- 180 credits
- 1 (FT) / 2 (PT) year programme
- Full-time or part-time study
School or Centre
- 11 Oct 2023
Extend your practice, locate and expand its professional potential and explore your agency in forging the future of arts and humanities on this new Master of Fine Arts (MFA)
This professionally engaged, externally-facing programme brings you together with other creative practitioners in a trans-disciplinary, collaborative community that promotes a dynamic dialogue to actively examine how the arts and humanities can address current and future challenges.
You will identify and explore the professional realm that you and your work will operate within, and interrogate that context through live projects that activate and extend your practice. You will explore how you can engage audiences towards building a professionally robust, ethically sound and research-informed approach. The programme will encourage you to develop models and build networks that should help sustain your practice and research after graduating.
Your programme of study will be bespoke to you. A series of electives will allow you to align your research and practice with one of the School’s specialist areas of research. And College-wide electives enable you to build cross-disciplinary networks and engage with the knowledge and practices across the RCA’s four Schools.
The Master of Fine Arts programme seeks to challenge orthodoxies, actively consider how your practice – and the arts and humanities in general – might address the challenges of now and near future.
Applications for the September 2024 intake are now open.
Listen to the RCA Podcast Series 1, Episode 1: Between art and humanity and hear from Martin Newth, Assistant Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities on highlighting our humanity and the new MFA Arts & Humanities.
MFA students will have access to a shared, multifunctional communal space for meeting, learning, dialogue, display and broadcast, as well as making.
You will also have access to College-wide workshops on an individually planned and negotiated basis. Please note, this programme isn’t for those who want to try out a range of bespoke technical resources.
Student and alumni stories
What you'll study
Flexibility and choice are at the heart of the offer, with a combination of Core and Elective units enabling you to create a bespoke programme of studies that best suits your approach, context and interests.
What you'll cover
The 180 credits that make up the programme are broken down into a series of 15, 30 and 60 credit units. There is the opportunity to engage with the programme via the one year full-time or two year part-time modes.
Core Units establish the principles and basis of the MFA programme. The Conditions unit asks you to critically analyse the history, context and philosophies of art through a global perspective taking into consideration current decolonial debates. The Positions unit supports you to identify and explore the professional realm you see your work operating within. The 30 credit Live unit is an opportunity to work in response to a live context, considering how your work will engage audiences.
A key feature of the MFA Arts and Humanities programme is the set of five research specialist areas that you will elect to engage with via a choice of School Elective Units.
The series of electives are designed to support you to extend and develop your practice informed by focused engagement within a cross-disciplinary area of specialism. The School of Arts & Humanities elective units challenge you to locate your practice within a territory of research, work with others to explore the area of specialism and consider how you might contribute to expanding the knowledge and research in that area. Collective and collaborative practice will be a feature of these electives as you will form critically supportive networks of research.
These core units run alongside your elective units, which are designed to enable you to align your practice with one of the School of Arts & Humanities areas of research excellence:
- Sites and Situations
- Health and Care
- Material Engagements
- Curatorial Practices
- Synthetic Encounters
The multi-disciplinary communities of practice and research, formed around your choice of Electives, will help to develop networks that can further extend your work through collective and collaborative practice.
In addition, the programme offers the opportunity to further extend your research and practice through selecting units from a series of Cross-College Electives. These may include:
- Interventions (School of Communication, on campus)
- Digital Storytelling (School of Communication, online)
- Education for Change (Academic Development Office, online & blended options with mix of online and on-campus sessions)
- Collaboration and Inter-disciplinarity as Method (Academic Development Office, online & blended options with mix of online and on-campus sessions)
- Housing and Social Reproduction (School of Architecture, mix of online and on campus sessions)
- Mobility and Debility (School of Architecture, mix of online and on campus sessions)
- Design Innovation: Models and Life Cycle (School of Design, mix of online and on-campus sessions)
- Design Ethics: Design for Good Practice (School of Design, online)
Terms 1 and 2
AcrossRCA (30 credits) (Academic Development Office, majority online, but some on-campus sessions)
- Industry Embedded Project (School of Communication, online)
- Sound (School of Communication, on campus)
- Public Engagement as Method (Academic Development Office (MRes), mix of online and on-campus sessions)
- Developing Research Proposals (Academic Development Office (MRes), mix of online
- Making Pedagogies (Academic Development Office (MEd), mix of online and on-campus sessions)
- Capital’s Shadow (School of Architecture, mix of online and on-campus sessions)
- Milieu Milieu Me (The Economy) (School of Architecture, mix of online and on campus sessions)
- Design Resilience: Sustainability (School of Design, mix of online and on campus sessions)
- Design Innovation: Venture Creation (School of Design, mix of online and on campus sessions)
Depending on demand and availability, not all electives will be available. Students will be asked for ranked preference and allocated to electives based on those preferences.
