The RCA has consistently produced world leaders in the fields of creative endeavour – acting as a launchpad for the careers of major international figures whose names are synonymous with their craft: Henry Moore OM, Dame Barbara Hepworth, Bridget Riley, David Hockney OM, Sir Peter Blake, Sir Ridley Scott, Dame Zandra Rhodes, Sir Frank Bowling, Rose Wylie RA OBE, Ian Dury, Sir James Dyson OM, Tracey Emin RA CBE, Chris Ofili CBE, Sir Anthony Finkelstein, Dame Magdalene Odundo, Sir David Adjaye, Erdem Moralioglu MBE and Thomas Heatherwick RDI, CBE.
This roster of talent only continues to grow – with the RCA nurturing the next generation of creative thinkers, makers and disruptors. As the world’s leading art and design university for eight years running (QS Rankings), students come to the RCA to realise their potential – graduating with their skills honed, their horizons expanded and their talents elevated. 90% of our alumni feel that the RCA has had a positive impact on their career, citing that this is down to the reputation of the College, the creative skills fostered here and access to a network of contacts – with two-thirds of graduates since 2003 saying they use the skills learnt at the RCA every day in their current role (RCA Alumni Survey 2019).
Our alumni shape the world – whether founding their own studios and brands, pushing the boundaries of possibility through their start-ups or taking on impressive roles with global companies across a wide range of disciplines. Whatever your creative career aspirations – the RCA can help you realise them.
Graduate studios and brands
From household names to next-generation talent, many of our graduates forge their own path, founding their own studios and brands.
Consumer goods and industrial design
The RCA has a long history of encouraging consumer brands and industrial design to grow, from household names like Dyson, founded by RCA alumnus Sir James Dyson, to more recently established brands working across interiors, tech and household goods like Goodwin-Hartshorn, Rothschild & Bickers, Emma J Shipley and Omlet.
You’ll find design studios founded and co-founded by RCA alumni around the world: Superflux, Berg, TheGreenEyl, Studio NAND, Takram Design Engineering, Lucy Hardcastle Studio, Robofold, Haberdashery London and Vitamin London are all leaders in their field and operate from global cities like London, Berlin and Tokyo.
Fashion at the RCA has a proven track record of encouraging pioneers, dating back to alumni such as Ossie Clark and Zandra Rhodes. More recently, innovators like Bianca Saunders, Sinéad O'Dwyer and winner of the 2022 Woolmark Prize, Saul Nash, are expanding the remit of the industry. Internationally renowned brands like Erdem, Julien Macdonald, Anabela Chan Joaillerie, Holly Fulton, J Smith Esquire and Philip Treacy also have their roots in study at the RCA.
If you want to found your own company, the expertise and guidance to support you to do so is available through InnovationRCA – the College’s centre for student and graduate enterprise and entrepreneurship. Housed in our state-of-the-art new Battersea campus, InnovationRCA supports our community to transform compelling ideas into successful businesses – providing incubation, intellectual property and commercialisation support.
So far, InnovationRCA has supported over 100 graduates to launch 78 start-ups with £124 million raised in investor funds. Start-ups founded by RCA graduates supported by InnovationRCA include: Knit Regen, founded by PhD Womenswear Design candidate Laura Salisbury, which creates wearable tech to aid rehabilitation in stroke sufferers; Olombria, founded by MRes Architecture graduate Tashia Tucker, an early stage agricultural technology company enhancing pollination rates and crop yields by working with wild pollinators; and Pentaform Computers, founded by Samuel Wangsaputra (MA Information Experience Design, 2019), a modular, accessible and affordable computer housed within a keyboard.
RCA graduates have gone on to work for a range of global companies at the cutting edge of their industry. A number of our alumni are taking on leadership roles – shaping our built environment, how we navigate the world, the art and culture that defines us and so much more.
AHMM (Allford Hall Monaghan Morris), Amanda Levete Architects, AOC, Arup Associates, Droog Design, DSDHA, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Foster + Partners, Hawkins/Brown, Heatherwick Studio, Herzog & de Meuron, Jestico + Whiles, MAKE, Stufish and WilkinsonEyre Architects.
Aston Martin, Bentley, Ford, Geely, Hyundai-Kia, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lotus, Makkina, Mazda Europe, McLaren, Nissan Design Europe, Polestar, Seymour Powell, Tesla, Think and Volkswagen Group Advanced Design.
BBC, British Council, Design Council, English Heritage, National Trust, Royal Institute of British Architects and Royal Society of Arts.
Design consultancies and agencies
Colefax & Fowler, DCA Design International, EY Seren, Fitch, Habitat, IDEO, PA Consultants, PDD Group, SCP, The Alloy, Tomato and Vitra.
