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Communication, Show RCA 2019


Challenging and transforming

Key details

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

School or Centre

Encouraging distinctive voices in communication practice.

Still accepting applications for 2022 entry. See the Key Dates webpage for round 4 details.

This programme is subject to validation

At the heart of your experience with us in Visual Communication is the shared commitment to ‘conversational practice’. By this we mean a practical and discursive approach to making. We see communication as essentially, a conversation to form bridges, to connect people and to exchange ideas.

You will be joining our community of critical thinkers and makers, leading the way in social practices. We have a long history of approaching the making of work through the collaborative, cooperative and compassionate ethos of listening, respecting and (un)learning. You will be introduced to a rich dialogic learning experience, where the conversation takes place between us, you, your peers and your audiences. Together, through a discursive inquiry and exchange, we will explore what it means to both speak and listen.

The dynamic nature of communication technologies continues to redefine not only how we make and consume information, but also how we connect to each other. We welcome students to our programme who will challenge the order of things, consider the multiplicity of perspectives and embrace complexity. Situated at the forefront of critical experimentation, you will seek to forge fresh connections between criticality, radical thinking and making. By harnessing your creative and critical abilities, you will explore new vocabularies for our contemporary times, speculate on new realities and collaborate across disciplinary boundaries to create transformative movements that invite activism & change.

Whilst you may come to Visual Communication from one of the familiar disciplines, such as Graphic Design, Illustration, you might also have a more experimental and expanded approach or come from a less conventional background. In visual communication, you will develop the critical and conceptual tools to enable communication and connections across disciplinary boundaries. Our Interdisciplinary environment will offer you a comprehensive understanding drawn from diverse geographies, rich cultural contexts and multiple intellectual and creative fields of study, enabling you to adapt to new subject areas and to situate your work in environments beyond the studio.

Explore further

Visit 2022.rca.ac.uk to view graduate work by our students, 2021.rca.ac.uk to view work from the class of 2021.

Catch the replays from our November 2021 virtual open day.



The School of Communication is currently located on our White City site.

View all facilities

Our mixed-discipline studios encourage cross-disciplinary thought, awareness and action. Studio workspace is provided for each student. In addition, you have access to craft and technical workshop areas and excellent technical support in the College. These include well-equipped computer studios for print and digital moving-image production, sound editing, a letterpress and book-binding workshop.

  • White City studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

    White City studios (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • School of Communication studio

    School of Communication studio (photo: Richard Haughton)

  • Computer room, White City

    Computer room, White City

More details on what you'll study.

Find out what you'll cover in this programme.

What you'll cover

This programme is subject to validation

You will become well practiced in interpreting ideas, events, complex data, knowledge and experiences, translating these into artefacts, narratives or connections that might manifest across or between the physical, digital or the virtual. Through language, storytelling, tools & materiality you will learn to elicit new knowledge and in turn create new insights. Your role as a communicator of such experiences is to form a bridge; to create forms of communication that can connect people and connect ideas. Referring to these exchanges as ‘conversations’ expands the possibilities for social accountability and creative consciousness.

As a student on the programme you are given the creative agency to explore the ideas that drive your practice. Recent work has been as diverse as: the body in digital space, gentrification of communities, immigration rights, intangible cultural heritage, feminist and LGBTQ+ histories, media archaeology, the living archive, material labour, the privatisation of public space, protest, racial justice, visions of utopia and more.

Our open and inclusive vision of the practice of communication produces work that is every bit as divergent in form as in content, embracing multidisciplinary approaches including sound, type-design,, performance, publishing, moving image, workshops, fieldwork, documentary, radio, virtual reality, comics, ceramics, happenings, drawing, walking and writing.

We invite you to join a conversation based on our shared belief in humankind and the power of art and design to empower and transform.

This programme is subject to validation

The programme is delivered across three terms and includes a combination of programme, School and College units.

Term 1

In term 1, you will study the Expanded Fields unit. By unsettling existing models of knowledge and production you will begin to expand and transform your working methods. You will develop a critical framework through a thematic lens in relation to your own lived experience, motivations, and practice.

Across Terms 1 and 2, you will participate in the College-wide unit. This unit aims to support students to meet the challenges of a complex, uncertain and changing world by bringing them together to work collaboratively on a series of themed projects informed by expertise within and beyond the College. These projects will challenge you to use your intellect and imagination to address key cultural, social, environmental and economic challenges. In doing so, you will develop and reflect on the abilities required to translate knowledge into action, and help demonstrate the contribution that the creative arts can make to our understanding and experience of the world.

Term 2

In term 2, you'll study the Serious Play unit. Through technical workshops, discussions, lectures, critical-making and play you will explore the relationship between theory and practice. You will be encouraged to explore hybrid ways of making borrowing from other disciplines to forge fresh connections. By the end of this unit you will Dismantle, Disrupt & Reconstruct an experimental attitude to making and thinking, re-framing what you do and why you do it.

The Exchange and Engage School-wide unit allows you to work alongside students within and across the School.

Term 3

In term 3, you'll study the Situated Practice unit. Here we ask you to focus on locating and establishing yourself and your work in the external contexts in which you seek to engage and connect your practice to emerging critical discourses. You will enact the critical frameworks, methods and tools you have developed through the programme within a self-directed research project, supported by tutorials and student-led forums. We are not isolated; we are all connected. What will you add to this conversation? How will you disseminate your work? by the end of this unit you will have a Situated Practice that will have been tested though your Independent Research Project.


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 will normally have completed a first-degree undergraduate qualification in a related subject or be able to evidence equivalent professional experience in related fields.

All candidates are required to submit an online portfolio of work to be assessed by the programme’s senior staff team. Candidates should create an online portfolio that best reflects their abilities, experience and interests. The portfolio must follow College guidelines for uploading work such as using the College application site and giving a brief description for each piece of work.

Candidates are selected on the basis of a body of work that demonstrates an advanced understanding of the subject and sufficient technical skill to realise intentions, evidence of commitment to the subject, intellectual curiosity, open-mindedness, the ability to collaborate, to engage in debate and respond to criticism, and the ability to engage in sustained and consistent study.

We also want enthusiasm for your practice, 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

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) 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 2022 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

* 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 2022

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
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