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MA, MRes and Graduate Diploma Application Process

Applications for 2019/20 entry are now open.

Visit our RCA Online Applications portal to apply.

We encourage applicants to apply as soon as they are ready to submit their application and portfolio, as Programmes will be reviewing early applications during the autumn term.

There is no deadline for applications to RCA Programmes. However, applications are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, and if you delay your application, your preferred Programme may be full for the year, and your application may be rejected on that basis. 

We will publish the details on this site of all Programmes that are full as soon as the decision to close admissions for the year has been confirmed.

Please note that your application includes both the application form and the portfolio; applications are not considered as complete until both are submitted and they should both be submitted on the same date. 

Due to substantial increase in applications we are no longer accepting applications for the following Programmes for a September 2019 start. New applications are welcome but will be considered for a September 2020 start. If places become available for a 2019 start, successful applicants will be contacted:

MA Architecture | MA Ceramics & Glass | MA City Design | MA Contemporary Art Practice | MA Design Products | MA Digital Direction |  MA Environmental Architecture | MA Fashion | MRes Healthcare & Design | MA Jewellery & Metal | MA / MSc Innovation Design Engineering | MA Interior Design | MA Painting | MA Photography | MA Print | MA Sculpture  | MA Service Design | MA Textiles | MA Visual Communication | MPhil/PhD Arts & Humanities 

Online Applications

All applications are to be submitted via the RCA Online Applications website. 

Application Process

1. Check you are eligible

Please ensure that you fulfil the particular entrance requirements of the Programme before applying – see MA Entrance Requirements for details.

2. Check you meet the English language requirements

You will be expected to demonstrate that you have a reasonable knowledge of the English language.

Graduate Diploma candidates who do not speak English as their first language will be required to provide evidence that they have achieved an overall IELTS score of 5.5 with a minimum 5.5 across each area.

MA and MRes candidates who do not speak English as their first language will be required to provide evidence that they have achieved one of the following:  

  • An IELTS grade 6.5 with a 6.0 in the test of written English (TWE)
  • A Pearson Academic (PTE) score of 64 overall with 54 in the TWE

Or the equivalent in a test acceptable to the College. For further information please see the College’s Admissions Policy.

Applicants for the MA/MSc in Innovation Design Engineering require English language tests results equivalent to 6.5 overall with no less than 6 in all four elements.

Applicants for the MA/MSc in Global Innovation Design ONLY are required to have English Language proficiency requirements of or equivalent to an IELTS score of 7 with a 6.5 in the TWE.

Please note that tests must be no older than two years.

Although your English may improve dramatically once here – thinking, listening, speaking and reading English everyday – it is important that you are able to participate fully from the start of the course. Those students who develop these abilities late in the Programme may be disadvantaged. If your English is not fluent you should consider delaying your application to the College until your language ability has been developed to a higher level. 

The College also offers an eight-week EAP Pre-Sessional Course runs from July to September every year  to equip students with the required level of English language and academic skills to participate fully in their MA or Research Programme. The eight-week course is for students who have not reached the required IELTS level before they start their Programme: IELTS 6.5 overall, with 6.0 in the TWE (Test of Written English), or equivalent. Entry level for the eight-week Pre-sessional Course is IELTS (Academic) 6.0 overall with minimum 5.5–6.0 in the writing or 6.5 overall with 5.5 in the writing, or equivalent recognised by the College.

Students who need a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK should note that if they are offered a place at the RCA, it is likely they will be required to take an external test as a condition of their offer in order to meet the Home Office's English Language requirements. For more information, please see English Language Requirements.

3. Select a programme

Please note that is possible to apply for more than one Programme. You will need to register with a different username for both applications (you can use the same contact email address). The applications are to be treated individually and you will need to submit two separate portfolios.

4. Complete and submit your application

Go to Online Applications to start your application. The application website will open in a new window, so that you can see this guidance while you are completing it. You will be able to save your work and retrieve it later, so you do not have to complete it all in one go. Once you have registered with the applications system, you will be given an Application Reference Number. This number should be quoted in all further correspondence and on any papers that you wish to submit separately.

You will need to provide the following:

  • Personal and Contact Details
    Your name, address, country of origin etc.

  • Previous Education Details and Previous Experience
    Details should be entered in the online form and a copy of your degree or diploma (if you have graduated) should be uploaded. All candidates with overseas undergraduate degrees must also enclose a full transcript of their first degree course covering each year of their studies and stating subjects taken and marks obtained. The offer of a place to a candidate who is undertaking a degree at the time of application will be dependent upon the candidate producing proof of having fulfilled the College’s criteria for admission. Transcripts may be sent separately to the Admissions Office and must be clearly marked with your name, course and Application Reference Number. Tier 4 students MUST inform us about any periods of study in the UK that were six months or longer.

  • Disability or Learning Difference
    The RCA welcomes you if you have a physical disability or learning difference. You are required to present a portfolio or other evidence of creative work on a level with other candidates, but the entry requirements may be varied. The Academic Board for Concessions and Discipline (ABCD) can make judgements about the extent to which qualifications or experience gained elsewhere may be accepted in partial fulfilment of its requirements for a given award. You are advised to visit the College in advance of your application to ensure that the study environment will suit your needs or can be reasonably adapted to do so. The assessment of a disabled applicant’s needs is coordinated by the Student Adviser, and you are encouraged to make contact to arrange a visit and discuss any concerns with Student Support over the telephone +44 (0)20 7590 4140 or via email.

  • A statement outlining why you have chosen a particular course and what you propose to gain from your studies
    This is your chance to explain why you want to study at the RCA and why you have chosen the particular course that you want to join.

  • Academic Referee Contact Details
    When you make an online application, a request for a reference will be automatically emailed to your referee. Please make sure that you provide your referee’s full contact details when you make your application.

  • Application Fee
    Please note that there is no application fee in 2019/20.

Any queries about the application process should be addressed to:

Royal College of Art
Kensington Gore
London SW7 2EU

+44 (0)20 7590 4444

5. Submit your digital portfolio

Please see top of page for closing dates for receipt of portfolios by individual Programmes. For details about the Entrance Examination and portfolio requirements see MA Entrance Requirements, MRes Entrance Requirements or Graduate Diploma Entrance Requirements.

6. Assessment

The first part of the Entrance Examination consists of a review of the application and, for the majority of courses, a portfolio of work. If you have not been successful at assessment stage, an email notifying you of this decision will be sent out.

7. Interview

The second part of the Entrance Examination consists of an interview. If you are selected you will be invited to a formal interview at the College with the appropriate admissions board and, for some courses, practical tests.

8. Results letter

The results letters will be sent to those students who have attended an interview.

Students who are accepted to the College will be required to pay a non-refundable deposit in order to secure their place, which will be offset against the 2019/20 tuition fees.


+44 (0)20 7590 4444

Student Support
+44 (0)20 7590 4140