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Academic Progression

The Royal College of Art (RCA) is a recognised immigration sponsor under the Student visa route of the Points Based system and as such is required to ensure that all students meet the requirements as outlined by the Student Sponsor Guidance. This means that before assigning a Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) the College needs to be certain that prospective students meet certain Home Office requirements. These requirements include, evidencing 'academic progression' and ensuring that prospective students have sufficient time to complete the course within the Home Office time limits on studying in the UK.


If a student does not meet the requirements the RCA will be unable to issue a CAS. Failure to comply with the above requirements could result in the RCA's sponsor licence being suspended or revoked.

Academic Progression

In 2011 the Home Office introduced a new rule that requires all Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) assigned by a Higher Education Institution (HEI) to confirm that the prospective student is making academic progression with the new course of study.

In order to show academic progression the new course should normally be above the level of the previous course for which permission to stay in the UK as a student was granted (ie, progressing from a BA to a Masters). However, if the new course is at the same level as the previous course, it may exceptionally be considered to represent academic progression. If you wish to study a course at the RCA which is at the same level as your current course, you are advised to contact Student Support for further advice.


You are not required to demonstrate academic progression in the following circumstances:

  • you are making a Student visa application from overseas
  • you are making a first application to complete an existing course commenced at a Student sponsor that had its license revoked
  • you are applying to re-sit an examination or repeat a course module
  • you are applying to complete the PhD or other doctoral qualification for which you were last given  or student leave (including where you are completing the qualification at a new sponsor).

Time limits for studying in the UK

Time limits for those studying at postgraduate level have been removed

If you have any queries at all about the above please contact [email protected]