This information is subject to validation.
Drawing upon the learning and work established in previous units, the MFA culminates in the development of your 60-credit Research Project in which you generate a body of work, either independently or collaboratively, and present a reflection on your experience of the MFA programme.
What you need to know before you apply
Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world, as well as from mid-career artists and career changers. The selection criteria will consider creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio or equivalent professional experience, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MFA standards overall.
You will typically require one or more of the following:
- A level 6 qualification such as a Bachelor's degree or Graduate Diploma in a subject associated with the arts or humanities
- A level 7, MA, qualification
- An arts practice that evidences Master’s level engagement (evidenced via portfolio)
Given the interdisciplinary, outward-facing nature of the programme, alongside the ambition to expand the range of knowledges, approaches and positions that forge what contemporary arts and humanities might be, we also welcome applicants from a broad range of previous disciplines and backgrounds, beyond visual art.
What's needed from you
Applicants for MFA Contemporary Arts and Humanities will apply with one of the following options:
A portfolio of work (that includes up to 10 completed works) demonstrating an established practice that evidences Master's-level engagement.
A statement of practice. This statement should include a description of your position. How do you engage with current socio-political contexts through your practice? Describe the nature of your work and indicate how you intend to develop your practice on the course and beyond. You should outline how collaborative and/or collective practice has informed your approach and operated within your practice. You should also indicate which of the School’s area of research you foresee your work aligning with.
Alternatively, if you have an ambition to participate in the MFA Contemporary Arts & Humanities programme, and develop an arts and/or humanities practice, you should write a 1,000-1,200 word position statement. Please describe your previous research and practice, how you intend to engage with current debates and challenges and what attributes you will bring to the learning community.
You must submit a video of no more than two minutes as part of the application process.
In this video, we want to hear why you want to study MA Contemporary Art Practice at the RCA. We encourage you to use this opportunity to situate your practice within the social, political and economic conditions of the contemporary world; identifying what art can contribute to ongoing material, critical, technological, and philosophical debates.
Discourse is a key aspect of twenty-first-century art production and we expect students to be involved in navigating the relationship of art and the function of art's discourse for art's reception. In this two-minute video, please respond to the above statements and elaborate on the questions previously asked about your work and practice as documented in your portfolio.
If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic or UKVI score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE) and at least 5.5 in other skills. 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 Student Visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.
For this programme
Fees for September 2024 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.
Overseas and EU
New entrants to the College 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.
Overseas and EU
For alumni and students who have completed an MA or MA/MSc at the RCA within the past 10 years, a progression discount is available for MFA, MDes, MArch and MEd study. This discount is £2,000 for full-time study, or £1,000 per year for two years of part-time study. This also applies if you have taken an MRes qualification between 2013 and 2023.
* 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.
The RCA scholarship programme is growing, with hundreds of financial awards planned for the 2024/5 academic year. Examples of financial awards offered in 2023/24 are given below.
Sir Frank Bowling Scholarships
For: All programmes, excluding short courses
Eligibility criteria: Home fee status; Black or Black British Caribbean, Black Or Black British African, Other Black Background, Mixed - White and Black Caribbean, Mixed - White and Black African
Value: Full-fee & contribution to living costs
Applying for a scholarship
You must hold an offer to study on an RCA programme in order to make a scholarship application in Spring 2024. A selection of RCA merit scholarships will also be awarded with programme offers.
We strongly recommend that you apply for your programme as early as possible to stand the best chance of receiving a scholarship. You do not apply directly for individual awards; instead, you will be invited to apply once you have received an offer.
In addition to your programme fees, please be aware that you may incur other additional costs associated with your study during your time at RCA. Additional costs can include purchases and services (without limitation): costs related to the purchase of books, paints, textiles, wood, metal, plastics and/or other materials in connection with your programme, services related to the use of printing and photocopying, lasercutting, 3D printing and CNC. Costs related to attending compulsory field trips, joining student and sport societies, and your Convocation (graduation) ceremony.
If you wish to find out more about what type of additional costs you may incur while studying on your programme, please contact the Head of your Programme to discuss or ask at an online or in person Open Day.
We provide the RCASHOP online, and at our Kensington and Battersea Campuses – this is open to students and staff of the Royal College of Art only to provide paid for materials to support your studies.
We also provide support to our students who require financial assistance whilst studying, including a dedicated Materials Fund.
Change your life and be here in 2024. Applications now open.
The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.