Deadline: 2016-01-13
Value of Scholarship: see text
Level Of Study: Masters

Fully funded scholarships for Postgraduate Study in the History of Design at the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal College of Art

The V&A/RCA MA in History of Design invites applications for two fully funded scholarships: The Friends of the V&A Scholarship, and the Oliver Ford Trust Scholarship. These scholarships cover fees (£9,500 p.a.) for the two years of the MA and can be accompanied by additional maintenance grants of up to £3,000 p.a. In addition, the RCA offers a number of MA Part-Scholarships. Students applying from the UK/EU are eligible – please see below for further details.

The V&A/RCA MA Programme

The Victoria and Albert Museum/Royal College of Art MA in History of Design is accepting applications for autumn 2016 entry. The two-year, full-time MA programme in London provides ground-breaking tools and approaches for studying design, architecture, craft and material culture in everyday life, across a global geography from 1400 to the present. The MA is jointly offered by the Royal College of Art (RCA), ranked #1 in the world for art and design by the QS World University Rankings by Subject Area, and the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A), the world’s leading museum of art and design and one of the UK’s first museums to gain the status of Independent Research Organisation (IRO). The MA is taught by a dedicated team of academics based in the School of Humanities at the RCA and the Research Department of the V&A. History of Design also offers MPhil and PhD degrees.

The programme is internationally recognised as the leading centre for postgraduate study in the history of design and material culture. Combining ambitious, rigorous and cutting-edge scholarly approaches with first-hand understanding of material and digital artefacts, the V&A/RCA MA in History of Design prepares students for diverse professional careers.

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The V&A/RCA MA in History of Design provides unique specialist training in critical artefact-based scholarship, and has an established reputation for pioneering new forms of design historical enquiry. Its system of seminars, lectures, personal tutorials, and collaborative and individual projects provides a unique environment for studying the social, cultural, technological, economic and political contexts of design, and for studying history through design and material culture.

Design areas addressed in research and teaching include histories architecture and interiors, fashion and textiles, furniture, product and industrial design, ceramics, metalwork, glass, prints and drawings, interaction, experience and service design. The curriculum draws on cutting-edge thinking in cognate areas such as gender studies, design research and anthropology, and considers the design of systems, services and institutions alongside more traditionally interrogated design areas.

Uniquely, students have direct access to the unrivalled collections and expertise of the V&A and to the highly specialised art and design practices of the RCA. Opportunities to work with curators or to contribute to V&A gallery and exhibition projects are open to all students, and students can initiate and participate in interdisciplinary projects with students across the RCA. Research seminars with leading international speakers discuss the latest developments in academic and curatorial research. Study visits in the autumn and spring terms extend cultural references and broaden research horizons.

Our graduates go on to work internationally in universities, museums and galleries, as well as in a host of other related professions such as journalism, media research, design practice and design policy. The MA programme also provides excellent preparation towards PhD research in a variety of arts and humanities fields.

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The programme welcomes applications from those with little previous experience of design history, as well as from students with related undergraduate degrees.

Research Degrees

The History of Design programme encourages applications for research degrees. We offer MPhil and PhD by thesis. Potential applicants should email the programme administrator, to arrange to discuss their possible subject area with an appropriate programme tutor. Please email

The programme will hold an Open Day on Tuesday 12 January 2016. The Open Day provides an opportunity to meet tutors and students, visit facilities both at the V&A and the RCA, and learn more about resources at both institutions. To find out more and book a place contact

V&A/RCA Scholarships & Awards 2016–18

The following scholarships and awards are available for the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme for 2016–2018

The Friends of the V&A Scholarship

The Friends of the V&A Scholarship is offered to a student applying from the UK or EU who intends to work in a museum after graduating from the V&A/RCA History of Design MA programme. The Scholarship covers fees for the two years of the MA and also includes a maintenance grant of up to £3,000 per year.

The Oliver Ford Trust Scholarship

The Oliver Ford Trust Scholarship is offered to a student applying from the UK or EU who intends to undertake research in the design of the domestic interior. The Scholarship covers fees for the two years of the MA and also includes a maintenance grant of up to £3,000 per year.

Royal College of Art Bursaries

The RCA currently has a unique College Bursary scheme that provides over £3 million worth of support to our students annually; we are hopeful this will continue for 2016 entry, but we will not have final confirmation until April 2016. We also have a number of pre-entry awards that are available to incoming students, including fully inclusive scholarships that cover full tuition fees and living costs, such as the Abraaj RCA Innovation Scholarship. Further information is available at

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Application Process

Please note these scholarships and awards are only available to MA students. The scholarships and awards are given on a competitive basis, judged at interview. Students should indicate their interest in and suitability for the Awards on their application form. The priority deadline for application for 2016/2017 entry is 13 January 2016, with interviews to be held from February 2016. Applications will be taken later than the priority deadline but preference for the scholarships will be given to those who apply early.

Further details on entry requirements, College fees and funding can be found at The College is designated as an eligible institution for a guaranteed student loan under the new Direct Loan Programme.

For more information visit: or or contact the programme administrator on:

Further information on research degrees in the History of Design and RCA Humanities, please visit or contact

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