Update you browser

For the best experience, we recommend you update your browser. Visit our accessibility page for a list of supported browsers. Alternatively, you can continue using your current browser by closing this message.

Xingchen Lu


Challenge understanding

Key details

  • 240 credits
  • 2 year programme
  • Full-time study

School or Centre

Working at the creative interface between materials, making and meaning.

Textiles at the RCA is a multi-faceted discipline, and we work at the creative interface between materials, making and meaning. Our focus is on new knowledge that impacts many sectors, exploring new territories for tomorrow’s textiles specialist.

New fabrication methods and specialist textile skills offer fresh possibilities for the world and require us to constantly reconsider our practice, generating a culture of experimentation and creative possibility throughout the activities of the programme.

We encourage our students to develop an agility in their thinking and creative capability with colour and materials. The programme is an exploration of the creative, technological, cultural, commercial and sustainable contexts of textiles, and you’ll develop innovative ideas that challenge the understanding of the practice and discipline of textiles. By graduation, you’ll be fluent in the language of materials, able to influence the tangible and intangible materiality of our lives across a range of sectors.

Explore further

Visit 2020.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work from the class of 2020

Catch the replays from our March 2021 Virtual Day.



The School of Design is based at our historic Kensington site.

View all facilities

Workshops for textiles include a large-scale printmaking workshop, a dedicated dye lab, mixed media and sewing workshop and extensive knit and weave facilities that include computerised handlooms, an industrial jacquard power loom with APSO software and a dobby power loom. High-tech printing and knitting is also accessible with a state-of-the-art Shima digital knit facility

  • Textiles workshop

    Textiles workshop

  • Textiles, print

    Textiles, print

  • Textiles studio

    Textiles studio

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

The Textiles programme offers five specialisms: Printed, Knitted, Woven, Mixed Media Textiles, and Soft Systems. You’ll base your study within one of the specialisms.

Across our specialisms, we endeavour to extend your knowledge and experience of textiles using both individual and team project activities. Often we deliver these in conjunction with external industry partners to offer opportunities for professional engagement and practice.

The programme is comprised of 6 x Studio units over the two years, as follows:

Studio Unit 1 (20 Credits)

Thinking through making: Materials, Tools + Narratives

This unit of study asks you to critically engage with the processes and methods of making. This includes aspects of materials, tools and models of practice. You will undertake a series of making challenges associated with the craft foundation of your Textiles specialism.

You are expected to demonstrate understanding and competency with regard to these specialist skills in the production of the body of work for assessment.

As the unit progresses you are required to develop a unique and individual response to the project brief that goes beyond technical competency and demonstrates your creative capability to challenge the accepted boundaries of Textiles practice. You will develop your own conceptual frameworks for the development of their individual work. This is evidenced in a body of work that has an individual and unique expression in the use of colour and materials and demonstrates practical competency. The body of work will be accumulated throughout the first year and presented at two progress reviews in terms 1 and 2, and assessed in term 3.

Studio Unit 2 (30 Credits)

Contextual Application + Location.

This unit of study mixes all the students across the Textiles specialisms (Knit, Weave, Print, Mixed Media, Soft Systems) and asks you to elect a contextual platform to explore and challenge the location of your practice.

Elective platforms are offered that broadly reflect significant areas of Textile practice (Currently they are Colour, Materials and Finish or CMF, Body, Space, Gallery & Futures). There are both common and distinct approaches across the different platforms.

Elective project briefs are set for the contextual platforms that may be delivered in conjunction with another programme, industry or external partner. You are expected to demonstrate appropriate understanding and competency with regard to your elected area of practice in the appropriate development of ideas and production of a body of work for assessment that responds to the given brief.

The context project work will be presented at one progress review in term 2 and assessed in term 3.

Studio Unit 3 (10 credits)

Individual Creative Identity

This unit of study builds on the knowledge, skills and experiences learnt through Studio Units 1 & 2 and asks you to develop your individual creative identity through a period of independent study.

This will include the development of new research, proposals for the innovative development of the ideas and the ability to critically analyse your own work and that of others.

All students are asked to present their work at group critiques in Term 3. During these crits your work will be assessed a you will be asked to comment on your overall progression during year 1.

Studio Unit 4 (40 Credits)

Evolution and Resolution

Studio Unit 4 asks you to design your own creative brief and define a set of outcomes for presentation at the end of the term 4. This can be an individual or collaborative programme of work.

