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Johann Spindler


A unique introduction

Key details

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

Next open day

An interdisciplinary studio-based learning experience.

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.

Graduate Diploma Art & Design has two intakes per year, in January and July. Applications are now open for entry in January 2021.


  • Tian Gao

    Tian Gao

  • Ran Ranjith Pindiga Kumar (Model: Lulu Wang Yanxuan )

    Ran Ranjith Pindiga Kumar

  • Graduate Diploma in Art & Design

    Graduate Diploma in Art & Design

  • Lulu Wang Yanxuan

    Lulu Wang Yanxuan

  • Graduate Diploma in Art & Design (detail)

    Graduate Diploma in Art & Design (detail)


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

As part of your portfolio, you should upload:

  1. Up to five image or video files of your own work
  2. A 300-word written statement about your motivation to study on the programme. 
  3. The critical challenge – upload a video of up to two minutes of yourself talking to the camera about your personal creative journey.

The specific requirements of the portfolio, statement and critical challenge are included in the application portal. Please read these requirements carefully before submitting your application.

Please note that we reserve the right to reject any application, or withdraw an offer, if any part of the application is identified as being plagiarised or otherwise fraudulent. 

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 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 2020/21 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 2021

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