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Xingchen Lu


Thinking through making

Key details

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

School or Centre


  • Kensington

Next open day

Application deadline

  • 11 Oct 2023

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

Join a Master’s programme operating at the intersection of design, craft and fine art.

At the RCA, we actively challenge the role of the modern Textiles practitioner. Practice-led research is fundamental to our approach. We embrace a ‘thinking through making’ approach, exploring materials and processes to uncover new insights in the physical and digital domains.

The programme unites diverse practitioners, from commercial designers and individual craft and gallery-based practitioners to smart textile innovators. Be part of this vibrant community, whose broad membership is fertile ground for critical diabetes and questioning.

You’ll develop an individual creative identity through personally driven initiatives, collaborative work, and industry-orientated interdisciplinary projects. With a focus on radical experimentation and material exploration, we encourage an exploratory, non-linear approach that embraces the conceptual. You’ll critically engage with all aspects of the discipline to demonstrate your creative capability. We value all approaches and promote responsibility and ethical values.

Applications for the September 2024 intake are now open.

Explore graduate work

In July 2023, students presented a series of exhibitions and events featuring their final work. Explore online at https://2023.rca.ac.uk

You can also view previous events and exhibitions online at Showcase.

Find out more about this programme

Catch the replays from our November 2022 online Open 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

There will be several opportunities to collaborate with others, but at a minimum, your programme will include 202.5 contact hours and 1,597.5 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

In Textiles Alchemy (45 credits), you’ll develop a strong foundation for establishing your practice through research, experimentation and exploration of colour, material and process. You are asked to identify and evaluate the most appropriate skills and techniques for your project and to critically engage with your choice and use of materials and processes. You will be expected to engage with and contribute to the studio culture of the Programme.

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

Term 2

In Textiles Make (15 credits) you develop a deeper understanding and skill capability within your chosen area of practice and is delivered through a series of masterclasses, workshops, technical negotiated learning and independent study. You will concentrate your study in a selection of available areas and develop your making skills alongside your critical development.

All School of Design students will participate in the Grand Challenge (15 credits), School-wide unit. This unit aims to connect and challenge all students in the School by introducing a ‘wicked’ design problem that requires a cross-disciplinary approach to problem-solving involving an external international scientific or industry partner (or both). This unit and lecture series has successfully connected and disrupted disciplines, people, philosophies and approaches to design thinking whilst providing our student body with unique networking opportunities.

Term 3

The Independent Research Project (60 credits) asks you to identify, develop and present a cohesive body of work that encapsulates and demonstrates your Master’s level expertise.

You are responsible for setting your own work scope and managing your time and resources effectively. You must demonstrate a sustained trajectory of progression through the unit that encompasses creativity, critical analysis, consolidation and resolution of your ideas. Individual and group tutorials, seminars, workshops and technical negotiated learning will support your development.

All students will participate in a collective Textiles Festival that includes public dissemination and enables them to critique their work in relation to others and the broader discipline of Textiles.

Download the Textiles 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.



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 either a BA, a BSc or BEng, or equivalent experience, and a personal statement for the intended direction of study. We also want passion, commitment and a strong sense of personal responsibility for your own learning and development.

What's needed from you

We suggest you use the five slots to show five different aspects of your work and capability, such as showing five different projects.

Please combine multiple files into one PDF document for each of the five project spaces. The PDF file must be viewable within standard computer screen dimensions 1600 x 1200 pixels.

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 expect 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, show us inventive ways of transforming other materials. Examples of finished work to your best possible standard.

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.

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.

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.

Overseas and EU


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 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.



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: MA Textiles

Eligibility criteria: Home fee status

Value: £20,000

Supporting an MA Visual Communication student from the UK, experiencing financial hardship.

Eligibility criteria: Financial hardship

Eligible fee status: UK fee status, full-time

Value: £10,000

Scholarships targeted to students enrolling onto a number of RCA MA programmes to enable students to unlock full potential regardless of their financial circumstances. Preference will be given to students from underrepresented communities.

Eligibility criteria: Financial hardship, Students from under-represented communities

Eligible fee status: UK fee status, full-time

Value: Up to seven full-fee tuition fee scholarships

For: MA Textiles

Eligibility criteria: Home fee status

Value: Full-fee

Supporting students on any MA programme from the UK (Preferably is a Scottish national), experiencing financial hardship.

Eligibility criteria: Financial hardship, Student preferably of Scottish origin

Eligible fee status: UK fee status, full-time

Value: £10,000

For: MA Textiles

Eligibility criteria: Home fee status

Value: £10,000 towards tuition fees

Supporting MA Fashion and MA Textiles students experiencing financial hardship

Eligibility criteria: Financial hardship

Eligible fee status: UK fee status, full-time

Value: Full fee scholarship

The Scholarship supports 21 UK MA, MRes and PhD students every year from across all RCA MA, MRes and PhD disciplines.

Eligibility criteria: 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 Textiles students from the UK, experiencing financial hardship.

Eligibility criteria: Financial hardship

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: Eight tuition fee bursaries of £3,000 each

Supporting School of Design students from the UK from under-represented communities. Preference for those identifying as Black or Black British (Caribbean); Black or Black British (African), or other Black background.

Eligibility criteria: Students with Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage, or mixed Black African and Caribbean diaspora heritage

Eligible fee status: UK fee status

Value: One scholarship valued at £35,000

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.


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

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.

Register your interest with us here
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