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MA Entrance Requirements

The Service Design MA is designed for students with the following characteristics:

  • Experienced designers, especially communications and product designers seeking to significantly expand their capabilities with services and service systems design and engage higher up the value chain in terms of strategic design and delivery. This may include the coordination and leadership of a project involving several other design disciplines.
  • Recent high performing graduates from design disciplines as well as from computing and other technical disciplines, seeking to develop their design capabilities and create higher value added services for their clients. It is also designed for budding designer entrepreneurs interested in launching new service led business ventures through the multiple award winning RCA business incubator.
  • Mid and senior professionals from industry and the public sector, with evidence of their creative talents as demonstrated by leadership of innovative projects, who are seeking to enhance their capabilities and apply a design led approach to the transformation of consumer, business to business, and public sector services e.g. health service or home office professionals, service designers from telecommunications and hospitality sector.

Interview (If Invited)

The Programme will contact you if you have been shortlisted and invite you to an interview. As you made an online portfolio submission, you may be asked to bring to interview a selection of your submission in its physical form, as well as any recent work or work in progress.

In exceptional circumstances, offers may be made without interview to candidates who: 

  • Have already graduated with a mark equivalent to First Class degree from a recognised institution in a related subject, or show exceptional promise to achieve a high classification in undergraduate study
  • Significant independent experience, demonstrate recognition e.g. design prizes, professional experience
  • Evidence of high standards of work, attention to detail and critical thinking in portfolio and written application
  • Strong English language skills (e.g. completion of a degree in a majority English speaking country)
  • Have previously succeeded at interview for that programme.

Cross College Requirements

For full details of cross-College entrance requirements and portfolio requirements (if applicable), see MA Entrance Requirements.

Pre-sessional Language Courses

The College offers an eight-week EAP Pre-Sessional Course runs from July to September every year for applicants who have not quite reached the required IELTS level before they start their Programme. Entry level for the eight-week Pre-sessional Course is IELTS (Academic) 6.0 overall with minimum 5.5–6.0 in the writing or 6.5 overall with 5.5 in the writing, or equivalent recognised by the College.

Fees & Funding

Applicants to the RCA from England and the EU are likely to be eligible for the new Postgraduate Student Loan of up to £10,000 per course of study. 

See Tuition Fees for a breakdown of costs for Home and Overseas students on each of our degrees.

Students should estimate the cost of living in London at £12,000–£15,000 per year. 

For further information on funding visit Financial Help, or email

If you are from the USA you should note that the Royal College of Art is designated as an eligible institution for American students to apply for a Guaranteed Student Loan under the new Direct Loan Program. The RCA's School Code is 00942300.

Applications 2019/20

Due to a substantial increase in applications, we are no longer accepting applications to this Programme for a September 2019 start. New applications are welcome but will be considered for a September 2020 start. If places become available for a 2019 start, successful applicants will be contacted.

Visit Apply for details on how to make your application, or log in to our Online Applications site.

If you are considering applying to the College, you can prepare for your application by researching the academic programmes offered by each of the Schools, and accessing the Tuition Fees and Funding Support information available. The College provides a number of bursaries towards fees and the costs of living in London. They are available to home and EU students on a competitive basis. For further details, please see Financial Help.


240 credits
Two-year programme
Full-time study

"The first year took me by surprise – all the projects were done in groups, which meant you learnt a lot through other people as well as from the actual teaching. And they were ‘real world’ projects, with actual clients briefing us and valuing the work we did for them." Holly May Mahoney

MA Service Design 2014 -2016

Service Design Studios
Service Design Studios
Photographer: Richard Haughton