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Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process will consider creativity, imagination and innovation as demonstrated in your application, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high MA standards overall. You should have a good first degree in an arts and humanities or an art, design, photography or performance practice background. If you have a different background, for example in the social sciences or professions, we encourage you to apply. We welcome applications from students of all ages, and view both prior academic and professional experience as valuable.
Months of entry
Offered jointly by the Royal College of Art and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the History of Design MA uses artefact analysis – 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. Study at the World's number one ranked art and design university for seven consecutive years (2015-2021) in the QS World University Subject Rankings.
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. Alumni of the programme are today working successfully in a range of positions across universities, museums, cultural organisations, design firms and media outlets, as well as in independent practice.
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.
Our wide staff expertise and the rich resources at the RCA and V&A enable students to explore, for example: fashion and textile history; histories of architecture, building and urban space; digital materialities; material histories of medicine, science and technology; the material culture of everyday life; histories and practices of making, craft and embodied knowledge; environmental history, ecologies of design and the Anthropocene; history of theatre and performance; social and political history in relation to design; decoloniality and social justice through design history practice; and global history through material culture.
Open Day - 7 February 2022
Visit our on-site open day at the Victoria & Albert Museum, London on 7 February. Pre-registration for this event is essential.
If you are unable to attend this event you can watch the replay of our Online Open Day from November, 2021.
Full- and Part-time options
We are currently accepting applications for the 1-year full-time offer. A 24-month, part-time offer of this programme will open for applications from January 2022.
Fees and funding
Qualification, course duration and attendance options
- full time12 months
- Campus-based learningis available for this qualification
Course contact details
- Student Recruitment