November 26, 2015

V&A/RCA MA in History of Design accepting applications for autumn 2016 entry

Royal College of Art
V&A/RCA History of Design facilities, V&A Museum. Photo: Richard Haughton/RCA.

The Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art MA in History of Design is accepting applications for autumn 2016 entry. The two-year, full-time MA programme in London provides groundbreaking tools and approaches for studying design, architecture, craft and material culture in everyday life, across a global geography from the year 1400 to the present. The MA is jointly offered by the Royal College of Art (RCA), and is ranked #1 in the world for art and design by the QS World University Rankings and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the world’s leading museum for art and design.

MA teaching, projects and independent research take full advantage of the V&A and RCA partnership. At the V&A, students have access to the Museum’s collections, including objects in store, for research, and are part of the V&A Research Department community. Students may draw on curators’ expertise, and have opportunities to contribute to upcoming exhibitions and other Museum projects. Many of our graduates continue on to pathmaking careers in design, craft and architecture curating, shaping the agenda for collecting and curating at institutions like the Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum, the Center for Craft, Creativity and Design, and the V&A and M+, the new museum for visual culture in Hong Kong.

At the RCA, students benefit from rich programming in the School of Humanities (featured in Art & Education’s School Watch) and participate in and initiate cross-College projects with colleagues in other cutting-edge programmes, including Innovation Design Engineering, Textiles and Information Experience Design. Student-initiated and -run platforms such as Unmaking Things, an online experimental studio for design history practice, allow students to prototype new forms of academic research and writing, and to network with postgraduate design history students internationally. Research-based teaching puts students at the cutting-edge of design history research and provides opportunities to participate in external projects with partners in the UK, Europe, the U.S. and Asia.

From 2015/16, the programme recognises the importance of collaborations and projects as a form of experimental research practice and professional development. Students create a professional practice portfolio alongside taught seminars and workshops and independent research (two major essays in the first year, and a 20,000–25,000-word dissertation in the second year).

Specialist areas for teaching and research include product and interaction design, fashion and textiles, architecture, science and technology, the material culture of politics and the everyday, making/craft, practice-based history, curating as research practice, and global history through material culture. Tutors’ research and teaching expertise ranges from the early modern to the contemporary, with a focus on global transactions and their local contexts in Europe, the Americas and Asia, and on curating as a research practice alongside more conventional academic modes of working. Students work closely with tutors in small seminars and individual tutorials.

In addition to curating, many of our graduates continue on to PhDs and teach and research in universities worldwide. Others work as writers, journalists and researchers and in consulting, design management and policy.

V&A/RCA MA in History of Design students can benefit from a number of specific scholarships.

V&A/RCA History of Design open day: January 12, 2016
Find out more:
Please contact the programme to arrange a conversation with an appropriate tutor if you are unable to attend the open day.

School of Humanities programme contacts
Critical & Historical Studies: [email protected]
Critical Writing in Art & Design: [email protected]
Curating Contemporary Art: [email protected]
History of Design: [email protected]
Humanities Research: [email protected]

For further information on all School of Humanities programmes, please visit or contact [email protected].

To apply:
Candidates can be interviewed by Skype.

US applicants please note that the College is designated as an eligible institution for a Guaranteed Student Loan under the Direct Loan Program.

The Royal College of Art ranks at #1 for art & design in the QS World University Rankings.


V&A/RCA MA in History of Design accepting applications for autumn 2016 at Royal College of Art

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