Application process: frequently asked questions
On this page
We answer common questions around how to apply, portfolios, entry requirements and visas.
If you’re ready to start your application, visit our application portal.
How do I apply?
This RCA webpage Application process You can also watch the open day admissions process talk to walk you through the process.
Is there an application deadline for entry in 2023?
For MA/MSc, MRes, MFA, MDes and MEd programmes, there is no deadline, programmes will close when sufficient offer acceptances are received.
For the Graduate Diploma, May intake, the application deadline is 12 noon on 3 April 2023.
The next deadline for MPhil and PhD applications Monday 31 July (12 noon BST). Individual PGR programmes may close earlier if full. See the key dates here. See the key dates here.
I am in my final undergraduate year, should I wait until I have completed?
We suggest applying as early as possible, even while you’re completing your undergraduate year. The portfolio is one part of the requirements (along with video and statement), and that the Heads of Programme are looking for potential to succeed at postgraduate level.
Where can I get advice on what I should include in my portfolio?
Each programme is looking for different things in a portfolio and each Head of Programme provides specific advice on portfolio requirements in our online application system. To access this advice, we recommend creating an account in our application portal and completing stage 1 of the application form (your details and education). You’ll then be sent a link to login to Pebblepad – our digital portfolio software. You might also find it helpful to watch our Portfolio Q&A videos
What are the entry requirements? May I apply from any educational background, do I need a relevant undergraduate degree?
Students come to the College from across the globe and bring with them a wide range of backgrounds, educational approaches and experiences. Some transfer straight from undergraduate degree to postgraduate study, while others have spent time practising their craft or working in industry before returning to education to focus their interests or refine their skills. Candidates are selected entirely on merit and applications are welcomed from all over the world. The selection process will consider creativity, imagination and innovation which should be demonstrated in your portfolio, as well as your potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve high standards overall.
You will also need to fulfil the entrance requirements of the programme to which you are applying, details of which can be found by on the relevant Programme page.
How do RCA scholarships work?
The RCA scholarship page outlines some external funding options for UK and International students including Government loans, charitable funding and external scholarships.
How does the RCA support students in finding employment after graduation?
The Royal College of Art is committed to ensuring that our students are equipped with the skills they need to succeed. Advice and practical workshops on all aspects of business and creative careers are built into the curriculum of all our MA degrees, and upon graduating many alumni continue to be supported by a business aftercare scheme.
More details about professional development is available at Careers support.
While we try to ensure that all information given at any of our Open Days is correct, some things may be subject to change and/or outside of our control. If you think you might apply to start later than 2022. please check back as our programmes are always developing and changing
Can I work whilst studying?
Many students work part-time whilst studying however If you are an overseas student on a Student Visa Route, this will depend on the conditions of your Visa. Most students can work up to 20 hours a week during term time. See the UKCISA website for more information.
What support do you offer to students with disabilities?
The RCA is committed to celebrating diversity and supporting and helping all of its students to reach their full potential. Comprehensive support exists for students with disabilities, and we encourage disabled students who will be studying at the College to contact us at the earliest opportunity to discuss their requirements. Find out more on our website.
I have already submitted an application, when can I expect to hear about the outcome?
For applications received by 4 January you’ll be notified about the outcome of your application by 15 February 2023. If you receive an offer of a place, you will be required to accept your offer within three weeks from the date of your offer. Your offer letter will include an offer pack which contains full details about how to accept your offer and what documentation is required from you.
To accept your place you must also pay a deposit. Payment of this amount forms part of the acceptance process and must be made within the same 3 weeks. Deposits paid count towards payment of your tuition fees for 2023/24. See Eligibility and key dates for more information.
Where can I see student work?
Prospective students are encouraged to explore work by current students and recent graduates. You can explore the work of our most recent graduating students at RCA2022. An archive of previous graduate shows can be found at Showcase.
For international students
Do I need to prove that I meet English Language Requirements when I apply?
You do not need to have met the College’s English language requirements at the point of application; however, if you do receive an offer you will need to meet the requirements prior to enrolment or, if you would require a visa to study in the UK – before the RCA can support your Student Visa application. For more details and information on what English Language tests we are currently accepting, please visit our website.
Do I need a student visa before applying?
You only need to arrange a Tier 4 Student Visa once you have an offer of a place. The RCA will support this process by issuing a ‘Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies’ (CAS) to accepted students. Students must have also met all conditions of their offer, including passing an accepted English language test, before we can issue a CAS. You can find out more about the Student Visa route on our website. The UK Council for International Student Affairs website also has lots of useful information for international students.
What English Language support is available?
Please see the English for Academic Purposes webpage.
Is it easy to move to London / find accommodation / get established?
You can contact the RCA Student Support team for help finding accommodation. Private accommodation may also be found using a website called www.spareroom.co.uk
How do I apply for a Tier 4 Student Visa?
Find information on visa application process in this open day talk recording
What can I do if I get an error message when trying to set a new password in the Applicant Portal?
This is likely to mean that your account is locked. Please email email@example.com and the team will be able to unlock your account for you.
Why have I not received my Stage 2 email within 24 hours of completing Stage 1 of the application process?
In most cases when the Stage 2 email is missing, it is actually in the Junk or Spam folder. Please check there first. If the Stage 2 email is not in your Junk or Spam folder, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and the team will be able to re-send that manually.
How can I be certain that my application materials have been accepted by the PebblePad system?
Please make sure you carefully follow the instructions on how to share your workbook for assessment. We sometimes find that applicants upload their work, but do not then share it for assessment. The guidance will show you exactly what needs to be done.
Where can I find my Application ID for the reference?
The Application ID for the reference is the number at the end of the PebblePad username. It is normally (but not always) an eight-digit number starting with 10.
Will I receive confirmation that my reference has been submitted by my referee?
No, you will not receive confirmation that we have received the reference; however, do not worry about that it might not have been submitted - the absence of a reference at this point will not prevent us from being able to review your submitted application materials.
UK Council for International Student Affairs
If you have questions about your application: email@example.com
If you are having problems logging into the application portal: firstname.lastname@example.org