About the Programme

Architecture at the RCA sets out to inspire design innovation. The programme expands the possibilities of architecture and its agency in the world by encouraging a speculative, independent and critical ethos among its students. The two-year long programme conceives of architecture as a diverse and complex set of practices that move beyond traditional distinctions and limits in the field. A radical and innovative approach to pedagogy and research, as well as a commitment to an open-minded, experimental studio culture, sets the RCA apart.

For students looking to develop a distinctive and innovative voice in the field and a unique chance to collaborate with future leaders in other art and design disciplines including photography, sculpture, visual communications and animation, the RCA offers an ideal environment.

Teaching in the MA programme revolves around the Architectural Design Studio. Each ADS is understood as a distinctive platform for design research organised around important global challenge and opportunities such as ecology, housing, urbanism, new technologies and making. Complementing the design studios, the programme offers an intensive series of seminars, lectures, workshops and symposia that cultivate new and experimental approaches to the discipline.

The programme culminates in the thesis project and summer show, allowing students an opportunity to present their work to the profession and the general public.

The core of learning is project-based according to a unit system made up of eight architectural design studios (ADS) with a unique set of concerns, methods and critical frameworks. Each ADS has approximately sixteen students with first- and second-year students working alongside each other.

First-year students work on a live project and a studio project within a pedagogical framework established by studio tutors. These projects form the foundation for the technical studies course and fulfil RIBA GC1, GC8 and GC9. The studio is complemented by history & theory and media studies courses. The College-wide CHS course provides a broader social and cultural context related to the design disciplines and fine arts.

Second-year students work on a project-based thesis compromising a design brief and design project. The year culminates with an exhibition of work at the degree show.

MA Entrance Requirements

Candidates for all MA programmes are assessed on their existing qualities as demonstrated in their work and in their interview, as well as on their potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve MA standards overall. The assessment will consider creativity, imagination and innovation evident in the work; ability to articulate the intentions of the work; intellectual engagement in relevant areas; appropriate technical skills; overall interview performance, including the oral use of English.

You should have achieved a high-quality degree in architecture (RIBA Part 1) or an international equivalent degree or higher and should have at least one year’s experience working in a design office.

You will need to demonstrate a commitment to your major discipline and an ability to respond to stimuli from unexpected sources.

Evidence of sensitivity, invention, curiosity and a readiness to engage in a rigorous and demanding two years is essential.


You should submit a digital portfolio via our online applications area of between four to ten projects. Each project should include a title image and up to 6 supporting gallery images. You should provide a description of a maximum of 100 words for each title image and a caption of up to 50 words for each supporting gallery image.

We recommend images between 1024 x 768 pixels or greater in size. All image files must be saved as JPG or PNG format with a maximum file size of 2MB. Video files can be submitted in place of images. MOV, MP4 or M4V formats are accepted with a maximum file size of 80MB. Other video formats can be referenced through a link to a video hosting site such as Vimeo.

When submitting collaborative work, specify this and clearly indicate your role and responsibility.

No actual objects, sketchbooks, physical portfolios or other media should be submitted at the point of application. Submission of any material not listed above will not be accepted. If you have any questions on the portfolio please contact us at architecture@rca.ac.uk

Interview (if invited)

The Programme will contact you if you have been shortlisted and invite you to an interview.

You will be interviewed by up to three members of the academic staff and a student representative.

As you made an online portfolio submission, you should bring to interview a selection of your submission in its physical form, as well as any recent work or work in progress.

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Last updated January 17, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Oct. 2019
2 years
19,000 GBP
Tuition fees in 2018/19 - Overseas: £28,400 per annum (£56,800 total fee); UK/EU: £9,500 per annum (£19,000 total fee); Channel Islands and Isle of Man £14,200 (£28,400 total fee).
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Start Date
Oct. 2019
End Date
Application deadline

Oct. 2019

Application deadline
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