Update you browser

For the best experience, we recommend you update your browser. Visit our accessibility page for a list of supported browsers. Alternatively, you can continue using your current browser by closing this message.

Vo and Airro: the future of cooling


Be the future agent of change

Key details

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

School or Centre

Next open day

Application deadline

  • 15 Feb 2023

Career opportunities

  • IDE graduates head into diverse creative careers as consultants, innovators, entrepreneurs, researchers, freelancers or within corporations.

Innovation through synergy between creativity, science and technology to create value for society.

The MA/ MSc Innovation Design Engineering (IDE) programme is a unique double Master’s Programme that has been run jointly with Imperial College London for 40 years.

The programme aims to create a new type of innovator, one who will be a global leader in the integration of design, engineering, science and enterprise, and distinctively positioned to tackle the volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous challenges society and the planet face. IDE is about transformation: transformation of the individual into a fiercely curious, open-minded, empathic, analytical and motivated individual who can lead teams to produce transformative results; transformation of the practices that transcend disciplinary boundaries through the utilisation of highly creative, practical and iterative processes; and transformation of the understanding of how past, present and future contextual factors can help identify issues and opportunities as a basis for generating outputs that will create lasting impact for humanity and the planet.

We foster a collaborative approach involving transdisciplinary team-working and encourage collaboration with industry and a wide range of stakeholders in innovation ecosystems. IDE is also about nurturing a supportive, empathic culture – the IDE family – not only while you study, but through our extensive alumni network.

Please note all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the given deadline.

Explore further

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

Catch the replays from our November 2022 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.

  • Darwin technical facilities

    Darwin workshop

  • At work in the School of Design Workshops (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Innovation Design Engineering studio

  • Design Products workshop

    Kensington workshop

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

The two-year IDE programme consists of three phases, each characterising the overall nature of the content and learning at each phase. Phase 1: Foundations (Terms 1 & 2) is concerned with students gaining confidence and exploring the IDE transdisciplinary landscape and toolbox building. Phase 2: Consolidation (Terms 3 & 4) is during the summer and the transition period with students working independently, developing their individual and professional agency. Phase 3: Mastery (Terms 5 & 6) is the final period for students to develop significant agency in their own areas of interest and emerging professional pathways, creating a substantial springboard into next steps for ventures, research and careers – and lasting impact.

Phase 1: Terms 1 & 2

Phase 1 is made up of a series of units: IDE Fundamentals; Transdisciplinary Practices; Cyber Physical Systems; Regenerative Materials; Structures & Aesthetics; and Impact.

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 will 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 and entrepreneurs

Phase 2: Terms 3 & 4

Phase 2 comprises two units, Sustainable Systems and Agency & Implementation, and is about professional consolidation. During phase 2 you will develop your individual and professional agency, identity and pathways through engagement with organisations, your own ventures or within research fields. Phase 2 culminates in you defining and planning your team and individual projects for Phase 3.

Phase 3: Terms 5 & 6

Phase 3 includes a series of units to strengthen your professional agency, leadership, knowledge and skills. Phase 3 includes a team-based project, individual projects and an elective module. The elective modules enable you to develop specialisms in particular areas of interest to you. The thematic areas you choose to explore in your team and individual projects can be diverse and are supported by a broad range of expert tutors.


What you need to know before you apply

The programme accepts a wide range of applicants – we want diversity of expertise, culture and experience and we welcome applicants from fields such as business, social science, and the arts in addition to engineering, science and design. Candidates who can demonstrate outstanding potential to develop creative, technical and innovation qualities.

Generally, we are looking for pioneering applicants to demonstrate their:

  • creativity, imagination and innovation;
  • ability to clearly display and articulate the intentions of your work;
  • intellectual engagement in areas relevant to the work and subjects that matter to you;
  • technical skills appropriate to IDE and rigour in your approach;
  • potential to direct and navigate their learning journey within the structure of the programme, and achieve MA and MSc standards overall.

IDE is a double Master's programme run jointly between the RCA and Imperial College London, and consequently, applicants need to meet the requirements of both institutions. Candidates for IDE are normally required to have at least a UK honours degree at 2:1 level (or the equivalent) in any subject relevant to innovation. It is desirable for candidates to have some relevant work experience.

In exceptional circumstances applicants without the required degree qualification will be considered, for example, excellent professional experience or outstanding creative or technical abilities. Special cases for admissions require unanimous approval from the IDE Entrance Examination Board, then approval by the RCA’s Academic Board for Concessions and Discipline (ABCD) and Imperial’s Programme’s Committee.

What's needed from you

Please upload a single pdf format (maximum 20 pages) compilation of work from your previous studies, professional work and personal interests. This should aim to show:

  • the excellence of your current expertise, study area or professional activity
  • evidence of your interests and ability in the fields of innovation, design and/or engineering
  • samples of your creative abilities.

The portfolio content could include: projects and exercises from previous degree courses where relevant; examples of professional work; personal sketchbooks or working sketches; self-generated projects; evidence of an ability to make in 3D; as well as examples of creative work in any other areas.

Each piece of work or project should include clear information about the nature of the work and your role in it, for example if it is individual work, group work, commercial work in a team etc.

High production quality is not needed. We will review the work in your portfolio, so keep your video simple. We are interested in what you say, to find out about you, your thinking, background and ambitions. Respond to a minimum of three of the following prompts. Consider these as the types of questions you would be asked in a face-to-face interview.

  • Who or what inspires you?
  • How do you hope to incorporate this inspiration into your work?
  • What are your aspirations for your future professional life and how will IDE help you get there?
  • What unique skills or perspectives you will bring to the IDE student group?

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.

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)
£33,200* (total)
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. Imperial fees, marked ** above, are subject to an inflationary uplift, calculated from the RPI for April 2023 and may vary slightly from the value published here; exact fees are to be confirmed in June 2023.


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



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

Supporting MA Innovation Design Engineering students from the UK, experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £10,000

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

Supporting MA/MSc Innovation Design Engineering students from the UK, experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship

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 Environmental Architecture, Sculpture, Writing and Innovation Design Engineering students from the UK from underrepresented communities, with disabilities, or in financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Students from under-represented communities, Students with a diagnosed physical or sensory disability

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Two scholarships valued at £30,000 each

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

Start your application

RCA Kensington cafe

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 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.

Email us at
[email protected]
RCA Kensington cafe