A Note from the Vice-Chancellor

The Royal College of Art is the world’s most influential, wholly postgraduate university institution of art and design – fine art, applied art, design, communications and humanities – offering the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD. It is the most concentrated community of artists, designers and communicators to be found anywhere; a community focused on art in a design environment, and design in an art environment.

We are particularly proud that – driven by a strong, entrepreneurial streak – a remarkable 45% of RCA alumni go into self-employment or run their own business. This contribution to the strength of the UK economy was recognised in the Government's commitment to the new Royal College of Art Battersea campus, creating a flagship, 15,000sqm centre for postgraduate students and entrepreneurs.

The year leading to 2017/18 has been a time of high accolades for the College: the RCA was identified as the world’s number one University of Art and Design in 2015 by QS World University Rankings for the fourth year running; and in the Research Excellence Framework (REF) 2014, it submitted a higher percentage 
of eligible staff than any other specialist art and design university, achieving the highest level of research intensity of any submission.

Proud of its extraordinary roster of former students and its past successes, the RCA is however very much focused on the future: advancing knowledge and exploring new fields of practice in art, design, architecture, fashion, communication, the humanities and the applied arts.

A key tenet of the RCA is that, as well as teaching, our academic staff – renowned artists, designers and writers – also practise and research. World-ranking academics attract the world’s finest MA students, and this year we welcomed talented individuals from some 65 different countries, and increased our pool of MPhil and PhD candidates.

We are a community of 2,000 students supported by nearly 500 staff and over 800 visiting lecturers, spread across four academic Schools and situated across three cultural centres in central London. In addition to our taught programmes, the RCA is a research-intensive environment, with faculty members of international stature working alongside early-career research fellows. This concentration of specialism makes the RCA unique.

At the College’s heart is a firm belief in project-based education, face-to-face teaching and learning and professional orientation. Our mission is to recruit talented students of great variety and complexity, whatever their background, and we are proud of the fact that our students come to us from all over the world, as well as from all over the UK. This commitment to diversity and inclusion makes our ability to give financial support to as many students as possible very important.

To the designer or artist or writer considering whether the RCA is the right place for them, I say this: the RCA gives you the freedom to experiment, to think differently, debate, challenge and practise. The chance to find your voice. We want you to leave with the confidence to follow your own path and pursue your goals with the right set of skills, and we work hard to ensure that happens.

Dr Paul Thompson

"The RCA continues to develop graduates who are confident, smart, networked, future-focused and prepared to take risks in bringing distinctive creative visions into the world, transforming it with contributions whose impacts are felt in culture, society and the well-being of citizens." Naren Barfield

Pro-Rector, Academic