We value and promote speculation, analysis, rigour and provocation through all aspects of interior design.
The programme will challenge you to formulate your own rigorous, critically independent responses to conceptualising and making interiors.
This is often undertaken via the reworking of existing structures, the creation of temporal installations and the formation of permanent interventions using space, objects and materials.
We offer you a unique context of interdisciplinary, studio- and workshop-oriented study, as well as opportunities for live projects in conjunction with specific industry-partners.We have a staff of leading academics, practising designers, architects and theorists, all of whom are internationally renowned and innovators in their fields. In your second year, you'll also be assigned a practice mentor – a professional interior designer – who you’ll meet four times a year
Visit 2020.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work from the class of 2020, or visit our online repository of Work from Interior Design.
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.
Our alumni form an international network of creative individuals who have shaped and continue to shape the world.
- Ed Barber & Jay Osgerby
- David Connor
- Dinah Casson
- Sir James Dyson
- Ben Kelly
- Sadie Morgan
More details on what you'll study.
Find out what you'll cover in this programme.
When applying for this programme, you select one of these specialist pathways.
Taught by a team of specialists from the Schools of Architecture and Arts & Humanities, and directed by Professor Graeme Brooker, the pathway will give you a research-informed, experimental and practice-based approach to making and understanding exhibitions in the twenty-first century. We invite students from a wide range of creative, design-led and curatorial backgrounds and interests.
The central ethos of the pathway is that exhibition-making is a collaborative practice, demanding a symbiotic understanding of both design-led and curatorial intentions and knowledge, which can be delivered through an increasingly wide range of cultural, commercial and institutional interactions and partnerships.
Exhibition Design will equip you with the design-led skills and knowledge to deliver high-quality exhibition design in a variety of public settings. The pathway engages with the multidisciplinary demands of exhibition making, not only from a design perspective, but through engagement with artists and designers, curators, commissioning bodies, clients and the public.
What you'll cover
Your first year emphasises experimentation and innovation through a 'foundational' approach to the study of the interior. In the first year, you will examine and develop ideas in response to what is considered to be some of the fundamental elements and principles of the interior. These have been developed into three key areas of work: ‘Proximities’, ‘Inhabitation’ and ‘Identities’.
In term one, you undertake a series of short introductory project(s) entitled the primer often in conjunction with second year students. Following this diagnostic introductory period, one of three phases of the fundamentals begins.
In the second phase of the year, ‘Inhabitations’, introduces projects based around different forms of the use of the interior. The third phase consolidates your previous learning into a project entitled ‘Identities’. This is where you are required to undertake design projects that examine the manifestations of particular atmospheres, surfaces, objects and rooms, all of which convey the aspects of a particular site, communities, clients and stakeholders. It will foreground, and subsequently develop, all aspects of your learning to date and will be realised at the end of the year in a portfolio submitted for the summative examination.
Year one is underpinned by a school-wide elective lecture and seminar series entitled media studies. This underpins your studio work with key ideas, texts, theories and discussions. A year-long dissertation is undertaken in the CHS unit.
At the start of the second year (term four) you integrate with the first year through undertaking a series of collaborative short projects in mixed groups (primer). After this, you join a particular platform in order to pursue your personal thesis project for the rest of the academic year.
The focus of the work is concerned with developing an innovative project that explores an aspect of interior design at a level appropriate for a master’s project.
This work may be a single interior design project, involve an extended piece of research, a series of smaller exploratory projects or a combination of these approaches. The project culminates in the material developed for the Independent Research Project, assessed in your final examination.
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.
Interior Design Platforms
Students join a platform of their choice in the second year of the Programme. Each platform emphasises a way of thinking, or a particular aspect of the design of the interior. Platforms are not expected to be isolated or insular in their approach to thinking about the interior, but instead will overlap with others and will often encompass similar themes and ideas on interior design.
To read about our platforms in previous years, visit
Inside/Out Lecture Series
This series of talks feature international architects, designers, curators and writers who will discuss their own practice and dissect the role of interior design.
Forthcoming speakers include Andrew Stevens from London-based design consultancy Graphic Thought Facility; French industrial designer matali crasset; Roberto Feo of post-disciplinary studio El Ultimo Grito; the director of London’s Design Museum, Deyan Sudjic; Alannah Western, former Creative Director of Selfridges and now Deputy Chairman of Selfridges Group; the leading British interior designer Ben Kelly; the visionary architect and designer Gaetano Pesce; the Senior Curator of Architecture and Design at the Museum of Modern Art Paolo Antonelli; Christophe Egret of architecture and urban design practice Studio Egret West; the renowned sculptor Richard Wentworth; and the architect David Chipperfield.
Talks take place in Lecture Theatre 1, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU at 6.30pm
Places are free but need to be booked in advance, please click the event below for more information.
21 November 2017: Melhem Sfeir
6 February 2018: Dorothée Meilichzon
13 February 2018: Hikaru Nissanke
20 February 2018: Charles Kaisin
27 February 2018: Max Kahlen
6 March 2018: Jenny Jones
13 March 2018: Tom Dixon
4 February 2015: Ben Kelly
21 January 2015: Christophe Egret
28 January 2015: Alannah Weston
17 December 2014: Deyan Sudjic OBE
10 December 2014: Roberto Feo
3 December 2014: Matali Crasset
19 November 2014: Andrew Stevens
20 March 2014: Dinah Casson
30 January 2014: Mark Dytham MBE
23 January 2014: Marcus Fairs
28 November 2013: Ben van Berkel
21 November 2013: Jamie Fobert
7 November 2013: William Russell
16 October 2013: Annabelle Selldorf
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.
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
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). 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.
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.
Channel Islands and Isle of Man
Overseas and EU
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
* 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.
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.