At the forefront of contemporary art and design
- 180 credits
- 1 year programme
- Full-time study
School or Centre
- Still accepting applications
- IED graduates are skilled in developing careers bespoke to them, and rarely follow a standard career pathway. They go on to work as curators, artists, designers and art directors, to launch their own studios and production companies, to write books and run start-ups. Most work fluidly across art, design and research, in a variety of combinations.
Create experiences that shape the future.
Information Experience Design (IED) is an interdisciplinary field that merges experience design and information architecture with theoretical frameworks from contemporary art, communication and futures studies. We welcome ambitious students with backgrounds from any field.
At the RCA, IED students explore a wide range of digital and physical media and engage in innovative practices that integrate biological and living systems, physical computing elements, as well as AI and machine learning technologies. Students produce a hugely varied range of work, including large-scale installations, immersive digital experiences, radical performances, and living artefacts and ecosystems. The shared medium in IED is information: students work with both "cold" data (quantifiable numeric data) and "warm" data (the data of interrelationship). This allows IED students to build exciting personal practice in living systems and computational systems, often combining these through experimental design.
Our teaching approach in the IED is unique and experimental, representing the cutting edge of art and design education and informed by world-class research by IED practitioners. This requires a high level of maturity and dedication from students.
The typical IED student is highly curious, self-motivated, and adventurous in their technical and intellectual experimentation. Students and graduates from the programme in 2021–22 have been selected for a Grammy Award, Bloomberg New Contemporaries, the Lumen Prize, the Oram Prize, and shortlisted for Saatchi Gallery UK New Artist of the Year.
Still accepting applications for 2023 entry. See the Eligibility and key dates webpage for round 3 details.
Visit 2022.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work by our students.
Catch the replays from our November 2022 online Open Day.
Dr Danielle Barrios-O’Neill
Head of Programme
Danielle's teaching and research centres on the value of arts, particularly multiplatform storytelling, for social and economic benefit.View full profile
The School of Communication is currently located on our White City site.View all facilities
Our mixed-use studios encourage collaborative working, thought, awareness and action. In addition, you have access to craft and technical workshop areas and excellent technical support in the College.
Our alumni form an international network of creative individuals who have shaped and continue to shape the world. Click on each name to find out more.
Maayan Weisstub (MA Information Experience Design, 2021) on using art to uncover the strangeness of the everydayMaayan Weisstub is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice incorporates collage, illustration, drawing, painting, VR filters and large-scale public installations.With a considerable social media following before she came to the RCA to study for our MA Information Experience Design, Maayan’s work is often humorous but always provoking – leaving her viewers with new perspectives on the human and even the non-human.
More details on what you'll study.
Find out what you'll cover in this programme.
What you'll cover
What will I learn?
Through the programme, you will gain a working knowledge of experimental post-digital and cultural systems theory and practice, and its influence in society at a variety of scales, and from a variety of perspectives. You will use this context to build your own conceptual tools and framings, illustrate and test these tools through creative practice. You will continually refine your approach, and select technical skills to develop that suit the precise pieces and experiences you wish to create. This will allow you to generate a body of work that has conceptual depth as well as technical skill.
You will develop a rich transdisciplinary knowledge base, including language and terminologies for engaging with critical intellectual and practical discussions, leading-edge theory, and influential and foundational works in post-digital and systems theory and practice, with emphasis in a chosen area. Throughout the programme you will be discouraged from looking for a ‘correct’ way of thinking about or generating meaningful work, or of doing the programme, but rather you will be encouraged to cross boundaries and design your own way. Likewise, your intellectual work will not draw from textbook readings, as this programme does not have a disciplinary boundary. Instead, with the input from your tutors and Field Collective, you will select many of your core texts yourself, and you might draw on readings and approaches from games, interaction design, critical theory, anthropology, speculative design, post-humanities, philosophy, ecology, literary studies, environmental communication, and more. You will also be encouraged to engage with relevant contexts such as emergent technologies and platforms, media convergence, play, emerging forms of and views on intelligence, and experimentation in relation to social justice and change.
The programme is delivered across three terms and includes a combination of programme, School and College units.
In Form & Method, you will be immersed in foundational and state-of-the-art practice and theory in experience design and intervention. This unit launches you into the programme with an outward-looking orientation, where understanding of cultural needs, social challenges, and technological possibilities are central. Experimentation in this unit should be bold and playful, with the guiding aim of building understanding of the affordances of many conceptual and technical tools and reflecting on outcomes. Alongside practical experiments, by the end of this unit you will have proposed your emphasis, and drafted your Technical Plan and Conceptual Framework. These three things constitute the key proposition of your degree: what you wish to study and hope to create, why this is worth doing, and how you will do it.
Across Terms 1 and 2, you will participate in AcrossRCA, the College-wide unit. See below for more details.
In Systemic Phenomena, you will be challenged to situate your practice conceptually and culturally, focusing on skills related to analysis, audience awareness and collaboration. Your focus in this unit will be experimentation that is more specific and directed than in the previous term, now adapting what you have learned from broad experimentation to develop your practice in intentional ways. Where Form & Method was outward-oriented, Systemic Phenomena is more inward-facing, requiring you to apply continuous critical analysis to your processes, to evaluate them with the support of your tutors, and to refine your practice and conceptual framing so that these taken together are stable, coherent, and distinctive.
