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

The MA Writing programme in the School of Arts & Humanities provides unique opportunities for postgraduate students to develop high-level writing, research and analytical skills in the setting of one of the world’s most dynamic art schools. Combining workshop models of teaching and learning, and ‘live’ projects with leading arts organisations, the MA provides the skills required for a successful career in the arts or a research degree. For 2018/19, we are introducing some exciting new areas of specialisation within the programme.

The programme is committed to the idea that writing – of all kinds – is a creative practice that requires imagination as well as good literary skills and expert knowledge. Students on the MA are presented with many opportunities to develop and apply the skills required by various writing formats from the review and catalogue essay to fiction and other forms of speculation. The unique structure of the programme allows for specialisation and the freedom to explore novel approaches to writing.

The Writing programme combines lectures, specialist writing workshops and ‘crits’ as well as live projects with external partners. Previous partners have included the Royal Opera House, Kettle’s Yard in Cambridge and Turner Contemporary in Margate. Recognising that the media is undergoing considerable change, the MA also offers opportunities to work with professionals working print and online publishing, broadcasting and podcasting. Students on the programme enjoy opportunities to share classes and to work on shared projects with other students across the RCA including our sister programme, the Critical Practice pathway in the Contemporary Art Practice programme in the School of Fine Art.

The Royal College of Art first lauched this programme in 2010 as the MA in Critical Writing in Art & Design. Graduates have published their MA work as books for publishers around the world including MIT Press, China Machine Press, and Zero Books. Others write regularly for the art press (including titles such as Art Monthly, Frieze and Eye Magazine). Some graduates of the programme have gone on to doctoral study at the University of Oxford, the University of Manchester and Goldsmiths. Others work in editorial positions in art and design magazines, or as curators and programmers in galleries and museums and other arts organisations in Europe, China and North America.

Students have a strong track record of producing ‘live’ publications with the support of the programme. These include the Albertopolis Companion produced by the graduating class of 2015 or ARK: Words and Images from the Royal College of Art Magazine 1950–1978, an anthology from 2014. Other live projects include Of and For Turner Contemporary, a series of texts exploring a remarkable building on the Kent coast. Students on the programme are encouraged to publish their writing on a dedicated website during their studies.

In 2018, the programme is primarily located in the RCA's Kensington site in the heart of London's cultural centre.

MA Entrance Requirements

Candidates for MA courses are assessed on their existing skills and interests as demonstrated through prior academic and professional experience 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; ability to articulate; intellectual engagement in relevant areas; appropriate technical skills; overall interview performance, including the oral use of English.

Applications are encouraged from anyone with a good BA degree in a humanities/arts subject (including studio courses in art and design). We have accepted students with a background in other academic fields in the past. Please contact the head of the programme if you would like to talk over your suitability. All applicants need to demonstrate a commitment to writing and a strong interest in contemporary art and design practice.

Applicants are encouraged to submit a sample of writing (published or unpublished) when applying. Prior to the interview, applicants will be asked to write a review of a current exhibition or publication.

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Last updated March 12, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
15 - 24 months
14,500 GBP
Tuition fees 2017/18: UK/EU: £14,500 per annum; Overseas: £34,000 per annum.
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