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The Royal College of Art (often abbreviated RCA) is the world’s only wholly postgraduate university of art and design, offering the degrees of MA, MPhil and PhD. The University is located in South Kensingtonmarker and Batterseamarker in Londonmarker, United Kingdommarker.


The College has an international reputation for its teaching in the fields of automotive design, photography, industrial design, communication design, interior design, fashion, ceramics and silversmithing. Degrees in the history of art and conservation are offered in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museummarker, while an MA in Industrial Design Engineering is offered jointly with Imperial College Londonmarker, both situated close-by.

According to the latest statistics on all graduate destinations from the Royal College of Art between 2002 and 2007, an average of 93% gained work in directly related employment and at the right level. The current enrollment tally measures roughly 900 students, all taking fine art, applied art, design, communication design and humanities courses.

The most recent Research Assessment Exercise, published in December 2008, confirmed the Royal College of Art as a leading specialist art and design institution in the United Kingdom, with 40% of its research output judged to be of quality that is world-leading in terms of originality, significance and rigor. A further 25% was considered internationally excellent.

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.


The Royal College of Art was founded in 1837, and was known as the Government School of Design. It became the National Art Training School in 1853, with the Female School of Art in separate buildings, and in 1896 received the name Royal College of Art. It was often informally referred to as the South Kensington Schools during the 19th century. See Richard Burchett, an early Headmaster, for more details on this period. After 130 years in operation, the Royal College of Art was granted its Royal Charter in 1967, which gave it the status of an independent university with the power to grant its own degrees.

Its Royal Charter specifies that the objects of the College are "to advance learning, knowledge and professional competence particularly in the field of fine arts, in the principles and practice of art and design in their relation to industrial and commercial processes and social developments and other subjects relating thereto through teaching, research and collaboration with industry and commerce".

Notable alumni

19th century

20th century

21st century


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