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Coronavirus: Applicant Information

These frequently asked questions (FAQs) will continue to be updated as new information becomes available. We appreciate that this is an uncertain and anxious time for everyone across the RCA community, including future students. This is a fast-changing situation and we anticipate that answers to these questions will change as the situation develops. We will update these FAQs as new information becomes available and we advise you to check back regularly for the latest information.

Health, Self-Isolation, Precautions

We recommend you take advice from the World Health Organization (WHO) and your country’s public health service, on what actions and precautions to take in response to Covid-19.

My Application 

Will the coronavirus outbreak affect my application?

We are doing everything we can to limit any impact coronavirus may have on current applications to study at the RCA. Our admissions staff and colleagues across the whole College are still working hard to process all applications. For further information, go to the applications process page. 

Can I still apply to the RCA for a 2020 start? 

If you would like to complete your application as soon as possible you will still be able to do so through our online application portal. Please be aware that as the Round 2 application deadline has passed, your application will be subject to availability of places following Round 2 decisions. We will update applicants as new information becomes available. 

Applications for Graduate Diploma Art & Design remain open for entry in July 2020.

My current university is or will be closed due to coronavirus and I will be unable to take my exams/ my graduation date might be postponed. What are my options?

We advise you to speak to your university as soon as you are able to determine if or when it will be possible for you to complete your degree and let us know if you may be affected in this way. Please be reassured that we are doing everything we can to limit any impact this has on you beginning your studies with us this year. We will publish more information surrounding our policies as it becomes available.

English Language Requirements

I am interested in studying at the RCA but I do not meet the English language requirements.

We are aware that, due to the Covid-19 global pandemic, a number of approved English language test centres around the world have been closed. Although some test centres are starting now to re-open, we understand that many students are concerned about how they will be able to meet the English language conditions attached to their offer. 

We have been reviewing possible alternative test options and are delighted to confirm that the RCA will now accept the following online English language tests:

IELTS Indicator Test
TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition

We have also added the following test, available to students in China:
TOEFL ITP Plus for China

We are continuing to review online alternatives and will provide information on developments when it becomes available.

In addition, we have extended the deadline for you to provide evidence of having met our English language requirements. Students needing to take the College’s English for Academic Purposes (EAP) pre-sessional course have until 6th July 2020 to meet these entry requirements.

If you submit your  English language test results after 6th July, and so do not partake in the EAP course, you will need to meet the College’s general English language requirements for entry (which are higher than the entry requirements for the EAP course). 

We recommend that you submit your English language test results to the College as early as possible. This will also ensure you have sufficient time if you are making a Tier 4 Student Visa application.

Are Pre-sessional English courses still being offered by the RCA? 

Pre-Sessional English for Academic Purposes courses will be offered online. Four and eight-week options are available.

Starting Your Studies

Will I still be able to start in 2020?

Yes, all students joining the College for the 2020/21 academic year will receive the full RCA experience over their 2-year MA programmes, 15-month MA programmes, and Research Programmes with, where necessary, modifications in the mode and/or sequence of delivery to ensure that UK Government guidelines and safe working can be maintained at all times.  Find out more here.

We are monitoring the situation very carefully and are committed - if it is safe for our students and staff -  to face to face teaching and learning in our studios. However, with the pandemic continuing to have a huge impact on every part of College life, it is anticipated that all learning and teaching for 1st year students for Term 1 (September to December) will be wholly or partially online, and will only involve campus-based learning if it is safe to do so. Find out more here.

Will I be able to defer my place if I cannot enrol due to the Covid-19 situation?

We greatly appreciate that this is an unsettling time and would like to reiterate how much we are looking forward to welcoming students to the College. We are committed to ensuring that students receive a full RCA experience over the duration of their programme and will - when it is safe to do so, following UK Government advice - look forward to face-to-face teaching and learning on our campuses. 

We are not able to offer deferred places. An offer of a place to study cannot be carried over into a subsequent academic year, and should an offer-holder who relinquishes their place wish to study at the RCA in the following or subsequent year(s), they will need to re-apply and to achieve the admissions standards in place at the time.

We have received a record number of applications to study for the coming academic year 2020/21, and we have extremely large waiting lists of suitably qualified candidates hoping to study at the RCA. In fairness to those candidates and applicants, and in calculating our student numbers for the 2020/21 academic year, we regret that we have made the decision not to offer applicants a deferral. If an applicant is unable to take up their place for any reason, we will need to offer it to another candidate. We also anticipate high applications again for the academic year 2021/22, and to be fair to all applicants we will not be offering deferrals. 

Applicants may apply for 2021/22 entry at a later date, and a withdrawal of acceptance for 2020/21 entry will not affect consideration of any future application. We cannot guarantee that any future application will be successful given the large number of applications that we receive.

I need to apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa in order to study at the RCA, but the Visa Application Centre(s) in my country is/are closed. What can I do?

We will continue to monitor the VFS Global website for news on when centres may re-open, and recommend that prospective students do the same. We will issue CAS for incoming Tier 4 visa students three months prior to the start date of their programme; there is no change to that plan at this time. We will update this page, and contact all affected students, if there are any changes.

We are currently reviewing our issuance of CAS for new students and will be updating affected students in the coming weeks on the procedure for applying for a Student Visa. We are aware that the majority of visa application centres are closed, and that normal time scales for CAS issuance will be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. 

We strongly advise that you do not book flights or accommodation in the UK until you have received information from us about CAS processing and have secured a Student Visa.

Who can I contact about my application?

You should continue to contact admissions by email: [email protected]. Please include your applicant ID in the subject line of any email to help the Admissions staff identify your application. 

The RCA's Approach

How is the College responding to the Covid-19 Novel Coronavirus outbreak?

The College continues to closely follow the official guidance from the UK Foreign Office, Public Health England, World Health Organization and the NHS. An internal Covid-19 Coronavirus response group has been meeting regularly to put in place robust plans behind the scenes, should the outbreak reach us at the RCA. 

Across the RCA, College continuity planning is taking place. We are working hard to make sure that we are planning for a range of scenarios and will continue to update the RCA community regularly. 

Like other institutions and organisations around the world, here at the College we are working at pace and in real time; to address issues raised by the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic. Our focus during these unprecedented times continues to be to follow UK Government advice and, with our buildings currently closed, to provide student choice and opportunities for progression. This includes developing and rolling out online learning across all our programmes. 

Where can I get the most up-to-date information?

The College continues to closely follow the official guidance from the UK Foreign Office, Public Health England, World Health Organization and the NHS and is updating the intranet at least daily based on these sources, including FAQs for students, and staff. 

What steps is the College taking to protect current students?

The wellbeing of the RCA community is our primary concern at this time and we are acutely aware of the increasing risk and uncertainty it is bringing to organisations. We are continuing to follow the official guidance from the NHS, Public Health England, World Health Organization and the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. As a result, we have taken a number of actions to minimise the risk to students and staff, including

  • Moving teaching and assessment online where possible. Platforms for submitting coursework and assignments are also available.
  • College buildings have now been closed temporarily and will be re-opened in line with government advice.
  • Students and staff are being kept informed through a variety of communication channels as the situation progresses.