Royal College of Art is in Top 25 Fashion Schools in the World. We put together all the necessary documentation for applying to a Fashion Postgraduate Royal College of Art course below.



The Womenswear programme encourages the development of students’ individual design identity through the translation of their personal research into design.

Within the discipline there are four areas of separate design specialisation that may be studied: knitwear, footwear, accessory design and millinery. Specialism students will follow their own curriculum but a cross over, in lectures on relevant design topics, research and materials are shared.

During the programme, students are given the opportunity to develop their individuality and creativity through concentrating on the following subjects: research and development of design ideas, colour, fabric and yarn sourcing, dedicated technical workshops relevant to the specialism selected, drawing and portfolio presentation. Professional presentations and portfolio development focus on communication skills and the ability of students to present their work coherently and intelligently. The course offers a personalised learning environment, created through one-to-one tutorials and work reviews with the staff and invited guests from industry and the media.

External, industry-set projects are selected primarily to provide students with the experience of working professionally, and are timetabled in both first and second years. These professional contacts frequently lead to sponsorship, international placements and freelance design work for our students.

In their second year, students work more independently, developing their design ethos that leads through material support, silhouette and cutting experiments to a final collection or narrative. Students will have the opportunity to show their work at the end of their final year.

Year one
In the first term you will study two units.

Introduction to Fashion Design Technology Womenswear aims to introduce you to your course and its subject specialism as well as to effective learning and studentship at undergraduate level. It will orientate you to the practices and knowledge-base needed to understand your discipline and help you to develop your skills for independent & collaborative learning, reflection and your own self development. Students come from many diverse educational backgrounds and a part of this unit will enable to reflect on your own background and how that shapes the way you approach your course.

The Research and Design Process unit introduces you to research methods and their relevance and application to the design process and the realisation of ideas. The focus is on the importance of research that always informs design and its 3D development, and explores this relationship. Visual communication and an exploration of techniques will be encouraged and you will be introduced to ways of recording your work in a stimulating, exciting and informative way using a variety of communication methods and media. You will develop creative ideas that relate to and expand your visual references, and you will be introduced through demonstration to the core practical 3D skills of pattern cutting and manufacturing techniques. You will start to learn about fabrics and sourcing fabrics, and will be encouraged to produce creative samples.

In the second term you will study two units.

Introduction to Cultural and Historical Studies introduces you to key concepts and ways of thinking about fashion and its context in society and culture. You will attend lectures, seminars and workshops, and do a significant amount of reading of academic texts in order to complete a formal academic essay for assessment. Completion of this unit will allow you to make an informed choice of subject for study in the second year Cultural and Historical Studies unit.

Techniques of Making introduces you to the diversity and characteristics of different stretch and woven fabrics and the differences between structured and unstructured garments. This analysis will inform manufacturing techniques and finishes that will influence the translation of ideas within the 2D and 3D design process. The emphasis will be on the creative use of specialist techniques to create contemporary design development ideas. Use of fabric, colour, detail and technical processes will all be considered in your response to the project brief. Technical drawing and the use of IT programmes for design communication and presentation will also be explored.

In the third term you will collaborate with fellow students in a small group to respond to a simulated or live industry brief through the Introduction to Industry Practice unit. You will be introduced to the essential concepts of brand identity, market levels, customer profile, pricing and range building. Each team will identify the strengths of each member of the team, and together you will develop your networking, communication, team-work and presentation skills in order to answer the brief. The emphasis in this unit is on the exploration and analysis of information and creative problem solving in a team through discussion and negotiation. You will use professional production and presentation skills in your response to the industrial brief.

Year two
In the first term you will be able to study a Cultural and Historical Studies Option of your choice that will broaden or deepen your learning of areas relating to your interests in your chosen field. You will have the opportunity to participate in lectures, seminars and workshops with students from other courses within your School, and will read relevant academic texts and complete a formal academic essay for assessment.

Also in the first term, the Professional Product Development unit will further develop your research, analysis and design development skills, as well as increasing your fabric knowledge, sourcing and technical skills. You will be asked to explore the principles of tailoring and outerwear garments. You will develop your 2D and 3D skills, through working with tailoring fabrics and the innovative use of techniques, manufacture and finishes, to create contemporary design proposals. Colour, fabric, proportion, silhouette and detail will all be considered, and you will employ appropriate drawing techniques and software packages to clearly communicate your design ideas.

In the second term the Research Methods unit provides a broad overview of the different critical and methodological approaches to research and introduces you to a range of research methods. You will learn more about the role of research in design and technology, the relationship between primary and secondary sources, and ways of developing and originating research. This will prepare you for later projects where considerable research skills are needed to underpin your work.

Also in the second term the Aesthetics and Identity unit consolidates your learning to date and allows you to consider in depth your personal design aesthetic and where your particular direction lies. Your increasing knowledge of research methods will underpin your response to the project brief and you will consider the client, market and product in depth. You will produce a range of products that demonstrate a deep understanding of research, analysis, design development, experimentation and manufacture. Your understanding of marketing and product knowledge, together with your critical awareness of the quality of your design proposal, will be developed through this unit.

In the third term the Placement and Professional Studies unit gives you the opportunity to further develop your skills learnt on the course and apply them within a professional working environment. You will experience real industry problems and working practice and will be able to look at the ways in which the professional team members operate. You will be able to judge what opportunities exist for your career progression. You will be expected to take an analytical and reflective approach to the placement and you will produce visual and written material that documents your increased understanding of your experience. LCF Careers will run a preparatory programme before your placement, and you will be expected to be involved in securing a suitable placement for your own personal development, skill set and career aspirations.

