V&A/RCA History of Design postgraduate programme

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

MA in the History of Design

The MA is a fifteen months full-time programme, taught by a dedicated team of academics based in the Research Department of the V&A and the School of Humanities at the Royal College of Art. The programme has an established reputation for pioneering new forms of design historical enquiry in global contexts, from the 15th century to the contemporary. The programme 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. Research and teaching range across the histories of architecture and interiors, fashion, textiles, furniture, product and industrial design, ceramics, metalwork, glass, prints, drawings, and digital media. From the commencement of the academic year 2017-18, a new pathway on the history and material culture of performance will be launched. This scholar-curator led course will offer V&A/RCA students direct access to the unrivalled National Collection of Performing Arts held at the V&A, supplemented by lectures from leading practitioners, with which to explore the creative structures of performance.

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, and international exchange programmes provide dissertation research opportunities with the BARD Graduate Centre in New York and University Paris Diderot.

Our graduates go on to work internationally in universities, museums, galleries, and a host of other related professions, as well as undertaking further PhD research. The course welcomes applications from those with little previous experience of design history as well as from students with related undergraduate degrees.



Open days

Open days are held at the Royal College of Art between October and March of each academic year, to enable applicants to visit the College and meet staff and students.

Anyone wishing to attend must register in advance to confirm attendance. For further details and to book a place, please contact:

History of Design administrator, Royal College of Art.
Tel: 0207 5904 482
Email: hod@rca.ac.uk

Call for applications now open

Online applications for 2017/18 entry to the History of Design programme are now open.

Research 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 and discuss their possible subject area with an appropriate course tutor.

Email: humanities-research@rca.ac.uk

V&A/RCA Scholarship Awards

V&A/RCA Scholarship Awards

The following scholarships are available for the academic year 2017-2018 to a student on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA.

The Friends of the V&A Scholarship

The Scholarship covers fees (£14,500) for the 15 months of the MA and includes a maintenance grant of £4,000. Students applying from the UK or EU, who hope to work in a public-facing institution, such as a museum or similar, after graduating from the MA are eligible.

The Dr Sylvia Lennie England Scholarship

The Scholarship covers fees (£14,500) for the 15 months of the MA. Students applying from the UK or EU, who are interested in focussing on the Renaissance or Early Modern period are eligible.

Your application for the scholarship should consist of a 200-word statement, outlining your appropriateness for the scholarship and your relevant research interests. Please send your statement to: hod@rca.ac.uk mentioning in the subject 'Application to V&A Scholarship for MA History of Design 2017'

Deadline for applications: Friday 31st March

Shortlisted candidates will be interviewed in the week commencing April 24th.

Selected Student Projects and News

Selected Student Projects and News

The latest news about the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme can be found on the V&A Blog.

For more details about the V&A/RCA History of Design research seminar series download the programme.