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Arts & Humanities


A cross-disciplinary community of practice

Key details

  • 180 credits
  • 1 (FT) / 2 (PT) year programme
  • Full-time or part-time study
School or Centre
  • Battersea
Application deadline
  • 14 Aug 2024

Extend your practice, locate and expand its professional potential and explore your agency in forging the future of arts and humanities on this 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 open and will be assessed on a rolling basis. Programmes will close for applications when the maximum number of places have been awarded, or at the final deadline on 14 August, 12noon (UK time).Explore further

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.

Catch the replays from our latest online Open Day.



We are the only UK art and design university where all academics are research active – meaning everything we teach is related to cutting-edge research. Teaching staff are subject to change.


MFA students will have access to a shared, multifunctional communal space for meeting, learning, dialogue, display and broadcast, as well as making.

View all College-wide facilities

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.

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.

Download the Arts & Humanities MFA 2023/24 programme specification (PDF)

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:

Term 1

  • 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)

Term 2

  • 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.

Find out more about our five research specialist areas

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 Arts & Humanities will apply with one of the following options:

Option 1

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.

Option 2

Alternatively, if you have an ambition to participate in the MFA 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 MFA Arts & Humanities 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.

Find out more about English-language requirements

Fees & funding

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.

Full time: £16,550*
Part time: £10,750 per year
Overseas and EU
Full time: £38,600 *
Part time: £25,100 per year


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

Progression discounts

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 MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd study. This discount is £5,000 for full-time study, or £2,500 per year for two years of part-time study.

* 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.

For: All MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligibility criteria: Students from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, USA

Eligible fee status: Overseas fee status

Value: £7,000 towards fees

For: All MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligibility criteria: Students from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey

Eligible fee status: Overseas fee status

Value: £7,000 towards fees

For: All MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: £5,000 towards fees

For: All MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligibility criteria: Students who identify as D/deaf or disabled

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: £6,000 for living costs

For: All programmes excluding PhD & short courses

Eligibility criteria: Black or Black British Caribbean, Black or Black British African, Other Black Background, Mixed - White and Black Caribbean, Mixed - White and Black African

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: Full fees & maintenance

For: All MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: £5,000 for living costs

For: MFA Arts & Humanities

Eligible fee status: Home & Overseas

Value: £5,000

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.

More information

Additonal fees

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.

External funding

There are many funding sources, with some students securing scholarships and others saving money from working. It is impossible to list all the potential funding sources; however, the following information could be useful.

Start your application

Change your life and be here in 2024. Applications now open.

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

Before you begin

Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements and key dates
More information about eligibility and key dates
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
Consider attending an Open Day, or one of our portfolio or application advice sessions
See upcoming sessions
Please note, all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the given deadline.
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.

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