Alberta Ferretti, All Saints, Boden, Burberry, COS, Calvin Klein, Chloe, DKNY, Diane Von Furstenberg, Gap, Gucci, H&M, H&M, Joseph, Louis Vuitton, Marc Jacobs, Maria Cooper at Orla Keily, Marni, Paul Smith, Rama Jewellery, Rodier, Sonia Rykiel, Sportmax, Stella McCartney, St Laurent, Valentino and Zara Home.
Film and animation studios
Aardman Animations, Animade, Beakus, Bermuda Shorts, Blink Productions, FOLK///projects, Hodgson Films, Hornet USA, Model Robot, Nexus Productions, Not to Scale, PDI/DreamWorks, Passion Pictures, Picasso Pictures, Ragdoll Productions, Sherbet, Shynola, Stink, Studio AKA, Tandem Films, World of Arthur Cox.
Museums and galleries
The National Gallery, Bowes Museum, Design Museum, Fitzwilliam Museum, Geffrye Museum, Sainsbury Centre for Visual Arts, Victoria and Albert Museum; J Paul Getty Museum (Los Angeles), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), Frick Collection (New York), Clark Art Institute (Williamstown), Massachusetts, Design Exchange (Toronto), Queen Victoria Museum and Art Gallery (Tasmania), Queen’s Museum (New York) and the V&A.
Beyond art and design
As well as working across the architecture, arts, communication and design sectors, our graduates are also found applying their design thinking and creative leadership skills in industries such as:
- Healthcare and medicine, including within the NHS and Wellcome Trust
- Consulting, marketing and professional services, including roles with global leaders like McKinsey and Saatchi and Saatchi
- R&D and science
- Government, education and public sectors
- Technology brands including social media innovators SNAP and LinkedIn
- Consumer goods, including with leading tech brands such as Bang and Olufsen, Logitech and Samsung
- Banking and finance, including JP Morgan
Whether winning cultural prizes or exhibiting around the world, our alumni are recognised internationally for their contributions to art, design, innovation and industry.
Turner Prize winners include Elizabeth Price (MA Textiles, 1991) in 2012; 2015 winners Assemble (a collective including RCA alumni Anthony Engi Meacock, Giles Smith and Paloma Strelitz, as well as RCA Architecture PhD candidate Jane Hall), 2017 winner Lubaina Himid (MA Cultural History, 1984) and 2019 collective winners Oscar Murillo (MA Painting, 2012) and Helen Cammock (MA Photography, 2011). Other alumni shortlisted in recent years include Evan Ifekoya (MA Contemporary Art Practice) as a member of the collective Black Obsidian Sound System (B.O.S.S) in 2021, and Sin Wai Kin (MA Print, 2017) in 2022.
Galleries representing alumni in recent years include Alison Jacques, Gagosian, Hales, Ibid Projects, Maureen Paley, Modern Art, Pippy Houldsworth, Sadie Coles HQ, Stephen Friedman Gallery, The Approach, Victoria Miro, Vilma Gold and Wilkinson’s.
Film and animation
Our alumni can boast a number of Oscar and BAFTA winners since the year 2000 – among them the director Sir Ridley Scott (ARCA Diploma Graphic Design, 1961), costume designer Jacqueline Durran (MA History of Design, 1996) and documentary filmmaker Asif Kapadia (MA Film & TV Direction, 1997). More recently, João Gonzalez (MA Animation, 2020) won the Cannes Film Festival International Critics’ Week Jury Prize 2022 for his RCA2020 film Ice Merchants.
Literature and publishing
Jeremy Atherton Lin (MA Writing, 2015) was awarded the 2021 National Book Critics Circle Award for Autobiography for Gay Bar, while Douglas Stewart (MA Fashion, 2000) won the 2020 Booker Prize with Shuggie Bain. Our graduates also regularly write for publications such as Blueprint, Cabinet, Design Week, Eye, FAD Magazine, Form, Frieze, i-D, Icon, Metropolis, Sight and Sound, The Face,The Guardian and The White Review.
There are a number of ways the RCA can help support you to develop your career. Advice and practical workshops on all aspects of business and creative careers are built into the curriculum of all our MA degrees, and upon graduating many alumni continue to be supported by a business aftercare scheme. Our Student Support also offers a careers advice service with dedicated advisors available for one-to-one sessions. Current students are able to find out more about these services on Moodle.
We also run a college-wide professional development service, FuelRCA, which helps curious, creative people make smart choices about their professional lives. Over the academic year, the FuelRCA programme of events support students to develop their professional skills, knowledge and networks, and prepare for life after graduation. Current students can find the FuelRCA programme on the FuelRCA intranet page or visit the FuelRCA Twitter page for the latest news and developments.
Find your programme
Feeling inspired? We offer a range of Graduate Diploma, MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD degree programmes across the fields of architecture, art, communication and design. Use our Programme finder to discover the degree that will help you take your practice and career to the next level.