About our course
Service Design is the application of design practice to services and experiences.

Service design solves problems and transforms the human experience of businesses and industry as well as developing impactful solutions for complex social issues, better public services and citizen centric policy.The RCA Service Design MA programme is internationally renowned as a pioneer in the development of service design with graduating students leaving to work inside transport, telecommunications, financial services and retail companies, leading consultancies, government departments and international organisations. The course examines the complex cultural, technological and systemic issues facing businesses and governments to create new services for now and the future.

Students work on their projects with an exceptional number of industry and public sector partners to develop innovative solutions that reframe and redesign the world around us.The curriculum works across the RCA and their partner establishments blending design expertise across all departments with technology and business management from Imperial College’s MBA and Department of Computing.
Become a student

The Vision

The service design course at the RCA is focused on four strategic directions:

  • UN Sustainability Goals - Ageing, Work, Health, Environment
  • Government - Social Policy and Foresight
  • Financial Services - Fintech, Open Banking and Innovation
  • Industrial Strategy - AI, Mobility and the Digital Economy

We apply design methods to these areas:

  • Discovery - of human insight and data, experience reality and systems policy
  • Definition - Reframing the question, defining the opportunities, developing hypothesis
  • Design - creative concepts that imagine and create new scenarios and service
  • Development - prototyping and testing, with humans, systems and policies to create outcomes and impact.

As well as applying the tools of design we bring the behaviours of curiosity, to uncover reality and gain insight, courage to tell the truth, optimism that there are better solutions, not just imagined but delivered, in an open and collaborative way.

What we stand for

This year we have looked at how we articulate the ethos of the course and of service design. What is our focus, what differentiates our approach and behaviour?

In a series of workshops students and staff developed themes that capture that energy and ethos and this has resulted in a set of values, each one represented with a unique icon that represents our ambition and direction.

These values drive us as individuals and as a cohort of service designers working to create positive outcomes that help us all make a world that works for all.

Energised and responsive, solutions reflect the real world and are driven by an energy to relate and transform.
Whether working in teams and with partners or collaborating with the users-of and the people who deliver services, service design is an act of collaboration.
Service design has to consider the widest definition of experience, from start to finish and round again, encompassing all issues, contexts and touchpoints.
The courage to reveal the truth, share insight and the emotional response to experiences, is a critical aspect of creating change.
Services and experiences are for all, representing all aspects of humanity in equal measure.
The desire to find out, to go deeper and reveal the epiphanies of real experience.
Ensure the world works equally and is better for including all.
Some changes might be small or tiny, some changes at individual or massive system, policy or legislative level, but all will reframe and transform from where they started to bring impact and outcomes.
Organic or radical, innovation is at the heart of design and to delivering new value and benefits.
We are human centred from the start, seeing the work from a human viewpoint and driving systems and change from that perspective.
We aim to take people with us, share vision and move together with the same purpose.
Every act of design has an impact, we must ensure that impact does not damage but supports our planets and its ability to replenish and survive.