Innovation through synergy between creativity, science and technology to create value for society.
Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) is a unique double Master’s Programme that has been run jointly with Imperial College London for over 39 years. You’ll take advantage of the skills and cultures of two very different organisations. The result is the rigour and precision of science, technology and engineering in combination with the inspirational and creative aspects of design.
Our interdisciplinary approach focuses on the exploration and development of impactful innovation through critical observation, disruptive design thinking, experimentation, exploration of emergent technologies, advanced engineering and enterprise activities.
We want students who are ready to be exposed to multiple perspectives and expertise. People who can critically question the present to envisage the creation of new human experiences, system-based dynamics that foster behavioural change and generate cultural, economic and societal value.
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.
Our alumni form an international network of creative individuals who have shaped and continue to shape the world.
- Gus Desbarats
- Virginia Gardiner
- Yusuf Muhammed
- Duncan Kerr
- Isabel Lizardi
- Nick Munro
- Maryam Nabavi
- Mark Sanders
- Richard Whitehall
More details on what you'll study.
Find out what you'll cover in this programme.
What you'll cover
In the first year you embark on a range of units (‘modules’), to develop skills and experience. Each of these units focuses on a particular aspect of innovation, design and engineering and involves practice, as well as research activities within the development of products, services, systems, campaigns and experiences, and in exploring broader societal challenges.
In each unit, you undertake a design-led project to a brief – sometimes set and sometimes of your own devising. Emphasis is placed on generating imaginative ideas, development and validation through testing prototypes, simulation and gaining feedback from expert stakeholders such as potential end users, designers, engineers, entrepreneurs.
The second year programme of work sees you exploring topics of your own interest, resulting in two innovation projects: one that is team based (‘group project’), and one that is undertaken individually (a self-generated ‘solo project’). The thematic areas that students choose to explore are diverse and are supported by a broad range of expert tutors.
The solo project runs throughout the year and the group project runs during the Autumn term and a brief period of the Spring term. The group project is assessed at the end of Autumn term, followed by exhibition at a Work in Progress Show. The solo project is assessed at the end of the academic year as part of the Final Examination, with work shown in the RCA Final Show and Imperial Design Engineering Show.
Critical & Historical Studies (CHS)
All studio-based MA students follow a weekly schedule of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS), a College-wide initiative that provides you with the intellectual framework to build a coherent relationship between theory and practice.
CHS delivers exciting, thought-provoking and inspiring lectures by experts within the programme and high-profile visiting lecturers. You’ll have the opportunity to explore the theoretical background and aspects of your chosen discipline through a tutored dissertation process, as well as receiving individual tutorial support from our team of expert tutors.
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.
We accept a multidisciplinary range of applicants – we want diversity of expertise, culture and experience. We are interested in engineers and technologists, we are looking for designers from all aspects of the subject area and we welcome applicants from other diverse fields such as business, social science, and the arts. In fact successful IDE applicants can come from many fields: anyone with outstanding skills in their current activities that has an excellent aptitude for innovation and team working and has a fundamental belief that design can make a direct contribution to the quality of life. Engineers, designers, scientists, technologist, artists, social scientists, business people, if you have intelligence, curiosity, passion and a drive to improve the world then IDE is interested in you.
IDE is a double Master’s course run jointly with Imperial College London, and consequently, applicants need to have a degree at 2:1 level or higher (or the equivalent). In exceptional circumstances, applicants without this degree qualification will be considered (for example, excellent professional experience or outstanding creative or technical abilities).
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
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).
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 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.
Overseas and EU
Imperial fees, marked ** above, are subject to an inflationary uplift, calculated from the RPI for April 2022 and may vary slightly from the value published here; exact fees are to be confirmed in June 2022.
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
Scholarships are awarded for a specific programme and entry point and cannot be deferred without consent from the academic Programme and scholarships panel.
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.
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.
Change your life and be here in 2021
The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.