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Royal College of Art

Royal College of Art
Established 1967 - gained University Status by Royal Charter
1896 - Royal College of Art
1837 - Government School of Design
Type Public
Provost Sir James Dyson
Rector Paul Thompson
Students 1420 in 2013/14[1]
Postgraduates 1420 from 62 countries
Location London, England, U.K.
Campus Urban
Nickname Template:If empty

The Royal College of Art (informally the RCA) is a public research university specializing in art and design located in London, United Kingdom. It is the world's only wholly postgraduate art and design institution offering Master of Arts (M.A.), Master of Philosophy (M.Phil.) and Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) and was ranked the top university in the world for Art and Design in the QS World University rankings 2015, the first year in which the subject area has been included.[2][3]


The RCA was founded in 1837 as the Government School of Design. Richard Burchett became head of the school in 1852.[4] In 1853 it was expanded to become the National Art Training School and moved to Marlborough House, and then, in 1857, to South Kensington,[4][5] with the Female School of Art in separate buildings.[citation needed] During the 19th century, it was often referred to as the South Kensington Schools.[citation needed] It was primarily a teacher training college; pupils during this period included George Clausen, Christopher Dresser, Luke Fildes, Kate Greenaway and Gertrude Jekyll.[4]

In 1896 the school received the name Royal College of Art, and the emphasis of teaching there shifted to the practice of art and design.[5] Teaching of graphic design, industrial design and product design began in the mid-twentieth century.The school expanded further in the 1960s, and in 1967 it received a Royal Charter which gave it the status of an independent university with the power to grant its own degrees.[5]

The Royal College of Art played a major role in the birth of the modern school of British sculpture in the 1920s and in the development of Pop Art in the 1960s.[citation needed]


The RCA is based in the South Kensington and Battersea areas of Central London.

The main building in Kensington Gore dates from the 1960s and is a Grade II listed building. It was designed by a team of RCA staff members, H. T. Cadbury-Brown, Hugh Casson and Robert Goodden.[6]


The RCA offers teaching in the fields of architecture, painting, sculpture, automotive design, curating, photography, industrial design, communication design, interaction design, textiles, fashion, ceramics and silversmithing. An M.A. in design history is offered in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum, while an M.A./M.Sc. in Innovation Design Engineering is offered jointly with Imperial College London.

In 2013, the RCA and Imperial also began offering the first transnational design program: a dual-masters, joint program in Global Innovation Design, where students also spend significant time studying at Pratt's graduate industrial design department in Brooklyn, New York and Keio University's graduate school of media design in Tokyo, Japan.


In the most recent Research Assessment Exercise, in December 2008, 40% of the research output of the school received the highest (4* or "world-leading") assessment, the third-highest rating in the Art and Design subject area; over all subject areas only about fifty institutions received a higher rating.[7]

In April 2011, Modern Painters surveyed art world professionals to create a list of the top 10 UK art schools which ranked them: 1. Royal College of Art; 2. Royal Academy Schools; 3. City and Guilds of London Art School; 4. Slade School of Art; and 5. Goldsmiths College, University of London.[8]


19th century

20th century

21st century


  1. ^ "RCA Annual Review 2013/2014" (PDF). pp. 4–5. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  2. ^ Ratcliffe, Rebecca; Shaw, Claire (29 April 2015). "Six UK Universities reach the top". Guardian. Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "New Rankings of the World's Top Art Schools". Retrieved 2 May 2015. 
  4. ^ a b c Anne Pimlott Baker (2004 ). Burchett, Richard (1815–1875). Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Accessed February 2015. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/3956 (subscription required)
  5. ^ a b c Janet Foster (2000–2008). GB 1134 Royal College of Art Archive. AIM25: Archives in London and the M25 area. Accessed February 2015.
  6. ^ James Dunnett (2006). The Royal College of Art: a Study in Modern Architecture and Urbanism. Architectural Research Quarterly 10: 3–12. doi:10.1017/S1359135506000029 (subscription required)
  7. ^ RAE 2008 quality profiles: UOA 63 Art and Design. Research Assessment Exercise 2008. Accessed February 2015.
  8. ^
  9. ^ Althea Wynne (obituary) in The Daily Telegraph dated 14 February 2012, online at, accessed 3 June 2012

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Coordinates: 51°30′05″N 0°10′44″W / 51.50139°N 0.17889°W / 51.50139; -0.17889{{#coordinates:51|30|05|N|0|10|44|W|region:GB_type:edu |primary |name= }}