Royal College of Art

The Royal College of Art is the world’s leading art and design university.

A small, specialist and research-intensive university, the RCA provides postgraduate students with unrivalled opportunities to develop multidisciplinary projects that transform the world.

Founded in 1837 as the Government School of Design, it was given the mission to progress the theory and practice of art, design and industrial technology to ensure Britain’s enduring role as an industrial leader.

The Royal College of Art was named the world's leading university of art and design in the QS World Rankings 2021 for the seventh consecutive year. Based in the heart of London, and specialising in teaching and research, the RCA offers degrees of MA, MPhil, MRes and PhD across the disciplines of architecture, arts & humanities, design and communications. The RCA’s approach is founded on the premise that art, design, creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today's global challenges.

The University employs around 1000 professionals from around the world – professors, researchers, art and design practitioners, advisers and visiting lecturers – to teach and develop students in 30 academic programmes. RCA students are exposed to new knowledge in a way that encourages them to experiment. The RCA runs joint courses with Imperial College London and the Victoria & Albert Museum. 

Alumni of the College include David Adjaye, Christopher Bailey, Ridley Scott, Frank Bowling, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Thomas Heatherwick, Lubaina Himid, Asif Kapadia and Barbara Hepworth.

UK at Expo 2020 Dubai Official Heritage partner 


As Heritage Partner, the RCA celebrates its 170-year history of shared heritage with world exhibitions, going back to the very first Expo, The Great Exhibition of 1851, conceived by Prince Albert and Sir Henry Cole (who guided the early days of the institution that would become the RCA). The RCA was repeatedly entrusted with creating the British section of world exhibitions. At Expo ‘58, the Brussels World Fair, Edward Bawden crafted the signature royal lion and unicorn crest, alongside murals by Leonard Rosoman and a large open-air library. More recently, the UK Pavilion for Expo '98, held in Lisbon, was designed by the RCA's then-Head of Architecture, Professor Nigel Coates, while the UK Pavilion for Expo 2010 Shanghai was designed by the RCA alumnus Thomas Heatherwick (MA Furniture, 1994).

The RCA’s contribution to the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 will bring together a wide range of interdisciplinary projects from staff, current students and recent graduates. InnovationRCA, our start-up incubator, and the RCA’s research centres and degree programmes, will show their cutting-edge work around sustainability, the circular economy, inclusive design, intelligent mobility, and the future of fashion.