Our research degrees span the full range of contemporary design and media environments. Research is a rich, central and essential part of the School of Communication. Our MPhil and PhD degrees are grounded firmly in research theory and methods, while maintaining and encouraging a high degree of creativity and experimentation. We welcome research projects that explore topical issues through both practice and theory are particularly encouraged. We look for critical engagement, originality and proven skills in both practice and writing, and encourage questioning and experimental research approaches. The School is focused on broad themes which place communication at the centre of transformational systems and practices, collective commons and experiential modes. The ethos of the School is to foster social, cooperative, pluralistic and inclusive research approaches. 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. 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.
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.
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.
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. Portfolio requirements Your portfolio is a showcase of your work as an artist or designer and can be made up of images, videos or writing examples. Your portfolio helps us to better understand your application and allows you to show evidence of your ability and motivation to undertake a given programme. Generally, we’re looking for you to demonstrate your: Creativity, imagination and innovation Ability to articulate the intentions of the work Intellectual engagement in areas relevant to the work Technical skills appropriate to the work Potential to benefit from the programme Each programme is looking for different things in a portfolio. Each Head of Programme provides specific advice on portfolio requirements in the online application system. We advise you to consider these requirements carefully before submitting your application.
English language requirements
|IELTS (Academic)||7||PhD 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
Fees and funding
|Northern Ireland||£9750||Year 1|