An Overview


The three year BA Acting Programme at RCS is one of the best professional actor training programmes in the UK. We accept 24 students with outstanding potential and commitment who are dedicated to a performing career from over 1,800 applicants each year. Graduates of the programme have progressed to work extensively in the industry and alumni includes household names such as Amy Conachan, Laura Donnelly, Sam Heughan, Katie Leung, Richard Madden and James McAvoy.

You will work intensively with our expert teaching staff on developing your skills in acting, voice and movement to equip you for a career in film, television and theatre.

Our movement specialists are trained in Lecoq technique, and will help you acquire some of the best movement for actors in UK actor training, facilitating everything from stagecraft to understanding techniques used in CGI and green screen. You will be working with the Centre for Voice in Performance (the national centre of excellence for teaching, practice, and research) using techniques developed by voice expert Nadine George.

We are the only UK conservatoire that offers training in all performance disciplines and you will have the opportunity to collaborate with your peers, formally and informally, in dance, music, production, and film. As an acting student you will have the opportunity to collaborate on film projects with students from the Film department.

Institution Code:


Programme Code:


UK Deadline:

26 January 2022

International Deadline:

26 January 2022

Programme Structure

You will be introduced to the three disciplines of Acting, Voice and Movement.

In Acting you will explore inner life, observed behaviour, relationships and text.

In Voice, you will be introduced to Nadine George voice work, and explore accents, dialects and your singing voice.

In Movement, you will develop your physical technique through Lecoq-based classes, dance and acrobatics. You will also have classes in Shakespeare, screen and radio technique.

You will explore Shakespeare further through workshops and public performances. You will continue to develop your screen and radio technique, and explore new approaches to theatre-making and new writing.

Second year students are given the opportunity to collaborate with peers to explore new and devised work in the On the Verge festival. A series of workshops will allow you to extend your movement skills in physical theatre, and introduce you to verbatim theatre and new writing.

You will also take part in professional practice classes to develop the essential skills required for the acting industry.

You will perform to public audiences in a variety of genres including modern adaptations of classic plays, contemporary texts and modern adaptations of classic plays and contemporary texts, as well as participating in radio and screen projects.

You will have the opportunity to perform in industry showcases to an audience of employers, casting directors and agents.

Through the course of your final year, you will develop your employability and entrepreneurial skills, equipping you to manage your career as a professional actor.

Additional staff and visiting lecturers

Regular visiting lecturers and industry professionals

  • Mark Stevenson (Acting)
  • John Kazek (Acting)
  • Lucianne McEvoy (Acting)
  • Kerry McLellan (Dance)
  • Andrew MacGregor (Shakespeare for Schools)
  • David Hayman Jr (Screen Acting)
  • Kenny Glenaan (Screen Acting)
  • Laura Donnelly (Professional Practice)
  • Simone Pereira Hind (Professional Practice)
  • Sophie Holden (Professional Practice)
  • Raymond Short (Stage Combat)

Visiting directors

  • Sara Brodie
  • Peter Collins
  • Debbie Hannan
  • Finn den Hertog
  • Guy Hollands
  • Matthew Lenton
  • Becky Hope Palmer
  • Mark Thomson
  • Meghan Tyler

Masterclasses and international workshops

  • Paola Rizza (Lecoq School)
  • Nadine George (Voice Centre International)
  • Giles Havergal (Shakespeare)
  • Dominic Hill (Shakespeare)

Why choose us?

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is in the World Top 10 for performing arts education 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020 and 2021 (QS World Rankings)

  • 85% of graduates secured agent representation within one month of graduation in 2019
  • Industry showcases in Glasgow and London
  • New York Industry Week for North American students
  • Excellent staff-student ratio
  • Small class sizes with 12 students per class
  • Specialist voice training based on the work of Nadine George
  • Specialist movement training based on the work of Jacques Lecoq
  • Recent masterclasses include Mercy Ojelade, Giles Havergal CBE, Paola Rizza, Anne Bérélowitch, Finn den Hertog and Vicky Manderson
  • International exchange opportunities include programmes with the Paris Conservatoire, Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and the Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts
  • International performing opportunities; students have recently performed in festivals in Spoleto (Italy), Rome, Paris, St Petersburg and Brno (Czech Republic)
  • Opportunity to participate in the Sam Wannamaker Festival at the Globe Theatre, the BBC Carleton Hobbs Radio competition and Royal Shakespeare Company workshops


Industry Partnerships

Our unrivalled professional connections result in numerous work opportunities for our students. Collaborative professional partnerships include the BBC, the National Theatre of Scotland, and the Citizens Theatre.

