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Design research to develop human-centred innovation

Key details

Programme details

  • 180 credits
  • 1 year programme
  • Full-time study

Application deadline

  • 20 Nov 2019
  • Still accepting applications

Career opportunities

  • MRes RCA supports the development of research careers in academia and industry-based research groups. All students develop an individual research project, which prepares graduates for further studies at PhD level or careers within an emerging field of practice-led and practice-based research.

Interdisciplinary research from across the School of Design and RCA Research Centres.

The MRes RCA Design Pathway builds design research skills that can be deployed within academic and professional careers. We foster innovation and tackle complex systems and social challenges, from the future of work to the circular economy, climate change, AI and healthcare.

We offer interdisciplinary learning; you'll be exposed to the full range of programmes across the School of Design, including our MAs, research centres and networks. Experienced researchers run seminars and workshops on design research across topics that include cybernetics, ethnography, ethics, future forecasting, speculative design, participatory design, action research, reflective practice, robotics and coding.

The pathway's curriculum offers a transformational experience and gives you the opportunity to construct your own area of expertise through a solo research project. You'll develop knowledge in design research through experimentation in theory and practice, interdisciplinary knowledge exchange and peer-to-peer review.

Gallery

  • Design pathway Pando2 (1).jpg

    Pando, a robotic plant that grows your motivation

    Priyadarshini Banati, Kypriani Bartzoka, Rime Cherai, Jonathan Gayomali, Oliver Luehr

  • Steering_wheel.jpg

    Soft robotic steering wheel

    Orla Fahey, Vali Lalioti, Neha Mandlik, Freya Probst, Ricardo Suazo,Peiqi Wang, Selin Zileli

  • Freya_FinalShow.jpg

    The Process of Choice under Uncertainties. Heuristics and Biases in Procedure of Sustainable Consumption

    Freya Probst

  • Design pathway mres.jpeg

    Rethink AI

    Vali Valioti

  • Design Pathwat

    Designing Trust Between Autonomous Vehicles and Humans

    Selin Zieli

  • Neha.jpg

    Work in Progress Show. Social Connection and Affordances of Furniture in Living Room

    Neha Mandlik

Staff

Image01_lauraferrarello_portrait.width-300.jpg

Dr Laura Ferrarello

Acting Head of Programme

Combining the architectural and design scale, Laura investigates the social dynamics between digital and physical space/systems /interfaces, as generated by people’s experience of technology.

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View more School of Design staff

Facilities

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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    School of Design Workshops. Photography by Richard Haughton

  • Design Products workshop.jpg

    School of Design Workshops. Photography by Richard Haughton

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    School of Design Workshops. Photography by Richard Haughton

Curriculum

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

Our programmes are delivered through a combination of structured learning, comprised of lectures and master-classes; workshop classes based around a set task; tutor-led seminar classes where students will be asked to reflect on material that they have read or studied in advance and project assignments that support the structured teaching programme.

This unit will enable discussion and exploration of key concepts in art and design research. The workshops will introduce you to key methods and methodologies in art and design, based around the areas of specialisms of each of the contributing schools. You’ll also develop an individual research proposal.

This College-wide unit focus on knowledge exchange and communicating your research effectively to an interdisciplinary audience. This will involve developing an understanding of the contexts in which research is practised, and engaging different research cultures and communities.

This unit focuses on the process of research. It will connect you with practicing researchers and research teams and encourage you to reflect on how research projects are developed, managed, evaluated and communicated.

This unit builds upon learning undertaken in unit 1 by exploring the nexus between research methods and the ways in which they might be applied to independent and collaborative research projects.

This college-wide unit will focus on further development of your personal research project and professional development. It will enable you to develop your research projects and define your professional identity as a researcher.

The Personal Research Project will enable your to apply the skills, knowledge and understanding developed through units 1 and 2 within a complex personal research project.

You will submit a 12,000–15,000 word thesis that defines a research question, outlines the research methodology and theoretical context, presents and discusses the results and offers robust conclusions.

You will submit:

  • An original work of art, design or communication (including critical and curatorial works)
  • A visual portfolio of practice with clear documentation in PDF form
  • A 4,000–6,000 word thesis that defines the purpose of the work, outlines its theoretical and technical context, and articulates the contribution it has made to advancing knowledge.

Requirements

What you need to know before you apply

Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications. The course welcomes candidates from all over the world and ages both prior academic and professional experience.

The selection process considers creativity, imagination, curiosity and the capability to reflect, criticise and innovate as demonstrated in the research statement and portfolio; it also assessed the potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high standards overall.

While it is not necessary to hold a relevant design degree, we welcome applicants interested in design research.

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.

Visit our application portal to view more portfolio requirements

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
(subsidised)
£12,350 total cost*
Overseas
£32,800 total cost*

Deposit

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
£500
Overseas
£2,000

* 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

Scholarships

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.

Payments

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.

Start your application

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Change your life and be here in 2020

The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.

Before you begin

1.
Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements
More information about entrance requirements
2.
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
Visit our application portal to get started

Ask a question

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

Email us at
design-mres@rca.ac.uk
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