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Take your education career to the next level

Key details

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


  • Kensington

Application deadline

  • 14 Aug 2024

Career opportunities

  • MRes RCA supports the development of research careers in academia and industry-based research groups. All students develop an individual research project, which prepares graduates for further studies at PhD level or careers within an emerging field of practice-led and practice-based research.

An interdisciplinary research MRes by practice or thesis across art and design

The MRes RCA is a dynamic, interdisciplinary degree that fosters innovative thinking and equips students for PhD-level study or professional industry research roles. By teaching processes and methods that are informed by art and design thinking, you will be introduced to and develop practice-led and experimental research skills.

The MRes curriculum offers a transformational experience and gives you the opportunity to construct your own area of expertise. It offers vibrant, rigorous and experimental research training in a broad array of research methods, allowing students to innovate and interrogate their disciplines by learning from methods across art and design practice.


The MRes RCA is interdisciplinary in nature, however at application you will elect a specialism. This specialism will be your central discipline and you will be assigned a related expert supervisor for closer supervision of your research project.

  • Architecture
  • Communication
  • Design
  • Fine Art
  • Experimental Humanities

Applications for the September 2024 intake are now open.

Explore further

Catch the replays from our latest online Open Day

Visit the RCA Student Research Platform to explore an archive and showcase of student research at the RCA.



The RCA has campuses at Kensington, Battersea and White City.

View all College-wide facilities

Our studios encourage collaborative working, thought, awareness and action. In addition, you have access to craft and technical workshop areas and excellent technical support in the College.

  • Sound Studio

    Sound studio

  • Computer lab

    Computer cluster

  • Making Space, White City

    Making space

  • Robotics Lab

    Robotics lab

  • Sound studio

    Sound studio

  • Student in textile studio

    Textiles studio

More details on what you'll study

Find out what you'll cover in this programme

What you'll cover

Students develop a creative and critically engaged individual research project, whether thesis-based or practice-based. We have a strong emphasis on experimental research, preparing graduates for diverse careers in academia, art and design industry and cultural institutions. We offer a range of specialisms for closer supervision of research projects across the disciplines of architecture, communication, design, fine art and experimental humanities, focusing on the interface of research and practice. We believe interdisciplinary, collaborative learning and dialogue allows us to see and think about our own disciplines from new perspectives, fostering originality and innovation within the field.

Term 1

Research Methods Part 1: Developing Research Questions (15 credits)

This unit supports you in developing and articulating research questions, by interrogating the central themes of your practice and what you aim to explore within your independent research projects through interconnected theoretical and practice approaches. The focus of this first research methods unit is on developing concise research questions and supporting your understanding of interdisciplinary research methods that you will build into your own research methods toolkit which will be used in Research Methods Part 2 to write a research proposal that mirrors the form of a PhD application. Through this unit you will develop your conceptual, analytical, technical, and theoretical knowledge base.

Research in Practice Part 1: Testing and Experimenting (15 credits)

Testing and Experimenting (15 CREDITS): Within this unit, you will interrogate your research questions through practice approaches, be that a visual practice or a written practice. Experimentation and innovation across practice and theory are encouraged and supported. You will introduce different methods and approaches for you to test and explore.

College-wide Elective (AcrossRCA or elective from other Schools) (15 credits)

College-wide Elective (15 credits)

Term 2

Research Methods Part 2: Developing a Research Proposal (15 credits)

Developing a Research Proposal (15 CREDITS): Through an understanding of a wide range of research methods, you will be able to research and develop new, experimental, and effective approaches, engaging with problems and insights at the forefront of your discipline. The detailed research proposal mirrors the form of a PhD application by introducing your research subjects, aims, contexts, and key questions. You will also build a core repository of research references appropriate to your subject as an annotated bibliography, articulating which aspects of each source are of importance to your research.

Research in Practice Part 2: Defining and Developing (15 credits)

Defining and Developing (15 CREDITS): Within this unit, you will further define and develop your practice. Through planning and investigation, you will begin to determine the methods and approaches that are successful for you, which you will build upon within the final Research Project.

College-wide Elective (AcrossRCA or elective from other Schools) (15 credits)

College-wide Elective (15 credits)

Term 3

Independent Research Project (60 credits)

Within this unit, you will apply the skills, knowledge and understanding developed through the previous units to complete a complex Independent Research Project. This project can be practice- or thesis-based, with practice-based route bringing together an original body of work with a connected 5 thesis, and thesis-based route the completion of a longer textual output. Students will be supervised by MRes staff by discipline specialisms, with group and individual critiques and tutorials.

Download the MRes RCA Programme Specification 2023/24 (PDF)

You will select elective units to determine your own journey through the programme, choosing from a range of electives that are available across all Schools and campuses, and online. Available electives may include:

Term 1

  • Interventions (School of Communication, on campus)
  • Digital Storytelling (School of Communication, online)
  • Education for Change (Academic Development Office, online & blended options with mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Collaboration and Inter-disciplinarity as Method (Academic Development Office, online & blended options with mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Housing and Social Reproduction (School of Architecture, mix of online and on campus sessions)
  • Mobility and Debility (School of Architecture, mix of online and on campus sessions)
  • Design Innovation: Models and Life Cycle (School of Design, mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Design Ethics: Design for Good Practice (School of Design, online)
  • Performing Practice (School of Arts and Humanities, on campus)
  • Health and Care: Futures of Care (School of Arts and Humanities, online)
  • Material Engagements: Embodied Practice (School of Arts and Humanities, on campus)

Terms 1 and 2

AcrossRCA (30 credits) (Academic Development Office, majority online, but some on-campus sessions)

Term 2

  • Industry Embedded Project (School of Communication, online)
  • Sound (School of Communication, on campus)
  • Public Engagement as Method (Academic Development Office (MRes), mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Developing Research Proposals (Academic Development Office (MRes), mix of online
  • Making Pedagogies (Academic Development Office (MEd), mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Capital’s Shadow (School of Architecture, mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Milieu Milieu Me (The Economy) (School of Architecture, mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Design Resilience: Sustainability (School of Design, mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Design Innovation: Venture Creation (School of Design, mix of online and on-campus sessions)
  • Sites and Situations: Spatial Feelings (School of Arts and Humanities, on campus)
  • Synthetic Encounters: Shapeshifting the Digital (School of Arts and Humanities, online)

Depending on demand and availability, not all electives will be available. You'll be asked to rank your preferences and allocated to electives based on those preferences.

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.



What you need to know before you apply

This programme is open to a wide range of applicants, including graduates of the RCA or other MA programmes from the UK or around the globe, mid-career artists and designers seeking to further their education and practice, and career-changers who wish to bring their knowledge into the context of art and design research. The MRes award will also appeal to those in, or working towards, an academic career in a range of contexts.

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.

Full time: £15,150*
Part time: £9,850 per year
Overseas and EU
Full time: £35,950*
Part time: £23,350 per year


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 MA or MA/MSc at the RCA within the past 10 years, a progression discount is available for MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd study. This discount is £5,000 for full-time study, or £2,500 per year for two years of part-time study.



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

Eligibility criteria: Students from Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey

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 MA programmes, MArch, MFA, MDes, MRes & MEd

Eligibility criteria: Students who identify as D/deaf or disabled

Eligible fee status: Home fee status

Value: £6,000 for living costs

For: All programmes excluding PhD & 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

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.

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

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.

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