The V&A/RCA Programme 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 objects. The History of Design programme is ideally suited to prepare students for the increasingly diverse and flexible professional portfolio that is demanded today.
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 Humanities School of 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 present day. The system of seminar-based classes, personal tutorials and supervisions provides a unique environment for the study of the aesthetic, social, cultural, technological, economic and political contexts of design.
The programme specialises in object-focused scholarship ranging across the histories of architecture and interior design, fashion and textiles, furniture and product design, ceramics, metalwork, glass, prints, drawings and digital media and social histories of material culture more broadly. It draws upon the latest thinking for interpreting design, including cultural and gender studies, as well as considering the increasingly important digital and immaterial world.
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. A series of research seminars with speakers of international standing discuss the latest developments in academic and curatorial research. Study visits to European destinations in the autumn and spring terms extend cultural references and broaden research horizons.
Graduates go on to work internationally in universities, museums and galleries, as well as in a host of other related professions such as curating, journalism, media research and design policy. The MA programme also provides an excellent preparation towards PhD research in a variety of humanities fields.
The course welcomes applications from those with little previous experience of design history as well as students with related undergraduate degrees to become subject experts in a variety of genres of design.
Online applications are now open for 2015/16 entry. Further details can be found here.
V&A/RCA Scholarship Awards 2015-16
The following scholarships and awards are available for the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme for 2015-2016
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.
Postgraduate Support Scheme
Jointly funded by the Royal College of Art and HEFCE, this new scheme will provide 204 bursaries worth £10,000 each. You will also be able to apply for a College Bursary, which if awarded would result in an annual tuition fee of only £1,500.
This is a one-off scheme that will only run for 2015 programme entry.
For further details of eligibility criteria and how to apply, see here.
Royal College of Art Bursaries
The Royal College of Art provides bursaries for many UK and EU students of up to £3000 per year to cover student fees. Contact the Royal College of Art for criteria of eligibility.
Robert H. Smith Renaissance Sculpture in Context Bursary
The award is offered to a student applying from the UK or EU who intends to undertake research in any aspect of Renaissance sculpture in its broad cultural and social context. The award offers a contribution towards the fees of £3000 per year for two years.
The Worshipful Company of Arts Scholars/Mark and Sian Dalrymple Award for Historical Manufacture and Production in the Decorative Arts
This award is focused on inspiring people to come to the V&A/RCA MA who may have previously thought it beyond their means. The award is offered to a United Kingdom national applying in 2015 to the V&A/RCA History of Design MA Programme who intends to undertake research in the history of the decorative arts (pre-1900) from the perspective of manufacture and production. The award aims at developing a new generation of historians of design and the decorative arts able to bring together practice, history and theory and to provide a bridge between the worlds of manufacture and production, academia, curation, conservation and trade.
The award holder will, during the course of the MA, develop new skills in the understanding of historical making processes, combining them with the conventional tools of academic research. To qualify for the award, in addition to financial need and to the standard RCA entry requirements, MA applicants will have to demonstrate a practical background and experience in manufacture or restoration/conservation in the decorative arts -- including, but not limited to, ceramics and glass, plasterwork, metalwork, textiles and dress, furniture and woodwork. They also have to show a commitment to focus one essay and the research towards the second-year dissertation on an aspect of the decorative arts and their histories (pre-1900) from the perspective of manufacture, production or restoration/conservation.
The award offers a contribution of 3,000 GBP a year towards the fees for the two years of the MA. This award is made in addition to any College Bursary award. Online applications for 2015/16 entry to the V&A/RCA MA in History of Design Programme are now open. Please note that the priority application deadline does not apply to this award. It is advisable to mention in the application the reasons why you wish to be considered for this award.
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 2015-2016 is 16 January 2015 and interviews to be held in February and March 2015. For more information contact the programme administrator on: firstname.lastname@example.org
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 email@example.com
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.