In Term 2, the Making Worlds with Others School-wide unit will allow you to work alongside students within and across the School. Working from the perspective of your individual practices and disciplines, you will develop a project that engages with others and/or creates mutual exchanges of ideas and understandings, with the intention to create critically engaged situations and/or outcomes resulting in convivial knowledge exchange. Through collaborative learning and making the unit will support you in understanding knowledge exchange and public engagement and how you are to situate your own practice in these territories. The unit will also ask you to question how socially engaged practice can contribute to cultural understanding, co-researching and co-creating methods for knowing with, not knowing about.
Your Independent Research Project will enable you to integrate your practice into a larger critical discourse, to reflect on its significance and to generate knowledge through a research piece and presentation. This unit challenges you to integrate your technical and conceptual processes into a single research project. It also requires you to reflect on the outcomes of your work in the first two terms, to trace its trajectory and consider the direction of your work in the future. Where earlier programme units focused on exploration and experimentation, this unit focuses on transformation: emphasising the wider relevance of your practice, drawing out its strengths, and exploring how it can generate evolution or revolution in the world.
Situated at the core of your RCA student experience, this ambitious interdisciplinary College- wide AcrossRCA unit supports how you respond to the challenges of complex, uncertain and changing physical and digital worlds by engaging you in a global creative network that draws on expertise within and beyond the institution. It provides an extraordinary opportunity for you to:
- make connections across disciplines
- think critically about your creative practice
- develop creative networks within and beyond the College
- generate innovative responses to complex problems
- reflect on how to propose ideas for positive change in local and/or global contexts.
AcrossRCA launches with a series of presentations from internationally acclaimed speakers that will encourage you to think beyond the discourses of art, architecture, communication, and design, and extend into other territories such as economics, ethics, science, engineering, medicine or astrophysics.
In interdisciplinary teams you will be challenged to use your intellect and imagination to respond to urgent contemporary themes, providing you with an opportunity to develop innovative and disruptive thinking, critically reflect on your responsibilities as a creative practitioner and demonstrate the contribution that the creative arts can make to our understanding and experience of the world. This engagement with interdisciplinary perspectives and practices is designed both to complement your disciplinary studies and provide you with a platform to thrive beyond graduation.
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.
Students come from a wide range of backgrounds. While you may come directly from first-degree programmes across art and design, you may have also joined the programme with professional experience in industry, or from a background such as science, technology and the humanities.
What's needed from you
Please do not submit an overview portfolio, but rather give detail on up to five individual projects that you feel demonstrate your best work, and the relevance of each project to the programme.
It is recommended that, for each project, you include either a short video (one to three minutes), audio or images, and that you write a single paragraph (up to 200 words) explaining the aims of the project and any information you’d like to highlight.
Please provide a short verbal statement that tells us about you as a person and your approach to creative practice.
We welcome unique experiences and backgrounds, and want to know how your experiences in life so far – including academic and professional, but not limited to these – have influenced your creative work. Relatedly, we are interested in what topic(s) you intend to explore through your work at the programme, and why.
In responding, it might be useful to think about what you have achieved up to now, and how you hope to develop this in the future. We recommend referring to the projects you have documented as evidence of aspects of your interests and development.
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) 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.
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.
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.
Overseas and EU
For alumni and students who have completed an RCA Graduate Diploma and progress onto an RCA Master's programme – MA, MA/MSc, MFA, MDes, MArch, MEd or MRes – within 10 years, a progression discount of £1,000 is available.
* 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.
House of Fraser Bursary
Supporting students on any MA programme from the UK (Preferably is a Scottish national), experiencing financial hardship.
Eligibility criteria: Financial hardship, Student preferably of Scottish origin
Eligible fee status: UK fee status, Full time
Sir Frank Bowling Scholarships
The Scholarship supports 21 UK MA, MRes and PhD students every year from across all RCA MA, MRes and PhD disciplines.
Eligibility criteria: Financial hardship, Students with Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, or mixed Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage
Eligible fee status: UK fee status
The RCA Cost of Living Bursary
The RCA Cost of Living Bursary supports living costs for home students across all MA programmes.
Value: Bursaries of £5,000 each, for use towards living costs
Eligibility criteria: Financial hardship
Eligible fee status: UK fee status
The RCA Disabled Students Bursary
The RCA Disabled Students Bursary supports living costs for home students with a declared disability across all MA programmes, recognising the contribution that UK students with disabilities make to the RCA
Value: Bursaries of £6,000 each, for use towards living costs
Eligibility criteria: Students with a diagnosed physical or sensory disability, or specific learning difficulties.
Eligible fee status: UK fee status
The Vice-Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarship (UK)
The Vice-Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarship supports academic excellence by rewarding talented home applicants with the highest scoring portfolios on application to RCA, with a partial fee scholarship
Value: Scholarships of £2,500 each, to be offset against fees
Eligibility criteria: Academic excellence
Eligible fee status: UK fee status
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarship
The Deputy Vice-Chancellor’s International Scholarship is aimed at international students applicants from selected countries and territories, and on selected programmes
Value: Scholarships of £3,500 each, to be offset against fees
Eligibility criteria: If oversubscribed, this bursary is awarded on academic merit or financial need.
Eligible fee status: International fee status, from: Canada, France, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, Italy, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, USA
The Vice Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarship (International)
The Vice-Chancellor’s Achievement Scholarship - International supports academic excellence by rewarding talented applicants with the highest scoring portfolios on application to RCA at Round 1 and Round 2 of applications, with a partial fee scholarship.
Value: Scholarships of £2,500 each to be offset against fees
Eligibility criteria: Academic excellence
Eligible fee status: International fee status
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
Change your life and be here in 2023. 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.More information about entrance requirements
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 sessionsSee upcoming sessions
Please note, all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the given deadline.
Ask a question
Get in touch if you’d like to find out more or have any questions.