In your final year you are actively encouraged to seek professional work. As well as aiming to give you a full practical training, our goal is to prepare you for a long and successful career. We focus on developing you as a creative artist, giving you a sound grounding to continue that development throughout your working life. You will undertake professional development modules, ensuring that you graduate as a truly entrepreneurial industry-ready actor, with all the contacts you need, and a great deal of professional experience.

International Partnerships

You will have the opportunity to participate in our European and International activities. Recently these have included performances at the European Young Theatre at the Festival Dei Due Mondi, Spoleto (Italy), the International Festival of Theatre Schools SETKANI/ENCOUNTER in Brno (Czech Republic) and the World Theatre Games in St Petersburg (Russia).

You can take advantage of our participation in the Erasmus scheme and our exchange agreements with Carnegie Mellon University, Pennsylvania (USA) and Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA).

In addition we are a member of the European Union of Theatre Schools and Academies (E:UTSA) which provides numerous possibilities for student-led work to be shared with our European partners.

Graduate Destinations


Our graduates work in all aspects of the performance industry, primarily as professional actors in theatre, film, television and radio. Many household names have studied with us including James McAvoy, Sam Heughan, Katie Leung,  Alexandra Silber, Mark Bonnar, Emun Elliott, Laura Donnelly, John Hannah, Richard Madden, Colin Morgan, Pearl Appleby, Daniela Nardini, Crystal Clark, Jack Lowden, Amy Conachan, Robert Carlyle, Michelle Gomez, Billy Boyd and Ncuti Gatwa.

You can see our graduates and alumni perform at The Royal National Theatre London, National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Shakespeare Company, The Globe, London West End, Broadway, Citizens Theatre Glasgow, Tron Theatre Glasgow, Oran Mor Glasgow, Royal Lyceum Theatre Edinburgh, Dundee Rep, Vanishing Point Theatre Company, Traverse Theatre Edinburgh, The Almeida London, The Gate London, The Royal Court London, Arcola Theatre Company London, The Young Vic London.

BBC (Radio and Screen), Netflix, Channel 4, ITV, STV, and film production companies are also regular employers of our graduates.

Acting graduates are also found in a range of other influential roles in the industry, working as agents, directors, casting directors, writers, producers and educators.


Sam Heughan

Anneika Rose

Alan Cumming

Richard Madden

Robert Carlyle

Jack Lowden

Colin Morgan



2020 started and ended on a high note for actor Anna Russell-Martin, read our article to discover what Anna has been working on since graduating.


Admissions process

Our admissions processes are designed to be fair, transparent and efficient. The audition/interview approach serves the dual nature of allowing the panel to assess first-hand an applicant’s suitability for their chosen programme and it also affords the applicant the opportunity to gain a deeper insight into the nature of that programme and the opportunities offered by the RCS.

In arriving at its recommendation, the audition/interview panel will take account of all aspects of the applicant’s profile i.e.:

  • Performance at audition/interview
  • Commitment to the particular programme
  • Potential to benefit from the programme
  • Academic qualifications
  • Personal statement
  • Performance qualifications
  • Performance/practical experience
  • References
  • Contextualised data
General academic entrance requirements


  • Scottish Highers — 3 passes (grade C or above)
  • A Levels — 2 passes
  • International Baccalaureate — minimum score of 24 with 3 subjects at Higher Level
  • Recognised equivalences (EU and International Entry Requirements)

We welcome the Scottish Baccalaureate and will accept combinations of Highers and Advanced Highers.

We offer a flexible approach to students taking Higher over more than one academic year and/or who achieve their qualifications in more than one sitting.

Language of study

The language of study is English. Applicants whose first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. We accept the International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Level 7.5 with a score of speaking 7.5 (with no component below 5.5) is required.

Direct entry

Applications for direct entry beyond Year 1 will be considered on a case-by-case basis and in accordance with the Royal Conservatoire’s Recognition of Prior (Experiential) Learning policy. If you wish to apply for direct entry, please mark the point of entry on UCAS Conservatoires application as 2 or 3.

Non-standard entry

We welcome applications from individuals whose academic qualifications or English language qualifications do not match (in terms of equivalence) or fall short of the normal entrance requirements, where specified*. Having satisfied the Audition Panel that they meet the selection criteria and demonstrated that they have the capacity to pursue the proposed course of study, such applicants will be considered through examination of contextualised data provided in accordance with the Non-Standard Entry Policy. The appropriate Head of Department/ Programme will make a case in support of the applicant for consideration by the Directors of the Schools and Convener of the Quality and Standards Committee.

*Note that UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) imposes minimum English Language qualifications in respect of international (non-EU) applicants who require a Tier 4 Visa to study in the UK.

