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CCA Show 2019 Installation shot, The Unexpected Beautiful


An international leader in the field

Key details

  • 240 credits
  • 2 year programme
  • Full-time study

School or Centre

Commission, curate and programme with London-based and national arts organisations.

We have a commitment to collaborative group project-based work that integrates theory and practice. We approach the field critically and theoretically, ensuring that the knowledge and understanding of these practices is grounded in the context of public audiences, urbanisation and the digital. Our research-led and practice-led teaching by staff and visiting tutors ensures the curatorial and artistic significance, intellectual value and critical vitality of the programme.

We offer practice-based learning and research-led teaching, through collaborative and project-based work. You’ll undertake a graduate project with external high-profile partners as well as an independent research-based dissertation. You’ll gain an awareness of wider social, political and economic contexts and an understanding of transnational contexts and issues of diversity and inclusion.

Explore further

Visit the MA Curating Contemporary Art graduate projects to view graduate work from the class of 2021

Catch the replays from our March 2021 Virtual Day.



The School of Arts & Humanities is located across our Battersea and Kensington sites.

View all facilities

You'll benefit from being part of a vibrant art and design school environment. There are a number of bookable seminar and project spaces across the site available to all Arts & Humanities students.

  • Curating Contemporary Art seminar (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Curating Contemporary Art seminar (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Battersea computer room (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Battersea computer room (photo: Richard Haughton)

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

In addition to regular core unit lectures and seminars by tutors, your first year will include a wide range of talks by visiting curators, critics, artists, gallerists and academics. These will provide you with knowledge of specific case studies, exhibition histories, curatorial positions and artist perspectives from a wide range of national and international visiting practitioners.

You’ll also be part of off-site visits to practitioner studios, museums, galleries and areas of urban development to ensure situated, grounded and spatial knowledge acquisition.

Your first year will also include the college-wide Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) seminars taught over Term 1.

Your second year is comparatively more self-directed and will have a greater focus on peer-led learning, building on the skills and knowledge that have been developed throughout the first two terms of the first year.

Curating Contemporary Art Unit 4 (Graduate Project) will be taught through occasional lectures based on core production skills, while elective project groups will develop projects through bi-weekly meetings with project tutor and partners, and alternate week self-directed group workshops.

Curating Contemporary Art Unit 5 (Dissertation) will be taught through group and one-to-one tutorials.

Your second year will also include the school-wide unit taught over one week in Term 1.

Each year second year MA Curating students in collaboration with leading art organisations across the UKto explore a specific form of curatorial practice in a context defined by the project partner’s ethos, programme and audience.

The final public projects act as important testing grounds for new curatorial forms of working with artists and publics within a ‘live’ setting, and also enabled new ways of working for each of the partner institutions. 

Explore CCA graduate projects from 2020:

Empathy Loading

In partnership with Furtherfield

Empathy Loading is an online project exploring empathetic relationships between humans and networked non-humans.

So remember the liquid ground

In partnership with Gasworks

So remember the liquid ground is a programme of meditative and sensorial experiences crossing over the digital, physical and spiritual realms.

Nothing gentle will remain

In partnership with Open School East

Nothing gentle will remain is a publication inviting artists and audiences to speculate on how we gather together, now and in the future.

Sets and Scenarios

In partnership with Nottingham Contemporary

Sets and Scenarios is an online programme of film, text and performance exploring our heightened proximity to moving images and what it means to live under their influence.


In partnership with Team London Bridge

Artist Rachel Pimm has collaborated with four other practitioners across disciplines – Lilah Fowler who weaves, composer HP Parmley, poet Daisy Lafarge, and chef and designer Peiran Gong – on an exploration of medicinal plants, sounds and breathing.

Explore previous CCA graduate projects:

CCA Graduate Projects, 2019

CCA Graduate Projects, 2018

CCA Graduate Projects 2017

CCA Graduate Projects, 2016

CCA Graduate Projects, 2015

... all silent but for the buzzing ..., 2014

No One Lives Here, 2013

Ritual Without Myth 2012

Shadowboxing, 2011


What you need to know before you apply

Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process will consider creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.

You are generally expected to have a good undergraduate degree from an arts or humanities background.If your undergraduate degree is not arts or humanities-based you should be able to articulate its relevance, or how it informs your aim to study Curating Contemporary Art. You also need to be able to demonstrate an active interest in contemporary art and its presentation and mediation, and have some practical experience of working within the visual arts or cultural sector that is relevant to the field of curatorial practice.

As a student on this programme you will help to develop the multi-, interdisciplinary and exploratory nature of contemporary curatorial practice and the future of curating. One of the primary aims of this programme is that you develop the skills and confidence to work effectively within this field, to act as an innovative and responsible practitioner, and that you contribute to the valuing of art and culture in your future work.

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

Please upload ​twoseparate submissions:

1. Critical Review – 500 words maximum

This text should offer a critical evaluation of a ​contemporary art exhibition or projec​t that you have recently visited and discuss why you think it is successful or not in relation to its curatorial approach.

2. Curatorial Proposal for a contemporary art exhibition or project you would like to curate – maximum 4 sides of A4 In your proposal please include the following:

  • Curatorial Rationale (what is your proposal about?)
  • Curatorial approach (how will you curate it?)
  • Artists/work/content (what will it include?)
  • Space/Platform/Venue (where will it take place?)
  • Public events/Education programming (Who is the audience?)
  • Images as appropriate (visuals)

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 6.5 with a 6.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE). 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 new students

Fees for September 2021 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

£9,750 per year
£19,500 total cost*
Channel Islands and Isle of Man
£14,500 per year
£29,000 total cost*
Overseas and EU
£29,000 per year
£58,000 total cost*


New entrants to the College for MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD degrees 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

* 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

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.


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

Start your application

Curating Contemporary Art Seminar. Photography by 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

Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements
More information about entrance requirements
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