MA in Painting

Royal College of Art

Program Description

MA in Painting

Royal College of Art

MA in Painting

Paint is a fluid material, and ideas surrounding what painting is, has been and could be are fluid and continually changing. With each new year group the dynamic of the studios and the conversations around painting shift and broaden in their agendas and processes. A walk through the building here in Battersea is a journey through all the possibilities of thinking and making, artists working through fleeting successes, hideous but essential wrong moves and hard-won moments of elation.

The Painting programme is a world leader in research and practice, with a commitment to broadening the understanding of our discipline in all its forms. Through the many learning and teaching experiences we offer, our students and staff rigorously, critically and supportively engage in personal tutorials, group seminars and presentations. These discussions and critiques take place physically in the Painting studios, across the College, in galleries and other partner institutions, and during visits to major exhibitions both in this country and abroad. On graduation a selection of our students are awarded studio residences, which the College supports through our mentoring scheme.

Our students are here to reflect upon and play out what kind of artists they want to be, what their personal agendas are, and this becomes a sustainable and meaningful practice on graduation.


The Painting programme invites applications from the broadest range of practitioners. With each cohort of students we enjoy a diverse group of people from many different countries, backgrounds and experiences, all of whom have taken very individual routes to be together for an intense and rewarding two-year journey.

We select our future students during applications and interviews on the strength of their work, looking for attributes that are a continual focus of the programme. That is to say, work that points towards its future potential, work being driven by a reflective and critical agenda, painting as an active process of re-appraisal and an intense exploration of the possibilities of painting.

All our energy and supportive networks then support each of our students as they immerse themselves in realising their own ambitions and what is vital to them. This period of self-reflection and exploration is enriched through the lectures and seminars that support each student’s dissertation during their first year, and is accelerated as students actively support one another.

Historical, cultural and critical experiences contextualise and expand upon the studio practice, and play a major role in artist presentations during our teaching placement scheme in the second year of the MA. Our research culture continues to grow, attracting practising artists to the College to develop their ideas through our MPhil and PhD programmes, with a substantial statement exhibition as they move towards completion.

All staff, including the course administrator, technicians, our regular staff, staff across the College, and visiting lecturers, work together and give their time, effort and experience to support students to work through these challenging two years. This extends across the College, with Painting students working with technicians and academics in Printmaking, the Sculpture foundry, Ceramics & Glass, Textiles, RapidformRCA, and Critical Writing in Art & Design.

Beyond the RCA, Painting students are supported by many eminent institutions through our teaching placement scheme, and are continually making connections with the leading galleries, curators and critics at the forefront of contemporary art. In recent years students have exhibited at or collaborated with the Arensky Chamber Orchestra, at Cadogan Hall, Pump House Gallery, the A Foundation at the Rochelle School, the ICA, Whitechapel Gallery, Moscow Young Artists Biennale and the Blyth Gallery at Imperial College.

During the two years there are also opportunities for exchanges and residencies with leading international institutions, such as Hunter College in New York, Rhode Island School of Art and Design, The Paris Studios at the Cité des Arts, Cove Park in Scotland, the Burren College of Art in Ireland, and recent study trips include Venice, Madrid and Berlin.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom London, England
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