Mature students

RCS welcomes applications from mature students, i.e. students over the age of 21 at entry to the programme. Whilst the selection procedures will still be applied, consideration will be given to appropriate artistic experience not normally expected in school leavers, which is deemed to compensate for any lack of traditional entrance qualifications.

Successful mature applicants, as for all other applicants, must convince auditioning panels that they have the ability and potential to cope with the demands of the programme. Their progress, especially in the early stages of the programme, will be closely monitored and appropriate advice and support given.


Apply via UCAS Conservatoires

Applications are made through UCAS Conservatoires website. The UCAS Conservatoires application system is separate from the main UCAS undergraduate application system. If you wish to apply to conservatoires and universities within UCAS, you will need to register for both services.

There is a UCAS application fee of £26.50 to register to use UCAS Conservatoires.

To begin a new UCAS Conservatoires application, you will need to register. You can read the UCAS Conservatoires’ advice on completing the UCAS Conservatoires application.

If you need assistance with your application, you can contact UCAS Conservatoires team by telephoning (Monday to Friday, 8.30 — 18.00). Phone 0371 468 0470 from within the UK or +44 330 3330 232 if you are calling from overseas.

Application deadline date

The closing date for all on-time BA Acting applications is 26 January 2022.  If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that your audition recording will be reviewed by the audition panel. If you do want to submit a late application, you must contact in the first instance to check we are accepting late applications.

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2023, you must apply next year.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland institution code is R58.

You will also require the following programme code to apply:

BA Acting: W410 — Drama Performance

Application fee

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £26.50. In addition to the application fee, each conservatoire charges an audition assessment administration fee. For RCS, the audition assessment administration fee is £55 per programme applied for. Fees are not refundable. The fees are paid via the UCAS Conservatoires website and not directly to RCS.

Audition Assessment Administration fee

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland charges an audition assessment administration fee of £55 per course.

We recognise that auditioning and interviewing for conservatoires, drama and ballet schools can be costly. The audition assessment administration fee charge allows us to offer a thorough and positive experience to all applicants and we encourage you to get in touch to ask the panel questions and find out more about the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland to see if it is the best place for you.

We are committed to ensuring fair access to a conservatoire education for students who have the talent and potential to benefit from it, regardless of their background. In support of this, audition fee waivers are offered to applicants whom financial hardship may be a barrier to auditioning. Please see the audition fee waivers document for more information.


It is your responsibility to ask two separate referees to write references and ensure that these are sent to RCS.

The references must be written by two different people and we will not accept references from family, other relatives or close friends. You can submit your UCAS Conservatoires application form and send your references at a later date, but they must be received prior to your audition date.

UCAS Conservatoires provides reference forms for you to download and send to your referees for completion.

Selection process

For September 2022 entry, we are currently planning for our first round auditions to take place online, with the option (for recalled applicants) to be auditioned in-person at auditions in Glasgow, London and Manchester. We will continue to offer auditions in an online format for those who are not able to travel to an in-person audition. We have many years of experience of conducting online auditions and have a well-established format and process in place, so no applicant will be disadvantaged by auditioning in this manner. We will continue to respond to ongoing governmental guidance as to how we can hold in-person auditions in a way that is safe for our applicants as well as staff, and these will be subject to change dependent on alterations in governmental advice.

The deadline for all applicants is 26 January 2022. If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that it will be reviewed.


Our BA Acting auditions consist of three rounds in total. The first round is online for all applicants, and the subsequent two rounds can be either online or in-person dependent on your personal circumstances. We have many years of experience of conducting online auditions and have a well-established format and process in place, so no applicant will be disadvantaged by auditioning in this manner. We will continue to respond to ongoing governmental guidance as to how we can hold in-person auditions in a way that is safe for our applicants as well as staff, and these will be subject to change dependent on alterations in governmental advice.


First Round Auditions (Online) 

Firstly, set up an account using Acceptd. You will not be required to submit any audition recordings; but please enter the details of your prepared speeches and the other requested information here for review well in advance of your live audition.

For your live online audition, please prepare two contrasting speeches, between 1 and a half minutes and 2 minutes in length, for your first round (online) audition. The panel will see both pieces and may re-direct one of your speeches. A short interview will follow. Please allow up to 30 minutes for your audition slot in total. 

Choice of monologue (speech)

One of your audition pieces can be a classical speech from the Elizabethan/Jacobean time period. This could be from Shakespeare or one of his contemporaries. The other speech can be a modern/contemporary* piece of your own choice. If you prefer, you can also choose two modern/contemporary* speeches.

Each speech should be no less than one and a half minutes and no more than two minutes.

