MA in History of Design

Royal College of Art

Program Description

MA in History of Design

Royal College of Art

MA in History of Design

The RCA/V&A History of Design programme is internationally recognised as the leading centre for the postgraduate study of the history of design. We offer the opportunity to study design and material culture in all its aspects, from the early fifteenth century to the present day, across global geographies.

Our two-year, full-time MA programme is shared by two world-class centres of scholarship and creative excellence, the RCA and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). We provide a unique environment for the study of the aesthetic, social, cultural, technological, economic and political contexts for design through themes such as skill and craftsmanship, trade and exchange, marketing and consumption, style and identity.

Our students go on to work in universities and colleges worldwide as academic researchers and teachers; others work as curators in museums, galleries and specialist collections and as writers, journalists, television researchers, consultants and policy makers.

The programme offers:

  • a pioneering centre for the study of design history at postgraduate level
  • three specialist pathways: Renaissance, Asian and Modern
  • world-class scholarship, taught by leading academics and curators
  • research access to the unrivalled collections and expertise of the V&A
  • an international network of academic partners, including the Bard Graduate Center, New York
  • a unique learning environment, with dedicated student space at both the RCA and V&A
  • a network of distinguished alumni working in universities, museums and design organisations worldwide
  • a history of research excellence, attracting funding from bodies such as the Getty Center, the Pasold Fund, the British Academy, the Wellcome Trust, AHRC, ESRC and the European Scientific Fund.

Entrance Requirements

Candidates for all MA courses 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 oral use of English.

Students should have a good first degree in an arts or humanities subject. Students with a background in art or design practice are also encouraged to apply. We welcome applications from students of all ages, and view both prior academic and professional experience as valuable.

Applicants for the MA programme should outline their interest in studying one of the programme specialisms: Renaissance, Asian or Modern).

Where appropriate, previous publications or unpublished written material may also be submitted. Places are offered following an interview.

This school offers programs in:
  • English
Duration & Price
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Start date
Aug. 2017
2 years
Full time
Start date Aug. 2017
United Kingdom London, England
Application deadline Request Info
End date Request Info
Duration 2 years
Price Request Info