The projects in Term Two and Term Three are interchangeable to ensure that students achieve a successful placement in industry. Recent placements have included Marc Jacobs, Givenchy, Margiela, Alexander Wang, Iris van Herpen, Donna Karan, Meadham Kirchoff, Proenza Schouler, Maison Martin Margiela, Hussein Chalayan and Louise Gray.

Year three
In the first term you will do the Design Synthesis unit which inform and prepare you for your Final Major Project. You will be expected to negotiate a project brief that will allow a full investigation into an exploratory research and practical journey towards a body of work showing innovative design and technical experimentation with material, process and potential garment solutions in 2D and 3D form. The focus is on using your skills to show extensive creative experimentation, whilst considering the practical aspects of problem-solving, through fabric and trims sourcing, appropriate use of finish and detailing alongside silhouette/shape development. You will identify your proposed market level and customer, and produce a Statement of Intent which identifies your brand ethos and core philosophy as a designer. The completed outfits will form the basis of your collection for your Final Major Project.

Contextualising Your Practice in the first and second term affords you the opportunity to demonstrate your understanding of the critical and analytical perspectives developed within cultural and historical theory and your ability to apply these in a specific study. You will research the topic you identified in the Research Methods unit, which will lead to the production of an extended essay. It is the opportunity for you to undertake a substantial piece of structured research that examines in depth practical and theoretical issues related to your field of practice; it will build on the critical debates and concerns raised throughout your course.

In terms two and three you will undertake your Final Major Project. This is the culmination of your undergraduate experience and gives you the opportunity to fully develop the work started in the Design Synthesis unit to produce a body of work that reflects a deep engagement with the exploration and development of your design ideas through to your final design collection. Your work should evidence your ability to construct, direct and organise an overall professional outcome, which will launch you into the next stage of your career.

The Royal College of Art welcomes applications from all over the world. If you are considering applying to the College for 2018/19, you can prepare for your application by researching the academic programmes offered by each of the Schools, accessing the Application Process page and information under Fees & Funding.

The criteria for acceptance are talent and potential, along with the commitment and the ambition to make a difference within an art or design discipline.

In this section, you will find details about what is required to make an MA or Research application to the College, along with dates and deadlines and information about entry requirements.

All programmes welcome enquiries regarding MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD study throughout the year.

Our Equal Opportunities Policy is published online.

Online Applications

See Application Process for a full schedule of key application dates. If you are considering applying to the College, you can prepare for your application by researching the Programme and accessing the Application Guidance information. Please make sure you read the guidance before you fill in your application.

You can apply online for 2018 entry from 16 October 2017. All programmes welcome enquiries regarding MA, MRes, MPhil and PhD study throughout the year.

EU Students

The UK Government has confirmed that EU students applying to English universities in autumn 2018 will continue to benefit from the current system of postgraduate loans and pay the same fees as UK students, for the duration of their programme.

EU nationals will also remain eligible to apply for Research Council PhD studentships at UK institutions for 2018 to 2019 to help cover costs for the duration of their study.

For more information, including frequently asked questions following the results of the UK Referendum held in June 2016, see EU Students.

Candidates for all MA courses are assessed on their existing qualities as demonstrated in their work and in their interview, as well as on their potential to benefit from the programme and to achieve MA standards overall. The assessment will consider: creativity, imagination and innovation evident in the work; ability to articulate the intentions of the work; intellectual engagement in relevant areas; appropriate technical skills; overall interview performance, including oral use of English.

We seek to enrol students who:

are imaginative, self-motivated, determined, passionate about their discipline, technically curious and professionally orientated
understand that their commitment to the course is a significant investment in their future.
Applications should include:
Recent work, including research and design development, and rendered illustrations and flats of at least four projects
Garment imagery.
Please state “Fashion Womenswear” and, where appropriate, the area of specialism to which you are applying.

Candidates who do not speak English as their first language are required to produce
evidence that within the previous two years they have achieved at least 93 in the TOEFL internet test, with an additional writing test score of TWE 24 or an IELTS exam score of 6.5 with 6 in writing.

If selected for interview your portfolio must include:

Hard copies of recent work, including research and design development, and rendered
illustrations and flats for at least four projects
Garment images
A finished toile or garment relating to one of your current portfolio projects
The interview project responses.
A research proposal

We seek to enrol students who:

are imaginative, self-motivated, determined, passionate about their discipline, technically curious and professionally orientated
understand that their commitment to the course is a significant investment in their future.

Applicants to the RCA from England and the EU are likely to be eligible for the new Postgraduate Student Loan of up to £10,000 per course of study.

Tuition fees for 15-month MA programmes in 2017/18 are: UK/EU: £14,500 per annum; Overseas: £34,000 per annum.

Tuition fees for 2-year MA programmes in 2017/18 are: UK/EU: £9,500 per annum (£19,000 total fee); Overseas: £28,400 per annum (£56,800 total fee).

Developing your skills
All of our undergraduate courses are concerned with the development of your personal and professional skills. On your course you will evolve from learning basic skills in your discipline through to a position where you are an independent creative thinker capable of making an effective contribution to the relevant sector of the fashion industry. Personal and Professional Development (PPD) skills are embedded in all units on every course. Speaker programmes with contributions from alumni, members of industry and others are a part of many courses, as are work placement opportunities in industry.

Graduates who wish to continue their education at postgraduate level are encouraged to progress to suitable courses within the College, the University or elsewhere.

Career paths
Many graduates prefer to seek employment as soon as they have completed their undergraduate studies. Recent Womenswear graduates from this course are working in many companies across the industry including Max Mara, Celine, Hillier Bartley,Tom Ford, Alexander McQueen, Tesco, Arcadia, Debenhams, Jaeger, All Saints and Burberry. Other graduates have gone on to set up and operate their own labels, showing their collections independently, being selected for Fashion East, or producing guest collections for H&M.