Read plenty of plays in order to find the best speeches for you. The panel may ask you about the play as well as the monologue you have chosen to perform. Try to find a character with whom you identify – she/he/they do not have to be similar to you, but you should be able to empathise with the thoughts, feelings and actions implied by the text. Take plenty of time to prepare. Read the whole play a number of times. Learn the words perfectly and rehearse the pieces thoroughly. Do not change your mind at the last minute and try to prepare a new choice without adequate preparation time. As you prepare, consider carefully what kind of person the character is, what they want to achieve, and how they go about getting what they want. Why do they say those particular words at that moment – how do they want to change the attitude or behaviour of the listener?  What kind of tactics do they use?

 *The modern/contemporary monologue

It is safe to consider anything written in the latter half of the twentieth century onwards to be contemporary. However, even a period play written in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century -if it has been adapted by a living playwright – is considered as contemporary. So for example – Inua Ellam’s adaptation of Anton Chekhov’s Three Sisters or Zinnie Harris’ adaptation of Strindberg’s Miss Julie would both be fine. A good rule is if the playwright is alive, or could theoretically still be alive if they died young, then you can consider the work as contemporary. Of course, finding a speech from a relatively new work (e.g. from the last ten years or so) gives us some indication of your knowledge, understanding and passion for theatre today, so the more recent the work, the better.

Further Audition/Interview Rounds – in-person or online

If you are recalled to further rounds of auditions/interviews, you can choose for this to take place in person or online.  If you select ‘in-person’, this means that we may schedule a further audition/interview at RCS in Glasgow, or in a UK city nearer to you, so long as it is safe to do so.  If you are then offered an in-person audition/interview, you will still have the opportunity to opt for an on-line option at that time.  Please note that both methods of audition are equally considered by the panel and you will not be disadvantaged based on whether your audition/interview is conducted in person or online.


Second Round Auditions (In-person or Online)

This audition will be in two parts:-

Part 1: Group Workshop 

The second round audition will take up to two hours and will begin with a group warm-up. You will then be asked to work with a partner on a scene, which will have been emailed to you in advance. You will have been asked to learn the role assigned to you in advance. Your scene will then be re-directed by a member of the panel. After your scene work, you will have the opportunity to meet a recent BA Acting graduate for a short Q&A session.

Part 2: Individual Audition 

You will be sent a selection of speeches in advance. You will be asked to choose, prepare and learn one of those speeches. In your individual audition you will be asked to perform your chosen speech. One of the panel may redirect this piece. There will then be a short interview. This audition/interview will take up to 30 minutes.


Final Round Auditions (In-person or online) 

If you are recalled to the final round, you will be invited to an audition and interview with the Head of Acting and the Associate Head of Acting. This will take up to 30 minutes. You can choose to have this audition in-person or online. You will not be disadvantaged based on whether your audition/interview is conducted in-person or online.

Following your audition

All decisions will be posted on UCAS Conservatoires following your audition via UCAS Conservatoires Track,  (you will need your username and password). You will also receive notification from UCAS Conservatoires when decisions on all your choices are available.

Please see below for an explanation of UCAS Conservatoires codes:

Guaranteed Unconditional (GU) RCS is satisfied from the information you have given, that you have already met the conditions for entry. Unless your application and/or qualification are subsequently shown to be fraudulent, a guaranteed unconditional offer is binding.

Guaranteed Conditional (GC) RCS has made the offer subject to you meeting certain conditions such as examination results. Conditions can be viewed via UCAS Conservatoires Track. Unless your application and/or qualifications are subsequently shown to be fraudulent, the offer is binding if you accept the offer and meet the conditions. You must meet the conditions of the offer by 31 August, unless an earlier date is specified. If your conditions include obtaining IELTS (English Language test), you must meet this condition by 31 May.

Reserve Unconditional (VU) RCS is satisfied from the information you have given, that you have already met the conditions for entry and you have been offered a place on our reserve pool.

Reserve Conditional (VC) RCS has offered a place on its reserve pool subject to you meeting certain conditions such as examination results. Conditions can be viewed via UCAS Conservatoires Track.

Unsuccessful (R) RCS does not wish to offer you any type of a place.

Reserve outcomes

If you have received a ‘reserve’ outcome, it means that RCS is not able to offer you a guaranteed place at the time of making our decision.

A ‘reserve’ outcome indicates that RCS would like the opportunity to review its outcome to you in the light of acceptances/declines to its guaranteed offers.

You will become part of a ‘pool’ of ‘reserve’ candidates and RCS may choose to make you a guaranteed offer if a suitable place becomes available. Reserve does not mean that a place has been ‘reserved’ for you.

