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The RSA Student Design Awards is a competition run by the RSA, a registered charity in England and Wales (212424) and Scotland (SC037784). By entering the competition, entrants agree to comply with the rules set out in the Rules + Entry Guidelines document.

Below is an overview of eligibility, submission requirements and entry fees - please download the Rules + Entry Guidelines for the full set of competition rules.



  • The competition is open to currently enrolled students and new graduates from anywhere in the world.

  • Undergraduate and postgraduate students from any higher education institution, college or university are eligible to enter.

  • New graduates can enter within a year of graduating – anyone who has graduated in or after March 2018 is eligible.

  • Entries are accepted from both individuals and teams. Teams can comprise of students from different courses and universities, and there is no set number of people that can be part of a team – but generally team entries comprise two or three people.

  • We accept entries that have been developed as college/university coursework, and we also accept projects that have been developed independently (outside of coursework) as long as the entrant meets eligibility criterion 1 or 2 above.

  • Entries must respond to one of the 2018/19 RSA briefs and must be the original work of the entrants.

  • Entrants may only enter one brief, but may submit more than one response per brief. Each response is considered to be a separate entry and will require completion of a separate submission form and payment of the relevant fee.

  • Candidates who are contracted to work for a company after graduation may not be eligible for some Industry Placement Awards.


Submission requirements

All entries must be submitted through our online entry system, accessed via

If you are unable to submit online, please contact us by email at

As you prepare your submission, please ensure that:

  • You do NOT include your name, university/college or other identifying marks anywhere on your submission.

  • None of your PDF submission files exceed 10Mb – this is the maximum size for each individual file / board when you submit online.

For ALL brief except ‘Living and Dying Well ‘ and ‘Moving Pictures’, the submission requirements are:

  • 1 x A3 PDF Hero Image, with project title and 1 sentence description

    A singular ‘poster image’ that conveys the essence of your project, and includes your project title plus a 1 sentence description. For example: ‘Bare Technology: a product and service design solution to convert old computers (e-waste) into simpler, more straightforward, accessible computers for older people’. Your hero image should aim to bring your concept to life – make sure it is vibrant and engaging.

  • 1 x A3 Written Summary
    A single A3 PDF page that summarises your big idea using the following format:

    • Problem (50 words max)
      What is the specific problem you identified within the brief topic?
      Who experiences this problem, and how does it impact them?
    • Process (75 words max)
      How did you investigate this issue – what were your key insights?
      What journey did you go through to get to your final solution?
    • Solution (50 words max)
      What is your proposed solution?
      How will it solve the problem?
  • 4 x A3 PDF Boards Outlining Your Proposal

    4 pages describing your proposal and demonstrating that you have met the 6 judging criteria. Each board should include a heading. It is important that you number each board in the top right hand corner, in the order you want them viewed by the judges.

  • 5 x A3 PDF Pages of Supporting Material

    Up to 5 A3 PDFs of additional material illustrating your development process – this could include scanned pages of your sketchbook or computer modelling (if applicable).

  • Optional YouTube / Vimeo + website links
    Please note that we cannot guarantee supporting films and websites will be viewed at the shortlisting stage. If you have created digital materials, we recommend referencing them (for example by including labelled film stills or website screen grabs) in your 4 main PDF boards.

For details on the submission requirements for the ‘Living and Dying Well’ and ‘Moving Pictures’ briefs, please download the Additional Eligibility and Entry Guidelines for Animation Briefs

Please note that late submissions will not be accepted and all entrants are encouraged to submit their work in good time before the deadline.


Entry fees

There is an entry fee for submitting work to the RSA Student Design Awards. This fee is charged per entry, so it does not cost more to enter as a team. Entry fees should be paid online through our submissions form, via PayPal, credit or debit card.

  • Early Bird Rate – for entrants submitting their work before or on 13 February 2019, the entry fee is charged at the reduced early bird rate of £25 per entry.

  • Standard Rate – after 13 February 2019 and until the final submission deadline on 13 March 2019, the entry fee is £35.

  • Voucher Codes – universities have the option pay for students’ entries. In order to do this, tutors should visit the ‘Tutors’ page on our website and complete the web form to request a voucher code. It is the responsibility of the tutor to distribute the voucher code to students, which they should then enter at the payment point when completing the online submission form.

The RSA is under no obligation to refund payments except under the circumstance of technical error where refunds will be made at the RSA’s discretion.


Aug 2018 – Briefs launch + register your interest online

Mon 14 Jan 2019 – Competition opens for submissions via

Wed 13 Feb 2019, 4 pm GMT – Deadline for ‘early bird’ submissions at reduced entry fee of £25

Wed 13 Mar 2019, 4 pm GMT – Final deadline for online registration + submissions (£35 entry fee)

20 Mar 2019 – Judging begins (2 stages: anonymous shortlisting + interviews with finalists)

May 2019 – Winners announced

Jun 2019 – Awards ceremony

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