Royal College of Art

Royal College of Art
  • 1837 – Government School of Design
  • 1896 – Royal College of Art
ChancellorSir Jonathan Ive
RectorPaul Thompson
Students1,855 (2016/17)[1]
United Kingdom

The Royal College of Art (RCA) is a public research university in London, in the United Kingdom. It offers postgraduate degrees in art and design to students from over 60 countries;[2] it is the only entirely postgraduate art and design university in the world.[3]:118 From 2015 onwards, the RCA has consistently placed first in the QS World University Rankings in the Art and Design subject area.[4][5][6][7]


The RCA was founded in Somerset House in 1837 as the Government School of Design[8] or Metropolitan School of Design.[9] Richard Burchett became head of the school in 1852.[10] In 1853 it was expanded and moved to Marlborough House, and then, in 1853[8] or 1857,[9][10] to South Kensington, on the same site as the South Kensington Museum. It was renamed the Normal Training School of Art in 1857[9] and the National Art Training School in 1863.[10] During the later 19th century it was primarily a teacher training college; pupils during this period included George Clausen, Christopher Dresser, Luke Fildes, Kate Greenaway and Gertrude Jekyll.[10]

In 1896[8] or 1897[9] the school received the name Royal College of Art, and the emphasis of teaching there shifted to the practice of art and design.[8] Teaching of graphic design, industrial design and product design began in the mid-twentieth century. The school expanded further in the 1960s, and in 1967 it received a Royal Charter which gave it the status of an independent university with the power to grant its own degrees.[8]