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Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art or RCA is a public research university in London, in the United Kingdom. It offers postgraduate degrees in art and design to students from over 60 countries.



The Royal College of Art started life in 1837 as the Government School of Design, located in Somerset House in the Strand. Following the Great Exhibition of 1851, this relatively small-scale operation was radically transformed to accommodate art as well as design, leading the institution to be rechristened the National Art Training School at its new home in South Kensington.


The Royal College of Art (RCA) is the only entirely postgraduate institution of university status devoted to research and knowledge exchange, teaching and practice in art, design, communication and humanities.


Research at the RCA is undertaken across the range of art and design disciplines of the six Schools: Architecture, Communication, Design, Fine Art, Humanities and Material. Academic staff and research students contribute to the research culture of individual programmes and Schools, pioneering research that realises the particular insights that art and design can offer. In addition, four major research themes provide a trans- and interdisciplinary framework: Cultures of Curating; Design, Innovation and Society; Dialogues of Form and Surface; and Image and Language.


Career Workshops - Whatever your creative discipline, our careers experts will help you decide what roles to apply for and how to improve your chances of getting them!

Global Student Satisfaction Awards 2019

GSSA 2019

The Global Student Satisfaction Awards empower students across the globe to determine the best universities of 2019. By rating institutions on a scale from 1 to 5, on multiple studies-related questions, we found the top educators in the world.

Learn more about the Global Student Satisfaction Awards


Student services

Visa and immigration advice, assistance with extending students visas, information on staying in the UK after studies as well accessing healthcare and other aspects of life in the UK as an international student.

Housing services


  • It is quite common for a group of students (usually three or more) to rent a house together. Usually each person has their own room and the lounge, kitchen and bathroom are shared.
  • Flats are more commonly rented between two or three students. Conditions are similar to a house, but a flat is smaller. It might be part of a large house divided into five or six flats, or a block of purpose-built flats.
Studio Flats
  • A studio is basically a one-bedroom flat. It is a large all-purpose room, with a separate kitchen and bathroom (usually small). It is suitable for one person or at most, a couple. It is an expensive option for a single student.

Library services

The RCA Library’s extensive collection of material (access via the Library’s online catalogue) includes over 70,000 books on art and design and other complementary subjects, an expanding e-book collection, featuring critical and theoretical titles in the arts, humanities and social sciences subjects, a wide range of periodicals, and a collection of feature films and off-air TV recordings.

ICT services

Students and staff at the College are offered a wide variety of technology services, including:

  • Consultancy
  • Online Software Training
  • Digital Print
  • Directory
  • Noticeboards and Intranet
  • Email and Messaging
  • Equipment and Software Purchase

Medical services

NHS Entitlement

If you are in the UK studying a full-time course lasting six months or more you will be entitled to access healthcare from the National Health Service (NHS). Most NHS service are free (for example consultations with a Doctor and emergency treatment), however you will be required to pay prescription costs and costs for any non-urgent treatment or operations you may need.

Student Life

Campus life

The Royal College of Art is split across two Central London sites, Kensington and Battersea. See below to find out which buildings are on which campus and the programmes that are run in each building.

  • Kensington Campus
  • Battersea Campus

Sports facilities

The Student's Union organises Escape, the RCA's society for everything Sport and Adventure. Want to get fit, find a sport, or just get out more? This is your escape route...

Escape will organise anything from running in Hyde Park, squash and football, to climbing, canoeing and adventure weekends away. If you can think of a sport, Escape will try it! Events are publicised via College emails and the poster boards around College buildings.

The Students' Union also organises a very informal football match every Wednesday in Hyde Park. No booking required; just turn up.

Students from Global Innovation Design and Innovation Design Engineering – both joint courses with Imperial College London – have created prototypes and concepts exploring technologies and equipment to enhance disabled winter sport.

Student clubs


  • Chaplains and Religious Representatives
The Chaplaincy offers faith-based welfare and pastoral support.
  • Counselling and Occupational Health Services
It provides free consultation and time limited counselling to all students.
  • Disability Support
Find information about funding for disabled students.
  • Financial Support

Find ideas about funding sources and how best to manage your income – from money management and debt advice, to information about funding applications and claiming welfare benefits. 

  • Housing Support
  • International Support
Immigration advice and pre-arrival information, housing advice and details about funding and finances.
  • Sports & Outdoors
  • Students' Union
The SU is here to represent, enrich and entertain.


Ranked as the world’s number one university of art and design in the 2015 and 2016 QS World University Rankings, the College has an august history in art and design education, numerous eminent graduates and a remarkable record of graduate employment. HEFCE recognises the small, specialist institution status of the College through its ‘exceptional funding’ stream. Truly a leader in its field, its excellence in teaching and research has been consistently recognised as being of the highest standing. The Research Excellence Framework 2014 results cemented the RCA's position as the UK’s leading university of art and design, with its research gaining the most 4* ratings.

Student Reviews

It a must be place to have opportunities.
Anonymous rated 5 out of 5 stars

I loved my time at RCA , the tutors and the colleague are very supportive and pushing to learn and grow within the right atmosphere and find the right place for yourself.

Should [you] do a masters?
Anonymous rated 4 out of 5 stars

It’s an amazing faculty with academic from all over the world. It’s a real investment, academically and socially. The school encourages interdisciplinary methods of research and unconventional methods to create a multifaceted learning and educational experience.

London, England, United Kingdom