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Johann Spindler


A unique introduction

Key details

  • 120 credits at FHEQ Level 6
  • 30 week programme
  • Full-time study

Application deadline

  • 8 Aug 2022

An interdisciplinary studio-based learning experience.

Accepting applications for the September 2022 intake.

The Graduate Diploma Art & Design prepares you for Master’s study in Art and Design. We focus on developing proficiency in the independent learning methods and practices of art and design, and on introducing you to the role and influence of art and design in the world today.

We aim to make you better informed about the study options available to you, as well as the possible career paths that you might follow beyond graduation.

The programme is interdisciplinary in nature, mirroring the experience of Master’s study at the RCA, however on the Graduate Diploma you’ll be invited to select a specialism at enrolment from the following areas: Communication; Fine Art; Humanities; Fashion & Textiles, and Product, Interiors & Spatial Design.

Subject to availability, all students passing the programme with Distinction are guaranteed entry to MA and MRes programmes that reflect their specialism of study on the Graduate Diploma.

All other students passing the programme will be guaranteed consideration for MA and MRes programmes of their choice. Entry to the our programmes is conditional on students meeting postgraduate English-language requirements demonstrated by an additional IELTS test or equivalent.

Subject to validation.

Modes of study

The Graduate Diploma now has three modes of study you can apply for:

  • Fully on campus for both stage one and stage two.
  • Blended: stage one (15 weeks) online, stage two (15 weeks) on campus.
  • Fully online for both stage one and stage two.


The Graduate Diploma Art & Design has multiple intakes per year.

  1. April/May – December: the programme will support and guide you in developing your practice for professional practice, employment, and or further study (for entry in the following academic year).
  2. January – August: the programme will support and guide you in developing your practice for professional practice, employment, and or further study (for autumn entry).
  3. September – April: the programme will support and guide you in developing your practice for professional practice, employment, and or further study (For autumn entry).

Catch the replays from our most recent online Open Day.



The Graduate Diploma is located in White City, London’s newest research and creative quarter.

Our mixed-discipline studios encourage cross-disciplinary thought, awareness and action.

  • Working in the Graduate Diploma Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Working in the Graduate Diploma Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • At work in the Graduate Diploma Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    At work in the Graduate Diploma Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • View of the Graduate Diploma Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    View of the Graduate Diploma Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

The Graduate Diploma consists of two blocks of 15-week study, with the first block including an introduction to specialist study at Master’s level in art and design and leading towards further and more in-depth study, practice and portfolio development in the second block.

The first part is a theme-based introduction to the specialist study of art and design, and the various study options available in the field. You’ll also be introduced to the kinds of learning methods that students are likely to encounter in the study of art and design.

The second part of the programme will enable you to focus in more depth on the preparation of a body of work and a portfolio.

This unit runs throughout the programme and is intended to enhance your critical and analytical skills and to support the development of English language skills to the requisite level for Master’s study.

This unit introduces you to advanced practices of art and design. You’ll have the opportunity to work around structured project briefs or in self-directed study mode, depending on their prior learning and future course of study. The unit fosters discursive learning and engagement with topics and issues that do not necessarily have right or wrong outcomes.

In the second 15-week block, you’ll move to a more independently determined and focussed mode of learning. Working from a brief, you will be expected to participate in critiques and exhibit their works in progress. The unit will help you to make self-determined judgements about your practice, to display your work and to speak about it clearly and cogently.

The Portfolio unit runs throughout the programme and culminates in the production of a digital portfolio that you will be able to use to seek admission to further study at Master’s level. We will support you in selecting materials which fully articulate your abilities and contextual awareness.


What you need to know before you apply

Prospective Diploma in Art & Design applicants are likely to be:

  • Those who have the required educational background to go on to Master’s study, but who require greater proficiency in the English language.
  • Those who do not have an undergraduate background in art and design, but who can demonstrate potential in their chosen discipline of study.
  • Those for whom their undergraduate studies did not adequately prepare them for Master’s study at the RCA
  • Those who would like to use the programme as a diagnostic experience to help them decide which area to specialise in at Master’s level.

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

We would like you to upload a range of work into the five slots available; consider each slot as a body of work or research focus. This could either be five projects, or five groupings of work.

If you choose the project route, ensure in each project you demonstrate the whole journey: include primary and secondary research, material experimentation, preparity drawings and/or models. Consider the following: what did you look at or start with, what did you do with it, and what was the end result?

If you decide to focus on grouping your work, consider different focuses like Drawing, Making, Still Image, Moving Image, Idea Development, Sketchbooks, Work Based Projects, Group Projects or Written Outcomes. Ensure you try to relate this to your current specialist interest and prior educational background.

Slots can include as many images as you wish just ensure you focus on showing us the journey and not just the outcome. Please include text where appropriate to outline the projects and the details of the work, size, date and dimensions.

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country, you will need the equivalent of an overall IELTS score of 5.5 with a minimum 5.5 across each area.

If you need a Student 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 2022 entry below.

All students
£19,250 total cost*


New entrants to the College for the Graduate Diploma will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place. The deposit is £2,000 for all Graduate Diploma entrants. Fees for the Graduate Diploma can either be paid in advance or on the day of registration.

* 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


Tuition fees are due on the first day of the academic year and students are sent an invoice prior to beginning their studies. Payment can be made in advance or on registration.

Start your application

RCA students at work (photo: Richard Haughton)

Change your life and be here in 2022

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

Before you begin

Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
Visit our applications 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
[email protected]
RCA Kensington cafe