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Interior Design programme


Constructing and communicating spatial identities

Key details

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

School or Centre

Next open day

Application deadline

  • 4 Jan 2023

We value and promote speculation, analysis, rigour and provocation through all aspects of interior design.

The MA Interior Design Programme engages you in exploring emergent ideas and issues concerning distinct aspects of the design of the interior. This incorporates research, practice and making work that explores the diversity of human occupation in numerous environments, extending from the room to the city. The programme encourages the view that the interior is an interface between its occupants and the built environment, and it supports the notion that the interior is an agent for social change.

The programme values speculation, analysis and rigour with regards to the thinking and making of all aspects of the design of interior environments. It challenges you to formulate their own rigorous and critically independent responses to these fundamental concerns. This is often undertaken via the reworking of existing structures, the creation of temporal installations and the formation of permanent interventions. All of these practices involve the construction and communication of particular spatial identities using space, objects and materials.

Explore further

Visit 2022.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work by our students, or visit our online repository of Work from Interior Design.

Catch the replays from our November 2022 online Open Day.



The School of Architecture is currently based at our historic Kensington site.

View all facilities

Our studios are the heart of day-to-day activity for the School. Studios are purpose-designed for inspiration and interaction between students of different design disciplines. Studio workspace is provided for each student. In addition, you have access to wood, metal, plastic and resin workshop facilities, as well as contemporary digital fabrication equipment and a suite of bookable project and making spaces.

  • Students in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Students in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Activity in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Activity in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Working together in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Working together in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Working on a piece in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Working on a piece in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Reviewing work in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    Reviewing work in the School of Architecture Studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

The programme is delivered across three terms and includes a combination of programme, School and College-wide units.

Term 1

You'll take an initial Primer unit, which will engage you in the exploration and synthesis of the principles and methods of critical ideas in interior space. It introduces you to ideas and the processes that will enable participants to synthesise thinking and research in the design of interior spaces. The work in this unit will be based on a focused exploration that affords you the possibilities to challenge your thinking through research, design, exploration in order to generate new meanings for buildings, objects, spaces and the elements within them.

You will also participate in Media Studies. The unit aims to increase your critical engagement with media and space. Through this unit you will be supported to increase your cross-disciplinary communication and you will be challenged to expand your media practice beyond architecture’s reliance on media as purely representation.

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

You'll also take an Elective unit.

Term 2

The Platforms unit engages you in the origination and development of your own project in relation to the thematic concerns of the programme platforms. Each platform in this unit is design to emphasise a particular way of thinking or aspect of the design of the interior.

Platform themes are the provocations or generators of ideas that you will utilise in the development of your own research and projects. It is anticipated that you will use the platforms interests to assist in the determination of your own practice interests and ultimately your professional identities.

In term 2 all School of Architecture students be offered a School-wide Elective unit.

Term 3

The purpose of the Independent Research Project (IRP) is to enable you to apply the intellectual, technical and professional skills that you have developed throughout the programme to a challenging self-set brief. The project you are undertaking is one that is normally informed and advanced from the work previously undertaken in the previous platform unit.

Still working within the thematic concerns of the platforms, you are expected to have agreed a research and project proposal, a brief, with your tutor that identifies the parameters of your project, including its aims, rationale, approaches and methodologies and possible resource implications.

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 and video, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall.

You will usually have a good undergraduate degree or other appropriate experience. Professional experience, either before during or after a first degree, may be a benefit. We welcome applications from candidates from other related backgrounds, such as architecture, furniture design, product design and graphic design.

What's needed from you

Please upload your portfolio, which must include at least five of your own projects. If any projects are collaborative or group-based then please make this clear.

We require the first project in the portfolio to express what you consider to be the work that encompasses all of your best attributes.

The portfolio should contain images, drawings, models, process work and a description of the interior space that you are inspired by. It must contain a succinct description as to why it is important to you and how it has inspired your work.

  • All projects should demonstrate, research, process, resolution and succinct communication demonstrating the journey of the work.
  • Demonstrate skills, particularly an aptitude for thinking through making
  • Include work that is analogue as well as digital, work that is three- as well as in two-dimensions
  • All projects should have well-edited, concise written descriptions in the spaces provided.
  • Professional work to be included (if applicable)
  • Include photography of spaces that you have designed that have been built (if applicable) The portfolio must be edited and arranged in a graphically coherent and elegant manner

Express coherently why you want to study Interior Design at the RCA. What motivates you to be a designer of interior space? What do you wish to achieve from the course, and how do you think it will assist you in accomplishing this aim?

Complement the work in your portfolio by taking your strongest project and describing succinctly what your aim was, and how did the project achieve it.

Describe the inspirational project in your portfolio to us and express why it stimulates you. Eloquently describe the biggest challenge you think you will face on the programme at the RCA and we would like to hear you describe where you see yourself and what you hope to be doing in five years’ time.

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.

£14,175 *
Overseas and EU
£33,600 *


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

* 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 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

Supporting MA Interior Design students from the UK, experiencing financial hardship

Funding Categories: Financial hardship, Full time

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: £10,000

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 open 2 November.

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
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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