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History of Design, M.A.

  • Anytime
    Application Deadline
  • 15 months
The V&A/RCA History of Design programme is recognised internationally as a leading centre for postgraduate study in the history of design and material culture. Offered jointly by the RCA and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), we teach and research cultural, social, economic, political and technological history through artefacts and our interactions with them. 


V&A/RCA History of Design embraces history that is public-facing, experimental and committed to scholarly excellence, as befits our location in the public museum and the art school. We see history as practice-based and bring a distinctly global outlook to historical questions, placing local histories in comparative context and tracing global networks through material culture. 

The Programme offers: 

  • methodological and theoretical training in history through material culture, alongside specialist expertise in the history of design, performance and photography 
  • a unique learning environment within RCA and V&A communities of expertise 
  • collections-based teaching and research 
  • an emphasis on engaging, effective communication to diverse audiences
  • opportunities for collaboration within the V&A, the RCA and externally 
  • academic assignments alongside live public projects 
  • exchanges in New York and Paris 

Programme Structure

  • V&A/RCA MA History of Design offers groundbreaking tools and approaches for studying the history and material culture of design, performance and photography in everyday life, across a global geography from the fifteenth century to the present.
  • The MA is jointly offered by two world-leading centres for scholarship and creativity, the RCA and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), and draws on the extensive resources of both institutions and our location in London.
  • The Design &Material Culture Pathway uses artefact analysis - of services, interactions, policies, institutions and legal and technical systems as well as physical objects and spaces - alongside more conventional historical methods to generate new perspectives on large historical questions. 
For more information, please visit programme website.

Detailed Programme Facts

  • Programme intensity Full-time
    • Full-time duration 15 months
  • Credits
    240 alternative credits
  • Languages
    • English
  • Delivery mode
    On Campus

English Language Requirements

You need the following IELTS score:

  • Minimum required score:


    The IELTS – or the International English Language Test System – tests your English-language abilities (writing, listening, speaking, and reading) on a scale of 1.00–9.00. The minimum IELTS score requirement refers to which Overall Band Score you received, which is your combined average score. Read more about IELTS.

    Schedule IELTS

General Requirements

Students should have a good undergraduate degree in an arts or humanities subject. Students with a strong degree in other undergraduate fields will also be considered, if the student can demonstrate their suitability to the study of history of design at application and interview. We encourage the diversity that different academic backgrounds can bring to the programme. Students with a background in art or design practice are also encouraged to apply. We welcome applications from students of all ages, and view both prior academic and professional experience as valuable. 

Tuition Fee

  • International

    34000 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 34000 GBP per year and a duration of 15 months.
  • EU/EEA

    14500 GBP/year
    Tuition Fee
    Based on the original amount of 14500 GBP per year and a duration of 15 months.
We've labeled the tuition fee that applies to you because we think you are from and prefer over other currencies.

Living costs for London

  • 1137 - 2160 GBP/month
    Living Costs

The living costs include the total expenses per month, covering accommodation, public transportation, utilities (electricity, internet), books and groceries.


UK and EU students receive a subsidy from the British Government and pay a reduced fee. To qualify for the home or EU rate of tuition fees you will need to meet certain strict conditions related to your nationality, visa status and residency. 

To find out more about how fee status is assessed, visit the UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA).

Studyportals Tip: Students can search online for independent or external scholarships that can help fund their studies. Check the scholarships to see whether you are eligible to apply. Many scholarships are either merit-based or needs-based.

The Global Study Awards: get funded with up to £10,000 to study abroad

Together with the ISIC Association and British Council IELTS, Studyportals offers you the chance to receive up to £10000 to expand your horizon and study abroad. We want to ultimately encourage you to study abroad in order to experience and explore new countries, cultures and languages.


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