The V&A/RCA Programme (MA, MPhil and PhD) is internationally recognised as the leading centre for postgraduate study in the history of design and material culture. Combining ambitious, rigorous and cutting edge scholarly approaches with first-hand understanding of material and digital artefacts, the History of Design programme is ideally suited to prepare students for the increasingly diverse and flexible professional portfolio demanded today.
MA in the History of Design
The MA is a two year full-time programme. It is taught by a dedicated team of academics based in the Research Department of the V&A and the School of Humanities at the RCA. The Programme has an established reputation for pioneering new forms of design historical enquiry in global contexts, from the fifteenth century to the contemporary. The system of seminars, lectures, personal tutorials and collaborative and individual projects provides a unique environment for studying the social, cultural, technological, economic and political contexts of design.
The programme provides unique specialist training in critical artefact-based scholarship. Research and teaching range across the histories of architecture and interiors, fashion, textiles, furniture, product and industrial design, ceramics, metalwork, glass, prints and drawings, digital media, with an equal emphasis on social history through material culture more broadly. It draws upon the latest thinking for interpreting design, including perspectives from gender studies, design research and anthropology, and considers the digital and immaterial alongside more traditional areas of design and material culture research.
Uniquely, students have direct access to the unrivalled collections and expertise of the V&A and to the highly specialised art and design practices of the RCA. Opportunities to work with curators or to contribute to V&A gallery and exhibition projects are open to all students, and students can initiate and participate in interdisciplinary projects with students across the RCA. Research seminars with leading international speakers discuss the latest developments in academic and curatorial research. Study visits in the autumn and spring terms extend cultural references and broaden research horizons.
Our graduates go on to work internationally in universities, museums and galleries, as well as in a host of other related professions such as journalism, media research, design practice and design policy. The MA programme also provides excellent preparation towards PhD research in a variety of arts and humanities fields.
The course welcomes applications from those with little previous experience of design history as well as from students with related undergraduate degrees.
The History of Design programme encourages applications for research degrees. We offer MPhil and PhD by thesis. Potential applicants should email the programme administrator, to arrange to discuss their possible subject area with an appropriate course tutor. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
V&A/RCA History of Design Open Day Tuesday 12 January
Further details about the Open Day and details on how to book a place can be found here.
Online applications are now open for 2016/17 entry.
Online applications for 2016/17 entry to the V&A/RCA MA in History of Design Programme are now open.
V&A/RCA Scholarship Awards 2016-17
The following scholarships and bursaries are available for the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme for 2016-17.
The Friends of the V&A Scholarship
The Friends of the V&A scholarship is offered to a student applying from the UK or EU who intends to work in a museum after graduating from the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme. The Scholarship covers fees for the two years of the MA and also includes a maintenance grant of up to £3000 per year.
The Oliver Ford Trust Scholarship
The Oliver Ford Trust Scholarship is offered to a student applying from the UK or EU who intends to undertake research into the design of the domestic interior. The Scholarship covers fees for the two years of the MA and also includes a maintenance grant of up to £3000 per year.
Royal College of Art Bursaries
The RCA currently has a unique College Bursary scheme that provides over £3million worth of support to our students annually; we are hopeful this will continue for 2016 entry, but we will not have final confirmation until April 2016. We also have a number of pre-entry awards that are available to incoming students, including a number of fully inclusive scholarships that cover full tuition fees and living costs, such as the Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholarship. More information can be found here.
The scholarships and awards are given on a competitive basis, judged at interview. Students should indicate their interest in and suitability for the Awards on their application form. The priority deadline for application for 2016-2017 is 13 January 2016 and interviews to be held from January 2016. For more information contact the programme administrator on: email@example.com
Further details on the programme, entry requirements, College fees and funding can be found at: www.rca.ac.uk/admissions
The College is designated as an eligible institution for a guaranteed student loan under the new Direct Loan Programme.
Please note these scholarships and awards are only available to MA students. Further information on research degrees in the History of Design and RCA Humanities, please visit www.rca.ac.uk or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Research Seminars and Blogs
For more details about the V&A/RCA History of Design Research Seminar Series download the poster. You can find out more about our students’ research at: www.rca.ac.uk/showcase/show-2015/schoolofhumanities/historyofdesign/
The latest news about the V&A/RCA Programme in History of Design can be found on the V&A Blog.
UNMAKING THINGS: A Design History Studio, is a creative digital forum for the discussion of design, history of design and material culture.
The site is founded, edited and run by students on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme.