Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art (RCA) is a public research university-level institution under Royal Charter located in London, United Kingdom. It is the world’s oldest art and design institution in continuous operation, with a tradition of innovation and excellence in creative education and recognised as the leading educational institution in the world for art and design.

Founded in 1837 as the Government School of Design, it was given the mission to progress the theory and best practice of art, design and industrial technology. Today, 185 years later, the RCA is ranked as the world’s #1 art and design university, and has been every year since the prestigious QS World University Rankings by Subject began in 2015. The RCA ranks at 100% for academic excellence, and 96.2% for employability. 

The RCA brings together traditional and new disciplines, challenges social and cultural perspectives, and through interdisciplinary collaboration between staff, students, researchers and the communities around it, collectively creates new knowledge, insights and innovations in art, design and technology. This puts the RCA at the heart of tackling some of the world’s most pressing issues, from climate change, to rapid urbanisation, mobility, health and ageing populations.

As the world’s most influential postgraduate university of art, design and innovation engineering, the RCA focuses foremost on excellence and global impact. It offers 37 taught and research programmes awarding Graduate Diploma, MA, MRes, and MPhil/PhD degrees. The RCA consists of four Schools – the School of Architecture, the School of Arts & Humanities, the School of Communication, and the School of Design, providing a unique and transformative experience to 2,700 students across three campuses located in London’s Kensington, Battersea and White City. We champion the value of collaborative and interdisciplinary learning and implement a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Design and Maths) vision.

Facts and figures

Year Established 1837
Total Number of Staff 555
Number of Academic Staff 370
Number of Students 2700
Focus Areas
  • Design resilience
  • Health, wellbeing and care
  • Tackling climate change via circular economy, citizen science and regenerative design
  • Designing New Economic Models for the Ocean
  • Co-design
Web link for international students Institutional enquiries via partnership leads
Fields of Study Offered Fine arts
Humanities (others)
Architecture and town planning