|Master of Arts (MA)
|History of Design (V&A/RCA)
A unique learning environment. Committed to practice-based, public-facing history.
The V&A/RCA MA History of Design draws on the exceptional resources and national and international networks of two world-leading centres of excellence for scholarship and creativity, the RCA and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A). With a base at the RCA and dedicated programme rooms and library at the V&A, since its foundation in 1983 this pioneering programme has earned a world-wide reputation as the leading MA programme in the field. Our research-led teaching and experiential methods inspire and train future leaders in the field.
We see the history of design as interdisciplinary and future-facing. We offer ground-breaking tools and approaches for studying the history and material culture of design in everyday life, across a global geography from c. 1400 to the present. Our research and teaching ranges from the early modern to the contemporary, with particular expertise in the UK/Europe, North America and Asia, and in transnational and global connections. Our programme is strongly committed to inclusivity, decoloniality and social and environmental engagement.
We combine scholarly excellence with risk-taking to forge histories of design and material culture that are public-facing, and experimental, as befits our location in the public museum and the art school. We use artefact analysis – of physical objects, digital matter, and spaces as well as services, interactions, policies, institutions and legal and technical systems – to reshape historical narratives and ask ambitious and relevant questions. We draw on our strong and distinctive track record of employing a global outlook, whether this means placing local histories in comparative context or tracing global networks through material culture.
Please note all applications must be submitted by 12 noon on the given deadline.
Students develop advanced knowledge, skills and approaches from the perspective of design history. Teaching is organised to support students in fostering their own self-directed intellectual journey and professional development and identity. The syllabus incorporates unique opportunities for active interactions, learning experiences and tangible outcomes across the Arts & Humanities as taught and experienced at the RCA and the V&A. In addition to more conventional historical methods, our students produce innovative understandings of the cultural, societal and economic impacts of design through engagements and exchanges with emerging practitioners from across the RCA and leading museum professionals within the V&A.
The V&A/RCA History of Design MA is located primarily in Kensington, in RCA Kensington and the V&A, with teaching on other RCA campuses.
Students on the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme have access to a dedicated library in the V&A as well as shared student spaces at the RCA.
To provide prospective students with opportunities to find out about the RCA experience and programmes we run a number of on-campus and online open days as well as events in various countries around the world. You can find out about upcoming events or watch replays of past open days on the RCA website.