Royal College of Art

Degree level: Postgraduate

Arts & Humanities MPhil/PhD (Research)

Course options

There are other course options available which may have a different vacancy status or entry requirements – view the full list of options

Make sure you check on the university, college or conservatoire website for any updates about course changes as a result of COVID-19.

Course summary

The School provides expert supervision across the spectrum of art and writing practice, art and design history and theory, curating and criticism. We welcome proposals for theoretical and practice-led projects, industrial collaborations and technologically focused research. Our research interests are wide-ranging and reflect the expertise of our staff, focusing on arts, humanities and material practices, their scholarship and dissemination. The School’s distinctive research culture encompasses a broad range of activities from highly individuated scholarly and creative enquiries to projects that concern public policy and evaluation, collections and archival research, material and technical explorations as well as more speculative arts practice-focused projects. Beyond your individual supervision, you’ll be able to participate in research groups, where staff and students cluster around an idea or issue. These change annually and for 2017/18 were Absurdity, Disorder, Documents, Entanglement, Fiction and Politics, whilst for 2018/19 they were Collaboration, Documents, Entanglement, Environment, Me and (Re)Enactment. In 2019/20, they are Archive, Correspondence, Entanglement and Public(s). Research takes place within an environment that is ambitious to generate new methods and insights. We thrive on interaction across the broad areas of fine and applied arts and the humanities, through School-wide lectures, workshops and tutorials delivered by key contemporary artists, writers, curators and thinkers, many of whom form part of our permanent staff base. The broad base of expertise offered by the School means we can support research interests across a large range of disciplines; moving image and sound, painting, performance, photography, printmaking and sculpture as well as jewellery, metal, ceramics, glass, curating, critical and theoretical writing and design history. The School embraces its cross-disciplinary perspective and celebrates the deployment of diverse and original methods of research and production. Programme details PhD: 3-4 years (full time), 6-7 years (part time) MPhil: 2-3 years (full time), 4-6 years (part time) About the RCA The Royal College of Art, is an internationally renowned art and design university, providing students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world. A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in the heart of London, the RCA is a high performing institution, a radical traditionalist in a fast paced world. The RCA's approach is founded on the premise that art, design creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today's global challenges. In March 2021 the RCA was named the world’s leading art and design university for the seventh consecutive year in the QS World University subject rankings.

Course details

Modules

At the RCA, research students undertake training both at a cross-College level and within their Schools, offering rich and robust preparation and learning opportunities for their research degree progression. Many of these also offer opportunities to build a portfolio of experience for future careers. First year doctoral students attend compulsory training courses in a range of research methods and methodologies in the first term of study. You’ll attend Doctoral Training Weeks in September, February and July. These are opportunities to participate in the broader research community at the RCA, but also to undertake timely training to support research progression. These intensive weeks include a range of professional development seminars, training and advice in writing, getting published, achieving impact, entering the academic job market and more, and opportunities for you to develop and present your research to your peers and staff. We are committed to ensuring that you are well equipped, not only to complete your studies but also to develop your future careers.

Assessment method

Research students have Annual Progress Reviews, which they must pass in order to progress into the next year of study. There is a formal Confirmation Exam that takes place midway through the period of study to ascertain your readiness for PhD submission; if you who do not meet the requirements at this stage then you’ll usually be recommended to submit for MPhil examination.


Entry requirements

The programme welcomes applications from candidates from across the world and of all ages, including those with academic and professional backgrounds. Applications are considered in terms of quality of proposal, quality of practice (where appropriate), readiness to undertake a research degree at this level and supervisory capacity.


English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)7PhD candidates will need the equivalent of an IELTS Academic score of 7.0 with a 7.0 in the Test of Written English (TWE).

If you need a Tier 4 visa to study at the RCA, you will also need to meet the Home Office’s minimum requirements for entry clearance.

More information about English language requirements

https://www.rca.ac.uk/studying-at-the-rca/apply/entrance-requirements/english-language-requirements/


Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £9750 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9750 Year 1
Scotland £9750 Year 1
Wales £9750 Year 1
International £29000 Year 1

Additional fee information

Visit the programme page on the RCA website for details of fees for each year of this programme. The RCA receives a subsidy from the UK Government for UK, Irish, Channel Islands and Isle of Man and some EU student (with settled status), which enables us to charge a reduced fee. These students are referred to as having ‘Home’ fee status. If you hold any other citizenship, you are referred to as having ‘Overseas and EU’ fee status, which includes those EU nationals who do not have settled status in the UK.
Arts & Humanities MPhil/PhD at Royal College of Art - UCAS