Graduate Diploma in
Graduate Diploma Art & Design (Design) Royal College of Art
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 and recruitment events in various countries around the world. In January 2023, opportunities to meet with RCA staff will occur in:
- India (Bangalore, Ahmedabad and Mumbai)
- San Francisco
The Graduate Diploma Art & Design in Design specialism prepares you for Master’s study at the RCA. We focus on developing proficiency in the independent learning methods and practices of art and design, and on introducing you to the role and influence of art and design in the world today.
The programme offers:
- January, May and September start dates
- On-campus, online or dual-learning modes of study
- Progression opportunities to our Master’s programmes.
The programme is interdisciplinary in nature, mirroring the experience of a Master’s study at the RCA, however, on the Graduate Diploma you’ll be invited to select a specialism when you apply from the following areas:
- Fashion & Textiles
- Fine Art
One global community
On-campus and online students study together as one combined, collaborative and diverse community of creative practitioners, regardless of whether they choose online, on-campus or dual-learning modes of study.
The Graduate Diploma is supported by a dedicated team of technicians and local facilitators for online students. All teaching staff are practising artists and designers, as well as experienced educators.
The best route to RCA Master’s study
We aim to make you better informed about the study options available to you, as well as the possible career paths that you might follow beyond graduation.
Gaining a Distinction on the Graduate Diploma guarantees you entry to MA and MRes programmes that reflect their specialism of study on the Graduate Diploma. This is subject to the availability of places. All other students passing the programme will be guaranteed consideration for MA and MRes programmes of their choice.
Entry to programmes is conditional on students meeting postgraduate English-language requirements demonstrated by an additional IELTS test or equivalent.
Modes of study
Learn fully on-campus and benefit from everything our facilities have to offer as well as study in a culturally rich global city.
- Stage 1 (15 weeks on-campus)
- Stage 2 (15 weeks on campus)
Demand is high. Apply early to secure your place.
Like on-campus learning there is a set schedule of UK time zone classes, but with the cost-saving and study/life benefits that come with online learning.
- Stage 1 (15 weeks online)
- Stage 2 (15 weeks online)
We expect online students to participate with a webcam.
Get the best of both on-campus and online study when you combine them together.
- Stage 1 (15 weeks online)
- Stage 2 (15 weeks on campus)
We expect online students to participate with a webcam during the online section of the programme.
Meet the RCA
We host a range on online and on-campus open days as well as recruitment event in cities around the world. These events can include 1-to-1 meets and portfolio advice, informal chats, presentations and sessions with staff, students and alumni.
Check the Check the RCA event webpage for details of upcoming events.
The Graduate Diploma consists of two blocks of 15-week study, with the first block including an introduction to specialist study at the Master’s level in art and design and leading towards further and more in-depth study, practice and portfolio development in the second block.
The first part is a theme-based introduction to the specialist study of art and design, and the various study options available in the field. You’ll also be introduced to the kinds of learning methods that students are likely to encounter in the study of art and design.
The second part of the programme will enable you to focus in more depth on the preparation of a body of work and a portfolio.
Unit 1: Learning 20 credits
This unit runs throughout the programme and is intended to enhance your critical and analytical skills and to support the development of English language skills to the requisite level for Master’s study.
Unit 2: Art & Design Practice 40 credits
This unit introduces you to advanced practices of art and design. You’ll have the opportunity to work around structured project briefs or in self-directed study mode, depending on your prior learning and future course of study. The unit fosters discursive learning and engagement with topics and issues that do not necessarily have right or wrong outcomes.
Unit 3: Independent Art & Design Practice 40 credits
In the second 15-week block, you’ll move to a more independently determined and focused mode of learning. Working from a brief, you will be expected to participate in critiques and exhibit your works in progress. The unit will help you to make self-determined judgements about your practice, display your work and speak about it clearly and cogently.
Unit 4: Portfolio 20 credits
The Portfolio unit runs throughout the programme and culminates in the production of a digital portfolio that you will be able to use to seek admission to further study at the Master’s level. We will support you in selecting materials which fully articulate your abilities and contextual awareness.
The Royal College of Art has been ranked the number 1 university for art & design internationally for the 9th consecutive year, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023 – the largest world-wide survey of academic and industry opinion.
Program Tuition Fee
Scholarships and Funding
The College believes it is vital to provide visible pathways of access to study across our programmes for those suffering financial hardship and for those from under-represented groups.
In 2022, the RCA gave £1m from its own operating surplus to create the Sir Frank Bowling Scholarships to support individuals from underrepresented communities, prioritising Black and African diaspora British applicants and/or including those facing significant financial hardship.
Alongside this, through the support of generous individuals, charitable trusts and foundations and corporate supporters, the RCA is proud to offer a number of named scholarships. Availability of named scholarships is limited and almost all are restricted to certain MA programmes.
The RCA offers a range of scholarships that are open to students with refugee and asylum seeker status. These scholarships cover the full cost of study at the RCA; some scholarships also offer support towards living expenses.
The UK Graduate Diploma Bursaries
Eligible Programmes: Graduate Diplomas
Eligible fee status: Home fee status