Study at the World's number one ranked art and design university for five consecutive years (2015-2019) in the QS World University Subject Rankings.

About the Programme

With a global urban population of 4 billion and 28 megacities, urban life is experiencing momentous change. New social groups are emerging, populations are ageing, family units are extending and dispersing, work is becoming casualised and whole communities have moved online. At the same time, dangerous new social divides are appearing on the periphery of cities, between different cultures, and now also between different generations.

Many of the models used to explain, design, develop and manage cities have resisted change. More recently however, new possibilities are emerging and their consequences promise to be profound: modern social movements, automated building supply chains, technology platforms, driverless transport and logistics, distributed water and energy infrastructure – all will radically reshape the city's fundamental building blocks.

The MA City Design programme is a 15-month MA aimed at an emerging generation of architects interested in the convergence of new social, technical and spatial innovations, and harnessing their potential to generate alternative forms of urban life. At its core is a belief in the unique capacities of design and the value of propositional forms of thinking. The programme is field-focused, design-led and project-based. It proposes a unique, multi-scalar approach to city design education that unites architectural, technological and scientific research. The programme is also connected to practice in London through an innovative partnership scheme.

Students will learn to negotiate between a complex range of city-making actors and their constituencies. The distinctive studio-based model offers students a rigorous and experimental platform for developing and testing spatial transformation within a broad range of international and local contexts. The programme will introduce students to new technologies of calculation, visualisation and representation as essential components in re-imagining the design and management of cities in the future. Students will be encouraged to cultivate approaches to the practice of city design grounded in existing and alternative city making models.

Alongside establishing a network of colleagues and mentors in the city of London, students have the opportunity to pursue a degree within a world-leading art and design institution, including access to a rich culture of radical and experimental interdisciplinary work at the Royal College of Art. The programme will offer students opportunities to connect with leading figures in City Design, both in London and internationally.

The timetable is designed to encourage participation from candidates that are currently working in practice and looking for an opportunity to pursue an advanced degree in City Design at the Royal College of Art.

MA Entrance Requirements

Graduates from the Royal College of Art become part of a world-leading, international network of creative individuals who continue to shape the culture surrounding us.

You will be assessed on your existing qualities, as demonstrated in both your work and in your interviews, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme. The assessment will consider:

  • Creativity, imagination and innovation evident in your work
  • Your ability to communicate through various media
  • Intellectual engagement in the relevant areas
  • Appropriate technical skills and overall interview performance.

You should have achieved a good undergraduate degree, preferably in Landscape Architecture, Architecture, Urban Design or other related design discipline although other backgrounds will be also be considered under certain circumstances. Evidence of intellectual and professional curiosity and a readiness to engage in a rigorous and demanding period of study is essential.


Design Portfolio is a necessary requirement to enter into the programme if your first degree is in Architecture or a related design discipline. You should submit a digital portfolio via our online applications area of between four to ten completed projects. Each project should include a title image and up to 6 supporting gallery images. You should provide a description of maximum of 100 words for each title image and a caption of up to 50 words for each supporting gallery image.

If your prior degree is in a discipline with no design component, such as the social sciences, geography, urban studies, planning or economics, we will consider the application if prior work is of exceptional merit and students are able to demonstrate their ability work alongside and contribute to multidisciplinary teams. We will look for evidence of critical thinking, innovation and impact in the field when assessing applications from non-design related fields.

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

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 March 12, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
15 months
14,500 GBP
Tuition fees 2017/18: UK/EU: £14,500 per annum; Overseas: £34,000 per annum.
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