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Elliott Winslow Thorpe


The future of mobility

Key details

  • 180 credits
  • 1 year programme
  • Full-time study

Next open day

Application deadline

  • Still accepting applications

Creating design leaders with the skills to influence.

The Intelligent Mobility MA programme builds on the rich history of vehicle design at the RCA, and places this within the context of a number of emerging social, cultural and technical changes. These include the shift to autonomous systems, renewable power, demographic changes and the increasing synthesis between man and machine. The programme defines and describes a paradigm shift which brings together existing fields with a design-led approach that addresses both physical and virtual aspects of the mobility space as an integrated whole.

We aim to equip students to deliver critical solutions to holistic mobility needs and issues. The core approach is translating techno-cultural challenge via intense creativity and research – building mature design and innovation propositions to meet new mobility opportunities. You'll work closely with mobility design practitioners, thought leaders and leading brands to ensure you have a thorough understanding of industrial practice and the opportunity to engage and influence critical questions relating to business, production and new models of ownership and use.

The aim of this commercial, connected approach is to create practice leaders within the ‘third age’ of automotive and mobility design and the broad spectrum of mobility services and artefacts – forming a new generation of designers who have both the skill set and mind-set to operate as strategic leaders with a broad range of abilities and insight about their own ‘point-of-impact’ on an increasingly diverse industry.

Still accepting applications for 2023 entry. See the Eligibility and key dates webpage for round 3 details.

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.

  • Intelligent Mobility studio

    Intelligent Mobility studio

  • Intelligent Mobility at the RCA

    Intelligent Mobility at the RCA

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

Term 1

The Humanising Technology unit aims to explore how recent transformational mobility technologies such as autonomy and electrification can be interpreted to provide new and desirable human interactions in mobility. You are expected to gain a profound and critical understanding of emerging technologies and their place in future mobility design.

People and Places provides a framework to understand how and where future mobility fits into a changing global landscape and how people and place connect through mobility. The unit aims to sensitise you to the scope and limits of different mobility typologies within the mobility mix and highlights the need for design to meet broader infrastructural and social requirements.

Across Terms 1 and 2, you will participate in AcrossRCA, the College-wide unit. See below for more details.

Term 2

Automotive Transitions Fundamentals focuses on the future of the automotive typology and asks you to reimagine how technology and social trends will influence future automotive design. The unit also allows you to select a specific area of focus and adopt an approach which explores techniques and questions unique to your chosen sub-sector.

You'll then take either a School-wide elective, or Automotive Transitions Advanced Practice. School of Design electives provide a very applied focus to the topics, through the execution of project activities you undertake by working in interdisciplinary teams which are drawn from across the School's programmes. Automotive Transitions Advanced Practice provides a deeper context to the key elements of future automotive design with an emphasis on advanced manufacturing, socio-cultural issues and questions related to future business models.

You'll also participate in the Grand Challenge, School-wide unit. The aim of this unit is to connect and challenge all students in the School through the introduction of a ‘wicked’ design problem that requires a cross disciplinary approach to problem solving involving an external international scientific or industry partner (or both). This unit and lecture series has been hugely successful in connecting and disrupting disciplines, people, philosophies and approaches to design thinking whilst providing our student body with very unique networking opportunities.

Term 3

The Individual Research Project asks you to identify, develop and address a defined research question which is both socially relevant and technically challenging. The work must be documented at all stages for public dissemination. You are responsible for the intellectual and technical evolution of this project and for leading the research and development of ideas and insights through different stages of the design process. This includes working out who the stakeholders are, how to research and the development of thinking through different media; notably from 2D to 3D and to an appropriate level of resolution.

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 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.

You’ll have completed or be in the final year of a first degree in an art and design (or related) subject. Alongside this, you’ll need proven commitment to the discipline, with a high level of self-motivation and evidence of independent study. You should possess a high standard of illustrative skills and an understanding of 3D form.

What's needed from you

The MA Intelligent Mobility extends traditional vehicle and transport design into a visionary, transformative and connective approach to future mobility

In your portfolio submission, we want to specifically see:

  • Projects that aim to challenge (i) what mobility is and (ii) what mobility can be through more radical and visionary work addressing major areas for impact such as emotional technology, autonomy, urban infrastructure and future mobility typologies.
  • Examples of using research and a deep interest in people and social context as a way of generating new insights and directions.
  • Work which clearly shows an ability to transform ideas from 2D, sketching and imaging into 3D. Evidence of testing ideas through making and materiality and experimenting with this process.
  • Work which shows a strong personal approach and identity – for example through the style and development of your thinking or the way you use media to express and develop your ideas and ideology.

In your video please tell us about yourself, specifically:

  • why you want to enter the mobility design sector – what is your ambition and motivation.
  • why you want to come to the RCA and what you hope to gain by joining the Intelligent Mobility programme.
  • explain where you feel the greatest opportunities and challenges are for companies and designers in the mobility design sector.
  • specific areas you wish to explore and focus on in your studies and throughout your career, what are your motivations and interests.
  • highlight a key project or projects in your folio you wish to draw our attention to and explain what you think is especially strong about it and the skills and outcomes which make this special.
  • if you could set your own project (i) what would it be and (ii) how would you undertake the project – what key steps would you take.

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.

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.

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

Progression discount

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.

Supporting Intelligent Mobility and Textiles students from the UK experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Up to four full tuition fee scholarships valued at £20,000 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.

Start your application

RCA students at work (photo: Richard Haughton)

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.

Register your interest with us here
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