If RCS chooses not to make you a guaranteed offer, you will not have a place to start at RCS.
If you have been given a ‘reserve’ outcome, in order to be considered for a guaranteed place (should one become available) you will need to accept the outcome (and meet any conditions if applicable).

Reserve outcomes remain active until the end of August. The decision to wait and see whether a guaranteed place becomes available, or to accept an offer at another conservatoire is entirely at your discretion. As soon as your situation changes, this is updated on UCAS Conservatoires.

Replying to offers

As soon as a decision is made, UCAS Conservatoires will let you know. You must reply online via UCAS Conservatoires Track. Your reply date is displayed on Track. If you do not reply by the date given, your offers will be declined automatically. The reply date may be different to other applicants as it is based on when you receive your last decision.

Last decision by Your reply date is
3 January 2022 1 February 2022
15 March 2022 12 April 2022
15 May 2022 1 June 2022
12 July 2022 29 July 2022
2 August 2022 8 September 2022

Please see the UCAS Conservatoires website for more information on replying to offers. If you make an application through UCAS Conservatoires, UCAS or UCAS Teacher Training, you cannot hold more than one confirmed place. A confirmed place in UCAS Conservatoires is a guaranteed unconditional offer as your first choice (GU1) and in UCAS and UCAS Teacher Training it is an unconditional firm (UF) place. If you receive more than one confirmed place, UCAS will ask you to accept one offer and withdraw from any others.


We have a number of policies and statements which you should read when applying to study at the Royal Conservatoire.

Please select the links below to read each policy.

Fees and scholarship

Information for Scottish students

The Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) will pay tuition fees for all eligible full-time Scottish-based and other non-UK undergraduate EU students, who are studying in Scotland at degree level for the first time. Students should apply to SAAS for payment of tuition fees even if they are not applying for any other means of support. Eligible students can also apply for student loans through SAAS. For further advice and to check eligibility contact SAAS directly on 0300 555 0505 or visit the SAAS website.

Information for Rest of UK students

Students from England, Wales and Northern Ireland studying in Scotland will be eligible for the same funding/loan package that they would benefit from if they attended an institution in their home country. For further advice please visit student finance England , student financeWales , or student finance Northern Ireland as appropriate.

Information for EU students

The Royal Conservatoire is resolutely international in outlook and we celebrate and are enriched by the diversity of our community of students and staff. Students from across the globe are -welcome and valued members of the RCS community and we continue to welcome applicants from across the EU and throughout the world.

QWhat is the fee situation for EU students?

A: On July 9 2020, Scotland’s Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science, Richard Lochhead announced changes to the fee regime for EU students studying in Scotland. From next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.

Q: I’m an EU student looking to start my studies in 2021-22. How does this impact me?

A: From next academic year (21/22) all EU students commencing study in Scotland will pay fees at the International rate.

Only EU nationals who are ‘settled’ or ‘pre-settled’ in the UK will remain eligible to apply for home tuition fees providing they meet the residency conditions.

Other EU nationals and associated groups, starting a course of study in academic year 2021-22 or later, are not eligible to apply to SAAS for tuition fee support.

Because of a long-standing agreement between the UK and Republic of Ireland, new students from the Republic of Ireland starting their studies in 2021-22 will be eligible to pay the rest of UK (RUK) fee and will be able to access a tuition fee loan from SAAS.

Please also see the SAAS website for more information.


Any potential student who auditions for a place at the Royal Conservatoire will automatically be considered for a scholarship. They are awarded on a combination of talent, potential and financial need. More information about Scholarships is available on our Fees and Funding page.

Sources of external funding

For more information about alternative funding sources, including external scholarships and bursaries, please visit Fees and Funding.

The Conservatoire’s International and Student Experience team are available to advise and assist applicants and current students in respect of queries about funding your studies at the Conservatoire. Please email or telephone +44 (0)141 270 8281/ +44 (0)141 270 8223 for further information.

Cost of Living and Associated Programme Costs

Investing in your future is important and you need to consider the cost of your tuition as well as the cost of living during your studies. In addition to tuition fees, it is estimated that you will need between £10,000 and £12,000 per year to live in Glasgow, plus programme costs. Associated programme costs can be found on our Finance page.

Tuition fees for academic year 2021-22

Scottish Students


Rest of UK (RUK) Students


International (including EU)


Audition Stories

Associate Head of Drama Ali de Souza and Professional Practice Lecturer Vanessa Coffey reminisce about their past auditions – both good and bad!

Emun Elliott: Looking Forward

Edinburgh-born actor Emun Elliott talks about life at RCS, his new film releases and shares words of wisdom with the next generation.