The parameters of the brief are set by you, with the support of your personal tutor, but must include the following:

  • Original visual research.
  • Contemporary and relevant conceptual, contextual and cultural questions pertinent to the discipline of Textiles.
  • A strategy for creative risk taking.
  • A methodology for the development of the work.
  • Bibliography.
  • The location of your work in relation to Textiles practice.

The work will be assessed at the Individual Progress Review at the end of the Term 4.

Studio Unit 5 (20 Credits)

Breaking Boundaries Part 1: Challenge + Innovate

Studio Unit 5 is a project that asks you to identify your potential point of difference and/or potential area for innovation that challenges both yourself and the discipline. It is a period for risk taking before consolidation of your work in Studio Unit 6.

You are responsible for setting your own scope of work, managing your time and resources effectively.

You must be able to articulate your point of difference and/or innovation at the end of the Studio Unit. The work will be presented at a progress review in term 5 and assessed with Studio Unit 6 in term 6.

Studio Unit 6 (60 Credits)

Breaking Boundaries Part 2: Create, Critique + Consolidate

Studio Unit 6 and asks you to identify, develop and present a cohesive body of work that encapsulates and demonstrates your Masters-level expertise.

As an independent research project, you are responsible for setting your own scope of work, managing your time and resources effectively. The body of work can be an individual or collaborative project, or series of mini-projects within a defined, overarching theme. You must be able to demonstrate a sustained trajectory of progression through the unit, that encompasses creativity, critical analysis, consolidation and resolution of your ideas.

The parameters of the final major project are set by you, with the support of your personal tutor, but must include the following:

  • A formative personal statement.
  • Original visual research.
  • Contemporary and relevant conceptual, contextual and cultural questions pertinent to the discipline of Textiles.
  • A strategy for creative risk taking.
  • A methodology for the development of the work.
  • A defined outcome or deliverable demonstrating an individual creative identity.
  • A summative, reflective, self-evaluation statement.

The work will be assessed in Term 6.

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.

View more CHS information


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 should have a BA in Textiles or a related Art and Design subject, or equivalent experience, and a personal proposal for the intended direction of their MA study.. For Soft Systems only you should have a BA in Textiles, BSc or BEng, or equivalent experience

We also want passion, commitment and a strong sense of personal responsibility for your own learning and development.

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

We suggest that you use the five slots to show five different aspects of your work and capability, such as showing five different projects. Each slot can hold multiple files so maximise this opportunity. Remember to consider how your uploaded work will appear to the viewer. Please make it clear what we are looking at by labelling the work accurately. We will be expecting to see a range of things from inspiration and your design process to finished work. Try and demonstrate your approach to textiles in your application by: Showing us where your inspiration comes from and how you interpret and develop this into original and creative ideas. Your ability and flair to use colour. An understanding of materials and how to manipulate and transform them. This might be showing us textile samples or pieces that you have created. If you do not have textile samples then show us inventive ways of transforming other materials. Examples of finished work to your best possible standard. It is essential to let us know which specialism you would prefer to work within (Print, Knit, Weave, Mixed Media or Soft Systems). This can be in your 300-word statement.

We’re interested to find out about you, your thinking, background and ambitions. Use this opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the field of textiles, including how and why you would contribute to this through your studies and future career. Use this opportunity to demonstrate some innovative and critical thinking. The video can be considered as your responses to the types of questions you would be asked in a face to face interview such as a selection from the following:

  • Tell us about your choice of one project from your portfolio and why it best represents your future interests.
  • Give us an example of an inspirational person, design or innovation within the field of Textiles.
  • What are your aspirations for what you hope to do in the future and how the Textiles programme will influence this?
  • Describe your ideal project and how you would go about this, to include a concept and rationale for the approach you suggest and how this project challenges the discipline of Textiles.
  • Talk about your analysis and creative thinking about an existing object - for example something you have in front of you.
  • Inspire us

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.

Find out more about English-language requirements

Fees & funding

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.

£9,750 per year
£19,500 total cost*
Channel Islands and Isle of Man
£14,500 per year
£29,000 total cost*
Overseas and EU
£29,000 per year
£58,000 total cost*


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.

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 2021

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
More information about entrance requirements
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.

Email us at
[email protected]
RCA Kensington cafe