University profile

Royal College of Art

2019/20 edition

About Royal College of Art

The World’s Number One University for Art and Design.

Located in the heart of London, the Royal College of Art is the most influential, wholly postgraduate university of art and design in the world.

Established in 1837, the RCA is the world’s oldest art and design university in continuous operation, with a tradition of innovation and excellence in creative education. In 2020, the RCA was ranked as the number one Art and Design university in the world – for the sixth consecutive year – by the QS World University Subject Rankings.

The RCA offers Master’s, MPhil, MRes, PhD and Graduate Diploma degrees through 28 distinct programmes and pathways. Based around the four Schools of Architecture, Arts & Humanities, Communication and Design, the broad range of disciplines on offer is based on a strong foundation of practice-based research.

A Transformative Experience

As the world’s most influential art and design university, the RCA trains a disproportionately high number of prominent artists and designers. The College is a crucible where designers, architects, artists, writers, theorists and curators come together.

It offers a transformative experience to talented individuals, developing great creative minds, and ideas that will be central to the cultural evolution of our societies. Our recent graduates are already establishing themselves as the next generation of artists, designers, writers and theorists.

Sat on bed

Research and Innovation

The 2014 REF rated the Royal College of Art the most research intensive specialist art and design institution in the UK, with a higher proportion of its research judged world-leading than any of its competitors.

Responding to cultural and economic stimuli, the RCA promotes the interchange of ideas and the creation of new knowledge. Between art, design, science and the humanities, and through research, scholarship and nurturing of innovation, it fosters a culture of evidence-based enquiry to meet the global challenges of the twenty-first century.

Read more about our research

An International Community

The RCA is exceptionally diverse, with students from 65 countries coming together to form a student body that reflects the cultural mix of this world-leading city. Students at the College benefit from membership of a growing, specialist art and design community, among over 2,000 students and over 1,000 full- and part-time staff, most of whom are also practitioners in their field.

Students come to the RCA from across the globe and find themselves in a dynamic exchange of knowledge around shifts in technology and craft, art and design, communication, science and social relevance, which which articulate, delineate and address issues that will affect us all.

On step


The Royal College of Art is rightly proud of its graduates, who uphold a long-standing reputation of excellence in the fields of art and design. Every year scores of RCA alumni are recognised around the world as innovators and leaders in their disciplines, making headlines on both a national and international scale.

Some of the College’s most distinguished alumni include Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, David Hockney, Chris Ofili, Jake Chapman, Tracey Emin, Marvin Gaye Chetwynd, Phoebe Cummings, Lara Bohinc and Sally Tallant in Arts and Humanities Art; David Adjaye, Barber and Osgerby, Alex de Rijke (dRMM) in Architecture; Sir Ridley Scott, Asif Kapadia, Jonathan Barnbrook, Why Not Associates and A Practice for Everyday Life in Communication; Sir James Dyson, Thomas Heatherwick, Roland Lamb, Christopher Bailey, Philip Treacy, Alice Temperley, Erdem and Orla Kiely from Design.

Find out more about our world-leading alumni


The facilities and technical equipment at the RCA support students in their explorations of the creative possibilities of the new and the traditional, and the interplay between them. State-of-the-art new buildings, workshops and studios are added to the College estate annually, providing the facilities, skills and support that will produce the next generation of creatives and entrepreneurs. Work is currently underway on a flagship new building, designed by Herzog and de Meuron at our Battersea campus. The building is part of a £108m investment programme in the RCA – the most radical transformation of the institution’s campus in its 181-year history.



Located in London: a vibrant cultural centre with an international outlook. Our sites in Battersea, Kensington and White City – are located in three significant cultural quarters, each with their own unique character and surrounded by some of the most important spaces and events in London’s art, design and cultural worlds, along with a vibrant social scene of bars, clubs and cafés.

Contact details

+44 (0)20 7590 4444
Kensington Gore