MA in History of Design
The V&A/RCA MA in the History of Design is a programme offering three 2-year Master's degrees jointly run in a partnership between the Research department of the Victoria and Albert Museum and the School of Humanities at the Royal College of Art. The MA degree has three specialisms:
- Asian Design History 1400 to the present
- Design and Material Culture 1650 to the present
- Renaissance Decorative Arts and Culture 1400–1650
Based in the world's leading museum of decorative arts and Britain's only postgraduate university specialising in art and design, the course introduces students to the skills of object based analysis and the context of design practice.
Within the V&A, the course forms part of the Research department. Students are based in a specially designed suite of course rooms and can take advantage of the collections of the V&A which provide a highly stimulating context for object study on the course. Our students also enjoy privileged access to the rich holdings of books and manuscripts in the National Art Library at the V&A. The RCA connects students with the latest developments in design culture.
All specialisms draw from the facilities of the museum and college, and from the expertise of respective curatorial and teaching staff. A series of research seminars with speakers of international standing discusses 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.
UNMAKING THINGS: A Design History Studio, is a new and 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 course.
You can download a PDF of the latest issue of the V&A/RCA Course in the History of Design Bulletin, containing student essays, details on the Degree Recipients, staff research outcomes and alumni news.
Asian Design History 1400 to the present
This course offers an exceptional opportunity to study the world of Asian design and material culture at an advanced level, taking into account the local cultures of China, Japan, Korea, India, Southeast Asia and the Middle East, the connections among these regions, as well as their relationships to Britain, Europe and the Americas. Objects in the world-renowned Asian and European collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum provide a remarkable opportunity for direct study.
The course combines a rich taught programme with considerable opportunities for original research. Students are introduced to a range of approaches to the subject and develop considerable research, writing and analytical skills. All classes are presented in small-group, seminar format.
Design and material culture 1650 to the present
This course, in existence for over twenty years, draws upon the latest thinking for interpreting design, including cultural and gender studies, the research tools of social and economic history, as well as new methodologies for the study of everyday life and material culture.
Our graduates teach in universities and art schools around the world, curate collections of design and decorative arts, and work as journalists, editors and producers in the media.
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.
Themes addressed include the designed object in the context of the museum, material culture studies, fashion history and theory, craft and design criticism, and the history of taste.
Renaissance Decorative Arts and Culture 1400–1650
This course offers a unique opportunity to pursue postgraduate study in one of the world's outstanding collections of Renaissance art and design. It draws on the latest research in Renaissance studies to foster innovative approaches to the study of Renaissance objects. Italy provides a natural focus, but the course also addresses the Renaissance in Northern Europe. Tuition is built around the V&A's vast Renaissance collections, and students have direct contact with museum objects through seminars, handling sessions and store visits.
Students on the Renaissance course undertake individually tailored work placements in the V&A, which provide practical experience of working in a professional museum environment. Our graduates now work as curators, lecturers and journalists in Britain, Europe and North America.
The Renaissance course welcomes applications from candidates with a good humanities degree. Further information about the course can be obtained from the Royal College of Art website.
Scholarships and Bursaries
ScholarshipsThe Programme administers various scholarships. Applicants wishing to be considered for any of the following awards should indicate their interest on their application forms.
The V&A Global Fashion History Scholarship
The V&A Global Fashion History Scholarship is offered to an Overseas student who intends to undertake research in any cross-cultural aspect of fashion history. The Scholarship covers Overseas fees (£ 26,900) for the two years of the MA.
The V&A Fashion History Scholarship
The V&A Fashion History Scholarship is offered to a student applying from the UK or EU who intends to undertake research in any aspect of fashion history. The Scholarship covers fees (£ 9,000) for the two years of the MA.
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 (£ 9,000) for the two years of the MA and also includes a maintenance grant of up to £3,000 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 an aspect of the design of the domestic interior. The Scholarship covers fees (£ 9,000) for the two years of the MA and also includes a maintenance grant of up to £3,000 per year.
The Sylvia Lennie England Award (Renaissance and Early Modern Specialism only)
Students applying to the Renaissance and Early Modern Specialism from the UK or the EU are eligible for the Sylvia Lennie England Award. The award is a maintenance grant of up to £3000 per year for the two years of the MA.
The 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.
In addition to the above, we administer various bursaries. Students on the History of Design course from England, Wales and Northern Ireland and from other European Union countries are eligible for the student bursary scheme administered by the Royal College of Art. For more details visit the RCA History of Design website or contact the course administrator at: email@example.com
All 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. Interviews start in February.
For further details on the History of Design Programme contact:
Tel: +44 (0)20 7942 2574
Fax: +44 (0)20 7942 2592