills for healthcare design.
Teaching takes place in each module during one-week intensive sessions and includes interactive lectures, seminars, tutorials, case-based discussion, technology demonstrations and practical team-based workshop projects. You will have the opportunity to participate in a range of formative and summative individual and group-based activities.
- 1a: Introduction to principles of design and innovation or
1b: Introduction to health and healthcare
- 2: Introduction to design led innovation in healthcare
- 3: A health research toolkit
- 4: A health business toolkit
In the second year, you take four further modules, including Innovation, a Helix 'design dash' group project tackling a major healthcare design issue, design for behaviour change and leadership.
- 5: Innovation
- 6: Design dash
- 7: Designing for behaviour change
- 8: Leadership
Each module concludes with an assessable presentation and a piece of coursework.
Design research project
You will conduct a major personal design research project throughout the two years of study. The personal research project supervision is led by the RCA with support from expertise at Imperial College. You can undertake the research project in your workplace (with support from employers) or select a self-directed project theme under guidance from our staff. The major research project is assessed via a viva with design projects and a thesis.
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 will consider 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.
MRes Healthcare & Design is run jointly with Imperial College London, and consequently you 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, applicants with excellent professional experience or outstanding creative or technical abilities) following completion of a ‘Special Qualifying Exam’ (SQE). Please check the Imperial College London website to ensure you meet their requirements.
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.
Tier 4 Visas
If you require a Tier 4 visa (part-time route) for the MRes Healthcare & Design programme, you will have work restrictions and will not be allowed to work in the UK during your studies. If you are currently employed on a Tier 2 visa you can apply for the part-time MRes Healthcare & Design programme as long as you can continue to work for the same employer who is sponsoring you, otherwise you would need to switch your visa to Tier 4 (part-time route) and would no longer be allowed to work in the UK.
For specific visa questions please contact our Student Support Office.
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
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.