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Workshop at Charleston Assembly

Overview

Constructing and communicating spatial identities

Key details

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

School or Centre

Location

  • Kensington

Next open day

Application deadline

  • 14 Feb 2024

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

Interior Design at the RCA explores emergent ideas and issues in interior design, from rooms to cities. We believe the interior is an interface between its occupants and the built environment and an agent for social change.

We’ll challenge you to formulate your own rigorous and critically independent responses by reworking existing structures, creating new temporary installations and forming permanent interventions.

We offer an interdisciplinary, studio and workshop-oriented learning environment within the School of Architecture. You'll benefit from 'inside/out' lecture series featuring talks by researchers, academics, and practitioners from related disciplines. There are opportunities for projects with external partners, and practice mentorship is offered throughout the provision.

You’ll be taught by leading academics, well-known practising designers, architects and theorists, and internationally renowned innovators in their fields. We create responsive and intellectually sophisticated designers: you will graduate with the skills to undertake further research and education and enter interior or other design professions.

Applications for the September 2024 intake are now open.

Visit our student exhibitions

In July 2023, students presented RCA2023, a series of exhibitions of their work and events. Visit online.

You can also view previous events and exhibitions online Showcase.

Find out more about this programme

Catch the replays from our online Open Day.

Gallery

Staff

Facilities

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

Interior Design at the RCA explores emergent ideas and issues concerning distinct aspects of the design of the interior. This incorporates research, practice that explores the diversity of human occupation in numerous environments, extending from the room to the city. We encourage the view that the interior is an interface between its occupants and the built environment and support the notion that the interior is an agent for social change.

You'll choose to explore your propositions via one of our three platforms; superFUTURES, superMATTER and superREUSE. Each foreground design criticality with a view to the climate crises, social and spatial in/justice, bodies and space in their own way.

superREUSE explores the world as a finite resource of the existing and how to redesignate it. It takes the existing as its starting point of research, mediation and new purpose.

superMATTER is a hypothesis of the intimacy of making and inhabitation. We rejoice in the immediate sensorial experience, unveil hidden narratives and unleash the potential of materials.

superFUTURES is a research-led design studio specialising in speculative spatial design and fictions. Design is our tool for speculating upon emerging transitions in humanity and society and their relationship to space – we are poised to challenge the discipline of Interiors, not to serve the profession.

There will be several opportunities to collaborate with others, but at a minimum, your programme will include 297.5 contact hours (excluding electives) and 1502.5 independent study hours. Contact hours can consist of lectures, seminars, tutorials, critical forums and workshops, among other types of teaching delivery.

Teaching types included in your programme can consist of briefings, projects, tutorials, seminars, lectures, critical forums, technical inductions, technical workshops, offsite visits and blended learning.

Term 1

Primer (30 credits)

This unit 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 allows you to challenge your thinking through research, design, and exploration to generate new meanings for buildings, objects, spaces and the elements within them.

Media Studies (15 credits)

Situated in the School of Architecture and welcoming a student cohort from multiple spatial design disciplines, Media Studies provides a rigorous and granular examination of historical and contemporary media practice and research methodologies. Our collective goal is to increase critical engagement with media. We achieve this through lectures, tutorials, and workshops in which new approaches to media are conceptualised, refined, and implemented in innovative proposals and projects.

Term 2

Platforms (30 credits)

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

Platform themes are the provocations or generators of ideas that you will utilise in developing your own research and projects. We expect you will use the platform interests to assist in the determination of your own practice interests and, ultimately, your professional identities.

Term 3

Independent Research Project (60 credits)

The Independent Research Project aims to enable you to apply the intellectual, technical and professional skills you have developed throughout the programme to a challenging self-set brief. The project will normally be advanced from the work previously undertaken in the platforms.

Working within the thematic concerns of the platforms, you are expected to have agreed on 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.

The majority of this unit will involve independent study in the platform system. This unit engages you in developing and realising your Independent Research Project (IRP). The provocations provided by the platforms should be utilised to assist in determining your practice interests and, ultimately, your professional ambitions, responsibilities, and identities as a practising designer. The IRP will contain an externally-facing element, for instance, an exhibition of work. This enables you to benchmark your work in a professional context.

Download the Interior Design 2023/24 programme specification (PDF)

AcrossRCA is a compulsory 30-credit unit which is delivered as part of all MA programmes.

Situated at the core of your RCA experience, this ambitious interdisciplinary College-wide unit supports you in responding to the challenges of complex, uncertain and changing physical and digital worlds. Developed in response to student feedback, AcrossRCA creates an exciting opportunity for you to collaborate meaningfully across programmes.

Challenging you to use your imagination and intellect to respond to urgent contemporary themes, this ambitious unit will provide you with the opportunity 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 and panel discussions from acclaimed speakers who will introduce the themes and act as inspirational starting points for your collaborative team response.

Delivered online and in-person across two terms, the unit has been designed to complement your disciplinary studies and to provide you with a platform to thrive beyond graduation.

AcrossRCA

Requirements

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

We ask that you upload a two-minute video recorded on your phone or laptop, speaking to us directly. High production qualities are not needed. We will review the work in your portfolio, so keep your video simple.

  • 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 or UKVI 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 2024 entry on this programme are outlined below. From 2021 onward, EU students are classified as Overseas for tuition fee purposes.

Home
(subsidised)
£15,150 *
Overseas and EU
£35,950 *

Deposit

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.

Home
£1,000
Overseas and EU
£2,000

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

Scholarships

The RCA scholarship programme is growing, with hundreds of financial awards planned for the 2024/5 academic year. Examples of financial awards offered in 2023/24 are given below.

For: All MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligibility criteria: Students from Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, Cyprus, Egypt, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Sri Lanka, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, USA

Eligible fee status: Overseas fee status

Value: £7,000 towards fees

For: All MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: £5,000 towards fees

For: All programmes excluding short courses

Eligibility criteria: Black or Black British Caribbean, Black or Black British African, Other Black Background, Mixed - White and Black Caribbean, Mixed - White and Black African

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: Full fees & maintenance

For: All MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: £5,000 for living costs

For: MA Interior Design

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: £10,000 towards fees

For: Any MA programme

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: £10,000 towards fees

Applying for a scholarship

You must hold an offer to study on an RCA programme in order to make a scholarship application in Spring 2024. A selection of RCA merit scholarships will also be awarded with programme offers. 

We strongly recommend that you apply for your programme as early as possible to stand the best chance of receiving a scholarship. You do not apply directly for individual awards; instead, you will be invited to apply once you have received an offer.

More information

Additional fees

In addition to your programme fees, please be aware that you may incur other additional costs associated with your study during your time at RCA. Additional costs can include purchases and services (without limitation): costs related to the purchase of books, paints, textiles, wood, metal, plastics and/or other materials in connection with your programme, services related to the use of printing and photocopying, lasercutting, 3D printing and CNC. Costs related to attending compulsory field trips, joining student and sport societies, and your Convocation (graduation) ceremony. 

If you wish to find out more about what type of additional costs you may incur while studying on your programme, please contact the Head of your Programme to discuss or ask at an online or in person Open Day.   

We provide the RCASHOP online, and at our Kensington and Battersea Campuses – this is open to students and staff of the Royal College of Art only to provide paid for materials to support your studies. 

We also provide support to our students who require financial assistance whilst studying, including a dedicated Materials Fund.

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.

Payments

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

Change your life and be here in 2024. Applications now open.

The Royal College of Art welcomes applicants from all over the world.

Before you begin

1.
Make sure you've read and understood the entrance requirements and key dates
More information about eligibility and key dates
2.
Check you have all the information you need to apply.
Read our application process guide
3.
Consider attending an Open Day, or one of our portfolio or application advice sessions
See upcoming sessions
4.
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
RCA Kensington cafe