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Resting Reef


An international design experience

Key details

  • 360 credits
  • 2 year programme
  • Full-time study
School or Centre
Application deadline
  • Applications closed. Please check back soon.

Creative catalysts designing innovation-led solutions for social change.

The GID programme is not currently open for applications

The MA/ MSc Global Innovation Design (GID) programme is double Master’s programme that is run jointly with Imperial College London, and features two terms spent at partner institutions either in Tokyo and New York, or in Beijing and Singapore.

GID is about developing innovators who can combine a deep understanding of culture and context with skills in design, technology and leadership to create lasting positive impacts for people and the planet. GID helps students become this new type of innovator in three ways: firstly, by helping students develop their own vision, agency and leadership skills; secondly, by immersing students in different cultures and contexts to help hone insightful working and inform and inspire new innovations; and thirdly, by helping students learn how to adopt and apply transdisciplinary practices for creating transformational change.

The programme’s transdisciplinary approach to innovation combines the skills and cultures of two internationally renowned but very different organisations: a predominantly technical university (ICL) and a college of art and design (RCA). This transdisciplinary culture forms the foundations of the work in GID and prepares students to head into exploratory territory with their work and their travels when they explore new ideas and new ways of working with our partners across the world. The result is the rigour and precision of scientifically grounded work in combination with the insightful and creative aspects of place-based design explorations.

Explore further

Visit 2022.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work by our students.

Catch the replays from our November 2021 online Open Day.



The School of Design is based across our Battersea and Kensington sites.

View all facilities

Students have access to the College’s workshops, with traditional facilities for woodworking, metalworking, plastics and resins, including bookable bench spaces. Computer-driven subtractive milling equipment is available, as well as additive rapid prototyping.

  • Global Innovation Design Facilities

    Global Innovation Design studio

  • Darwin technical facilities

    Darwin workshop

  • Mechatronics Lab

    Mechatronics Lab

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

The MA/MSc Global Innovation Design programme consists of three core phases across the two years. You will spend the first phase (two terms) in London, the second phase abroad (two terms) with partner institutions either in Tokyo and New York or in Beijing and Singapore (attending in person unless extreme circumstances prevent travel) and the third phase back in London (two terms).

Terms 1 & 2

Phase 1 is made up of a series of units where you will gain confidence exploring the GID transdisciplinary and cultural landscape and in developing your core skills, knowledge, strategies and practices. These lay the foundations for the future stages of the programme by exposing you to new ways of thinking and working and helping to grow personal toolkits.

Terms 3 & 4

For phase 2, you will be based at overseas partner institutions gaining new skills and conducting immersive cultural design research. Through each of these institutions you will experience a unique culture and mode of teaching, and be exposed to a unique set of local expertise that will challenge and enrich your global education experience. With the partners you will learn as part of the local curriculum, and so will study alongside local students to experience the local cultural and disciplinary differences.

To develop your professional agency as you travel, you will be given a number of opportunities to work on open brief solo projects. In each location you will also have an opportunity to work on a project supervised by the local academic team and in the local academic style. To support this, the cultural units and the Process Metamorphosis units will be led by the RCA and ICL teams to act as an anchor in your cultural experience. In these you will consciously reflect on your experiences in a new culture, and on your own personal development.

Terms 5 & 6

In phase 3 you will further develop your individual and professional agency, vision, leadership, knowledge and skills through self-directed work. Three units (Context Exploration, Impact Experimentation and Action) will take you through different stages of the innovation process to help you develop your ideas and vision into an innovation that can have a positive impact in the world. In addition, you will be able to choose an elective unit to develop specialisms in particular areas of interest to you.

Our GID international partners are selected as they are top universities in their fields and their respective countries. As part of the exchange therefore, you will experience a breath of learning styles considered to be the leading edge across the world.

Keio University, Tokyo

The host department is Keio Media Design (KMD) Graduate School at the Hiyoshi Campus of Keio University, Tokyo, Japan. KMD’s mission is to develop media innovators who have the ability to innovate on their own to create social value, and to go beyond specific disciplines and national borders.

The Pratt Institute, New York

The host department is the Industrial Design Department (Pratt ID) Graduate School at the Pratt Institute Brooklyn Campus in New York City. Pratt ID aims to develop designers with a deeper understanding of the design process from research through concept creation and design skills. The curriculum is founded on the common pursuit of creativity, experimentation, and innovation, explored through a series of projects, large and small that translate ideas into a wide variety of new forms, systems, and structures.

