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Focus issues

All study programmes at the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague share a focus on three issues, that we consider to be fundamental to artistic practice and, therefore, to art education.


As the study programme progresses, students do an increasing amount of research.
Research is intrinsic to the creation of art and four forms of research can be distinguished:

  • Research on art 
  • Research for and for the benefit of art and art practice 
  • Research in and through the arts (artistic research) 
  • Research on social themes and art in relation to other disciplines

These four types of research form part of the departments’ curricula and the academic-wide education programme. Each department incorporates the four types of research in the curriculum in its own way and makes its own choices in relation to research.

Research & Discourse

Research and Discourse is a first-year bachelor’s course that links ‘making’ to ‘thinking’ and puts students in contact with all departments within the academy. It forms part of the academic-wide education programme.

In the course of the first year, students consider different aspects of artistic practice and research. The practice of an artist or designer is all about making, but can there be any making without thinking? This programme asks questions, discusses different visions, and invites students to become informed and reflect, both visually and mentally, on contemporary artistic discourse. They explore their role in the field of art and design and learn how to speak or write about this role.

The Research & Discourse course consists of research seminars and lectures on discourse. It is a compulsory component of the first year of all bachelor’s programmes. Details on the course can be found at the website:

Research Labs

The research labs also form part of the academic-wide education programme for the bachelor’s. Research labs are not mandatory, but are included in the IST programme as electives (see part 1.4.1 Structure of the programmes for more information on the IST programme). In order to explore and deepen the research aspects of the programme and the students’ development in artistic research, we organise a number of ‘research labs’. These labs are experimental and, on the whole, research-based interdisciplinary working groups, offered by one or more departments and/or research domains. In the labs, the research aspects of the programmes are explored and deepened by encouraging students to work together on particular themes with students and teachers from other disciplines.

Electives at Leiden University

Through the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts, students may follow external electives at Leiden University or at the Royal Conservatoire as part of their IST programme (more information on the IST programme). Current information about all the external electives is available in the e-Prospectus:



The Royal Academy of Art The Hague strives to provide an international learning environment for its students, first, by creating an international atmosphere in the building, and second, by encouraging temporary tracks abroad in the form of:
+ study abroad
+ internships

The advantage of a temporary track abroad is that it brings students into contact with different cultural and living environments and teaching methods. Students also learn to function in an international context, which will benefit their future careers.

Through a variety of mobility programmes, the European Union (EU) and the Dutch government offer a number of grants for students to follow part their programme or internship or conduct research abroad. In most cases, the foreign residency takes place in the third year of the programme. The length of stay varies from three months to a full academic year.

Doing an internship is an obligatory part of the study programme in most departments. All students wanting to do an internship within the EU can make use of the Eramsus+ programme scholarship. Internships usually take between two and six months.


  • Cumulus: The Royal Academy of Art The Hague is a member of the international network of leading art schools, the ‘Cumulus International Association of Universities and Colleges of Art, Design and Media’, This association provides opportunities for projects, among other things. 
  • ELIA: The Royal Academy of Art The Hague is a member of European League of Institutes of the Arts. This association offers many opportunities for students looking to present their art and take part in projects. 



In the course of the study programme, students work their way up to the level of a starting professional. In doing so, they increase the professionalism of their own work in their chosen profession or occupation. The Academy’s educational programmes can be seen as a foreshadowing of future professional practice. Students encounter this practice in various forms throughout their studies and they master its various components.

Almost all teachers have their own professional careers in the field of fine art and/or design. They can directly relate their teaching to their own professional experiences. An introduction to professional practice is part of the first year in all courses. The link with the professional field is made even more explicit through projects, work presentations in internal and external exhibitions, internships (for more information on the Internship procedure see section Procedures in Study Guide 2016/17) and through lectures and workshops. The link is also made during visits to (and participation in) exhibitions and events. In the main phase of the Bachelor’s programmes, there is a strong focus on the position of the student in the professional field and the skills required to take that position successfully. The Royal Academy of Art The Hague offers a mandatory course on Professional Practice Skills, which has a key focus on entrepreneurship.

Professional Practice Skills

Professional Practice Skills is a mandatory education course for third or fourth-year Bachelor’s students (depending on the department) that prepares students for professional practice. With a broad programme that is facilitated by the different departments, we work on developing knowledge and skills in the areas of project management, business development and professionalisation. The students learn how to organise and structure the practical and financial aspects of their own design or art companies/studios. Central themes range from crowdfunding, budget control, budget and project planning to acquisition, marketing and presenting ideas. Key questions include, for example: if you have a strong concept, how can you realise it? How do you get to work on projects as an artist or designer? How does one apply for a grant? What should you do if your artwork is going to be exhibited in a museum? How do you organise a performance? How do you draw up a budget and what should you include in an offer? How do you start working with a partner or other organisations? Students need certain skills in order to be able to answer all these questions, and they need to understand what professional practice entails. The Professional Practice Skills course equips students for the art and design profession and offers insight into how to realise their ideas.

In the coming years, the Royal Academy aims to extend the Professional Practice Skills course to every year in every department. The Academy considers it important that students become familiar with the professional aspects of being an artist or designer, so that by the end of their studies students have sufficient skills to enter the professional workplace.

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Last updated: 2017-05-29

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