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 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 academic year 2017-18 a new focus on the history and material culture of performance will be launched. 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.
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 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
Call for applications now open
Online applications for 2017/18 entry to the History of Design programme are now open.
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.
V&A/RCA Scholarship Awards
The following scholarships have previously been awarded to a student on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA. New scholarships are advertised on the V&A and RCA websites when they become available. For more information, contact the programme administrator: email@example.com
The Friends of the V&A Scholarship
The Friends of the V&A Scholarship has previously been awarded to students applying from the UK or EU who intend to work in a museum after graduating from the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme. The scholarship covered fees for the two years of the MA and also included a maintenance grant of up to £3000 per year.
The Oliver Ford Trust Scholarship
The Oliver Ford Trust Scholarship has previously been awarded to a student applying from the UK or EU who intends to undertake research into the design of the domestic interior. The scholarship covered fees for the two years of the MA and also included a maintenance grant of up to £3000 per year.
For more information contact the programme administrator: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.