Tsinghua University, Beijing

The host department is the Academy of Arts and Design at Tsinghua University in Beijing, China. Tsinghua is one of the best performing universities in China. Designers on the GID programme at Tsinghua take part in a customised programme that explores the intersection of social design, designing for manufacture and cultural transfer. As the rest of the school teaches in Mandarin, GID students are unable to select classes or work directly with local students, but they often have the opportunity to work alongside other exchange students such as those from the Politecnico di Milano. However, the custom curriculum has been developed with the aim of providing a unique multidisciplinary educational experience for postgraduates of exceptional ability who aspire to become key innovators and leader of innovation for a globalised world.

Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

The host department is the School of Art, Design, and Media (ADM) at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. ADM is host to a range of inter-disciplinary courses are designed to mould creative individuals into outstanding artists, designers, animators, new media performers and even business leaders. Their aim is to liberate imaginative minds to unleash breakthrough design as an integral part of life.

Please note: Wherever possible you will attend in person with our partners, however, there are a number of factors which may impact your ability to physically travel to a partner institution. This may include, but are not limited to, international politics, visa complications, global travel restrictions, and medical complications resulting in lack of fitness to travel.

If you cannot travel or attend a residency, an alternative curriculum will be provided to enable you to meet the learning outcomes of the programme and continue to grow your practice


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 considers 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.

To apply to Global Innovation Design you’ll normally need to have at least a UK honours degree at 2:1 level (or the equivalent) in any subject relevant to innovation, and it’s desirable to have some relevant work experience. In exceptional circumstances we will consider applicants without this degree qualification (for example, excellent professional experience or outstanding creative or technical abilities).

What's needed from you

GID graduates go on to become international change makers. During their time with us, we help students to create insightful and impactful solutions to global challenges through exploring how we will relate to each other, our planet, the objects we make, and the systems we interact with. To join this growing community, we are looking for pathfinders, translators and pioneers. We want people who can see the edges of their disciplines, their projects, and the way things are and imagine and create new possibilities beyond the boundaries.

We want you to compile a single document (PDF, maximum 20 pages) showing us a diverse range of projects, from previous studies, professional work, or self initiated work. This should demonstrate clear written and visual articulation, deep consideration and rigour in the way you work, and an engagement with subjects that matter to you.

If you’re a designer, select a few of your most creative, original and ingenious pieces of work, including your process and decisions, the skills and tools used, as well as its purpose and final outcome. If you're not a designer, don’t worry – show us how you’ve achieved excellence in your own field, communicate it visually, and make it personal, evidencing your unique creativity in whatever form this may take. In both cases we are interested in how you think, what gets you excited, your desire to learn new skills, and your ability to build and grow your ideas.

Please use this short video to tell us a bit about yourself, your journey so far, and what you hope to get from the course. Why would you be a good fit for GID, and why would it be the right thing for you?

Describe a project, challenge or achievement that has taken you to the edges (or beyond) of your main disciplinary background. Where were you outside of your comfort zone, what did you have to teach yourself along the way, and what did you gain from the experience? Lastly, tell us what you would do if you had six months and unlimited resources to work on your dream project. What innovation challenge or opportunity would you tackle, and how would you go about it?

If you are not a national of a majority English-speaking country you will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a minimum of 6.5 in the Test of Written English (TWE).

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 2023 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

£16,600 (first year), £16,600 (second year)-
Overseas and EU
£ 38,600 (first year), £38,600 (second year)
£77,200* (total)

Please note

*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.


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.



Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.

Supporting a range of MA students from the UK with financial need.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Four scholarships valued at £25,000 each

Supporting students on any MA programme from the UK (Preferably is a Scottish national), experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time, Student preferably of Scottish origin

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £10,000

The Scholarship supports 21 UK MA, MRes and PhD students every year from across all RCA MA, MRes and PhD disciplines.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Students with Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, or mixed Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £21,000

To provide scholarships to students onto any RCA programme, from underrepresented communities, and facing financial challenges. Preference will be given to those identifying as Black or Black British; Asian or Asian British; or from a mixed background.

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time, Students from underrepresented communities who identify as Black/Black British; Asian/British Asian; or or mixed heritage.

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Up to sixteen full fee scholarships

Supporting School of Design students from the UK from under-represented communities. Preference for those identifying as Black or Black British (Caribbean); Black or Black British (African), or other Black background.

Funding Categories: Students with Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, or mixed Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: One scholarship valued at £35,000

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.

MA/MSc fees

Students on this programme pay the tuition fees direct to the RCA. In addition to the standard RCA postgraduate masters fee this programme is subject to a supplementary fee (£2,000 per annum) because of the higher costs involved in delivering a programme in three countries.

In addition to the tuition fee, students will need to cover other non-academic costs such as flights, visas, accommodation, insurance and general living expenses.

Ask a question

Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or have any questions.

Register your interest with us here
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