Please upgrade your browser

For the best experience, you should upgrade your browser. Visit our accessibility page to view a list of supported browsers along with links to download the latest version.

MA Programme Description


First Year 

In their first year of study students, undertake three units of study: Unit 1a, Unit 1b and CHS. These Units are each worth 40 credits and assessed through a combination of continuous and summative assessment methods.

To support each student progress through Unit 1A and Unit 1B they are assigned a personal tutor who supervises academic progress throughout their year in consultation with the wider tutoring team. Each student will receive five one-to-one tutorials with their personal tutor throughout the year. In addition to this, each term students will have the opportunity to join crit groups and have the ability to request tutorials with the wider Programme team and with tutors across the College.

The first term focuses on engendering social cohesiveness, respect and collaboration among the year group, and a sharing of expertise and experience. Within the first few weeks of the Programme students will have been given a studio space and become acquainted with the Programme staff. ​At the beginning of the second term first-year students take part in the Work-in-progress show. It i not expected for the work to be resolved, however this is an opportunity to take risks in how they engage in a public environment. Following this, students are encouraged to take part in seminars, talks, walks and gallery/museum visits reinforcing the teaching from the first term.

Second Year

During the second year of the Programme students undertake three units of study: Unit 2A (40 credits), Unit 2B (60 Credits) and the SoAH School Unit (20 Credits). These units are assessed through a combination of continuous and summative assessment methods.

In the first term, students will continue to work with a personal tutor who helps direct theirprogress through Unit 2A. articipating in the first term activities (seminars, panel discussions, tutorials), with an eye towards pushing the development of their studio practice. This is supported by tutorials and crits from Programme staff and visiting lecturers.

In the second and third terms, while experimentation continues to be encouraged, work also becomes much more concentrated on production for the final show as part of the assessment of Unit 2B – the independent research project.This consists of the undertaking of a major project that should demonstrate how the student is able to research, develop and realise an artwork to Master’s level. The works should have a clear direction and resolution, which is thoroughly researched through the student’s own initiative.

Alongside their participation in Programme-based units, students will also participate in the SoAH School unit, which, through study groups, lectures, symposia, crits and tutorials, will support students in discussing and evolving their work against a broader frame of reference.

Critical & Historical Studies

The RCA provides a unique environment for postgraduate art and design students to reflect upon their own practice, and to engage with students from their own and other disciplines. The role of Critical & Historical Studies (CHS) is to support the studio programmes in enabling these critical engagements to take place. The courses offered by CHS to first-year, studio-based MA students propose an intellectual framework within which they can begin to establish a coherent relationship between theory and practice.

In the autumn and spring terms there are a series of College-wide seminars and lectures. The autumn term series will relate to your particular discipline, whereas the spring term series will be more broad-based and cross-disciplinary in nature.

In the spring and summer terms, a CHS tutor will give you individual tutorials to support the development of a dissertation which is submitted at the end of the summer term. The dissertation should be between 6,000–10,000 words in length – this is a major piece of work and you will not be able to submit for the Final Examination until you have passed this assessment.

For more information see Critical & Historical Studies College-wide Programme.

This programme description is taken from the 2018/19 Programme Specifications. While we try to ensure that all Programme information is correct, some things may be subject to change and/or outside of our control. 

RCA Ranked World’s Top Art & Design University for Fifth Year

In February, the RCA was named the world’s leading art and design university for the fifth consecutive year.  

The RCA leads the table of 200 of the world’s top universities for the study of art and design in the 2019 QS World University Subject Rankings, ahead of much larger institutions around the globe.


240 credits
Two-year programme
Full-time study

"First year students are encouraged to help and engage with the degree show build. As a spatial discipline, the creation of exhibition space is core to students’ understanding of sculpture."