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

Global Innovation Design (GID) is a joint Master's programme between the Royal College of Art and Imperial College London. It is a unique, transnational Master’s design initiative that brings together three major centres of design, culture, enterprise and industry: Europe, North America and Asia.

GID is a multidisciplinary, multicultural and multinational design programme awarding both an MA from the Royal College of Art and an MSc from Imperial College London to graduates. GID offers an engaging global curriculum and provides powerful cultural experiences crafted to nurture innovators and designers who are prepared to take on the changing needs of the enterprise in the twenty-first century.

GID international partners include Pratt Institute (New York), Keio University (Tokyo), Nanyang Technological University (Singapore) and Tsinghua University (Beijing). Each of these distinctive institutions brings unique expertise and complementary approaches to design, engineering, business and cultural sensitivity, within the context of internationally oriented design innovation.

The GID vision is to foster a transformative postgraduate experience that is unparalleled in the world, one that cultivates internationally oriented innovation and design leaders who can tackle complex problems and deliver positive social, environmental, economic and cultural change.

The GID ethos is to cultivate activated people, designers and leaders who are capable of making a change in the world. Designers on the Global Innovation Design Master's programme will be expected to generate creative directions that other designers and innovators will follow.

The programme is full time and runs over a period of two calendar years. GID Master's candidates on the joint RCA/Imperial College programme begin their course in London for two terms developing their visions and a body of work which will be thematically and regionally developed throughout the next year and a half.

They have the opportunity to study on the New York/Tokyo route or the Beijing/Singapore route during their first and second years. They then return to London for the final two terms of their graduation year. Graduates from the programme are expected to be central to innovation leadership in the twenty-first century.

Philosophically, GID challenges designers to ask who they are and what is most important to them; as authors of the material culture they are asked what kind of world do they wish to create, and what contributions will they make. Global Innovation Designers create transformational culture. At the centre of the programme is the knowledge that transformational culture is engendered by objects and experiences that are the embodiment of the robustly beautiful and the exquisitely functional combined.

The GID Master's programme offers

  • a double Master's: MA Royal College of Art and MSc Imperial College London – students are fully enrolled at both institutions
  • the programme includes study at world-renowned institutions: route one, Keio University in Tokyo and the Pratt Institute in New York, and route 2, Tsinghua University in Beijing and Nanyang Technical University in Singapore
  • the first two terms of the first year are in London, where designers participate in the GID London Core
  • a diverse and international mix of students
  • teaching staff who are highly experienced practitioners and work professionally in their field
  • potential enterprise and commercialisation support through the InnovationRCA incubator
  • leadership skills for design-related enterprises operating in international environments
  • high-level graduate destinations: RCA and Imperial alumni work in international corporations, global consultancies as well as new self-started commercial enterprises

London – Tokyo – New York

Study on the Tokyo/New York route gives access to Keio University, well known for physical computing and social design interventions, as well as Pratt Institute, renowned for a tradition of excellence in industrial design.

London – Beijing – Singapore

Study on the Beijing/Singapore route gives access to Tsinghua University, China's number one institution with world-class design labs and studios, as well as Nanyang Technical University's School of Art, Design, and Media whose cutting-edge programmes in new media and cultural and social design innovation situate it as a leader in emerging Asian and Global design.

At Tsinghua University, London-based students will benefit from studying at the top University in China, gaining first-hand experience of the culture of China’s and designing with both new and traditional materials in the context of emerging Asian design.

At Nanyang Technical University, London-based students will be exposed to a rich and varied Pan-Asian community. NTU offers world-class communication and video production instruction with cultural understanding at the core. NTU is expert in the practice of “value transmigration”, how to translate a culturally specific artefact into a viable product-service-system in a new cultural context.

An overview of the formally taught elements of the curriculum is as follows:

GID1 London Core: A two-term foundation in leading-edge research-based design theory and methodology, mechatronics, form-giving, design research and anthropological methods, innovation, communication and creation of a vision.

GID1 Critical and Historical Studies (CHS) Dissertation Programme: A key element of the GID Masters programme is the chance for designers to write a significant piece of written work on a reflective theoretical subject area related to their studies.

GID1 Partner Residency: A one-term residency with either Keio University in Tokyo or Tsinghua University in Beijing during the final term of the first academic year.

GID2 Partner Residency: A one-term residency with either Pratt Institute in New York or Nanyang Technological University in Singapore during the first term of the second academic year.

GID2 Professional Development: A two-term period directed toward refinement of the body of work and professional development. During the final two terms, designers return to London to focus leadership, outreach and business development to cultivate their professional design practice. The course culminates in Final Examination and the Final Show.

MA 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 the oral use of English.

The Global Innovation Design programme accepts a multidisciplinary range of applicants – we want diversity of expertise, culture and experience. We want creative talent, ability, intelligence and curiosity. The GID Master's students will develop creative and international business leadership skills through their international collaborations and projects, as well as through targeted coursework. We are interested in designers from all the design domains, engineers and technologists, and we also welcome applicants from other diverse fields such as business, social science and the arts. Engineers, designers, scientists, technologist, artists, social scientists, business people: if you have intelligence, curiosity, a propensity for networking, a passion and drive to improve the world then GID is interested in you.


Applicants need to have a degree at 2:1 level or higher (or the equivalent). The subject(s) of that first degree can be any subject, however the individual needs to show aptitude or great potential in the area of design or technology-led innovation. In exceptional circumstances, applicants without this degree qualification will be considered (for example, excellent professional experience or outstanding creative or technical abilities).

Candidates whose first language is not English (including those who attended an English-speaking university for their undergraduate studies) must also have achieved English Language proficiency requirements of or equivalent to an IELTS (UKVI) score of 7 with a 6.5 in the Test of Written English (TWE), or Pearson: 68 overall with 62 in the TWE. From 06 April 2015, all Tier 4 visa applicants must supply an IELTS UKVI Academic test result. If taking a test in the UK, applicants may choose to take either an IELTS UKVI test or Trinity College test (Integrated Skills in English - Level C1). You may also want to view the Home Office information.

The GID programme starts earlier than other RCA MA programmes. There is a five-week induction in London in July, and then the Pratt semester starts at the end of August.

Note: requirements 1 and 2 above differ from the normal RCA-only MA degree entrance requirements. As Global Innovation Design is hosted jointly by Imperial College London, please check the Imperial College London website to ensure you meet their entrance requirements.

Entrance Examination

Digital Portfolio

All candidates are required to submit a digital portfolio of work to be assessed by the programme team. The portfolio should show:

  • the excellence of your current expertise, study area or professional activity
  • evidence of your interest or ability in the fields of innovation, technology, design or engineering.
  • any work or activity relevant to international understanding or collaboration.
  • samples of your creative abilities or relevant personal interests.

The portfolio could include projects and exercises from previous degree courses; where relevant, examples of professional work; extracts from personal sketchbooks; self-generated projects; evidence of an ability to make in 3D; as well as examples of creative work in any other areas.

Program taught in:

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Last updated March 12, 2019
This course is Campus based
Start Date
Sep 2019
2 years
57,980 GBP
Overseas: New Students – £28,400 in 2017/18, £30,750 in 2018/19 (£59,150 total fee); Home and EU (subsidised): New Students – £9,500 in 2017/18, £12,800 in 2018/19 (£22,300 total fee). See RCA website for details of supplementary fees and ICL fee inf
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