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BMus (Hons) Joint Principal Study

Our BMus (Hons) Joint Principal Study programme balances strong practical experience in two disciplines with professional development, preparing aspiring performers for a career as a working musician. This pathway enables students with exceptional potential in two disciplines to pursue these in parallel at degree level.


The BMus (Hons) Joint Principal Study (JPS) pathway at the RCS is a specialist four-year pathway that enables students with exceptional potential in two disciplines to pursue these in parallel at degree level. It is strongly practical and vocational in purpose, with most of your study time devoted to activities in the two principal study areas, but this is substantially complemented by a core curriculum in professional skills development, research skills, and development of critical and reflective thinking.  

The programme’s structure and content are designed to allow you to develop the full range of your creative and technical abilities and to equip you with the professional skills and knowledge that will enable you to pursue your musical interests and aspirations to the highest level. The BMus Programme offers a unique opportunity for you to immerse yourself in a creative and supportive environment dedicated to the study and practice of music in a multidisciplinary setting that includes dance, drama, film and production programmes alongside music. Our aim for our graduates is to prepare you for both postgraduate study and professional employment as performers, teachers, and in other careers as part of the portfolio career common within the contemporary music profession. 

JPS is a demanding programme and students taking this study additional credits (140 credits per year instead of the usual 120). At the end of each academic year, students on JPS will be asked if wish to continue on that route, or to specialise in one or other of their Principal Studies. To continue on the Joint Principal Study pathway, students must normally achieve a specified mininum grade for each Principal Study module; failure to achieve this level in both Principal Studies will normally result in the student being required to pursue the better Principal Study as a ‘single study’ (i.e. transfer to the Performance/ Composition/ Jazz route). 

The JPS pathway includes Conducting as a principal study. Applicants will need to demonstrate an existing level of achievement in this area in order to be considered for the Conducting pathway. Conducting cannot be taken as a “single study” pathway if a JPS student later transfers away from the Joint Principal Study pathway. 

The important details

UK Applicant Deadline:
2 October 2023

International (including EU) Applicant Deadline:
1 December 2023 (2 October 2023 for Keyboard principal study)

Institution Code:

Programme Code:

Audition Fee:

Application Fee:

Principal Studies

Students on the BMus (Hons) Joint Principal Study pathway can choose their joint principal studies from the following departments/pathways:

Programme Structure

In year 1 your studies are divided between your principal study (e.g. your specific instrument, or composition), and a range of other modules that building knowledge, skills and experience relevant for a professional musician.

Principal study/Supporting studies – this includes your one-to-one tuition on your instrument, voice or in composition and a range of supporting studies in your department (e.g. Keyboard, Brass, Composition, etc.) including classes, workshops, masterclasses and large ensemble work. You also begin to develop your reflective skills in relation to understanding your strengths and development opportunities.

Core Curriculum Studies (CCS) in Musicianship and History (contextual studies) – weekly classes on ear training, harmony, music theory, analysis, music history, and skills in research and writing.

Professional skills – an introduction to some of the skills required to enter the profession; and an introduction to working as a music leader in educational and community settings

Creative Citizenship – an introduction to the cultural, artistic, political, and educational context of learning in a Higher Education Performing Arts institution, equipping you with understandings and skills which enable you to be resilient, pro-active, compassionate, and ethical collaborators and peers within this context.

Module Breakdown

  • Principal Study 1: 60 Credits
  • Supporting Studies 1: 10 credits
  • Contextual Studies 1: 10 credits
  • Musicianship 1: 10 credits
  • Creative Citizenship: 10 credits
  • Introduction to Professional Skills for Musicians: 10 credits
  • Music Leadership: 10 credits

Principal study/Supporting studies – as in year 1, this includes your one-to-one tuition on your instrument, voice or in composition and a range of supporting studies in your department (e.g. Keyboard, Brass, Composition, etc.) including classes, workshops, masterclasses and large ensemble work. You continue to develop your reflective skills in relation to understanding your strengths and development opportunities.

Core Curriculum Studies (CCS) in Musicianship and History (contextual studies) – weekly classes on more developed ear training, harmony, music theory, analysis, music history, and skills in research and writing. This includes an introduction to extended compositional techniques, and a specific historical focus on music post-1900.

Professional skills – in year 2, the professional skills module focuses specifically on the pedagogy of your own discipline and the skills and knowledge of an effective teacher. an introduction to more of the skills required to enter the profession.

IXP modules – you choose a 10 credit IXP module from our catalogue of more than 30 choices. These modules provide you with learning opportunities outside of your core-curriculum within a community of learners from across the Conservatoire. Modules vary from year to year but currently include a wide range of topics such as Gamelan, Kodaly, Experimental Improvisatory Practices, Mindfulness, Community Music, Writing for the Screen and British Sign Language.

Module Breakdown

  • Principal Study 2: 60 Credits
  • Supporting Studies 2: 20 credits
  • Contextual Studies 2: 10 credits
  • Musicianship 2: 10 credits
  • Interdisciplinary and Extended Practice (IXP): 10 credits
  • The Teaching Musician: 10 credits

Principal study/Supporting studies – as in BMus1 and 2, this includes your one-to-one tuition on your instrument, voice or in composition; a range of supporting studies in your department; and continuing reflections on strengths and development opportunities.

Professional skills – in BMus3, the focus is on how to approach a freelance career and on planning a project related to your life after graduation.

Core Curriculum Studies (CCS) – in BMus3, you will choose two an elective topics, one from those offered in Musicianship and one in Contextual Studies. While the topics on offer will vary from year to year, typical choices include Musicianship electives in Orchestration, Advanced Aural Skills, ARSM Teaching Diploma, Introductions to Jazz or Folk Ensembles and free Composition; Contextual Studies choices include the study of topics ranging from Beethoven’s String quartets to A History of Scotland in 100 Tunes; from Performance Practice to The Beatles; from film and television music to Music Psychology.

IXP modules – you choose another 10 credit IXP module from the catalogue: this might be the continuation at a higher level of a topic you began last year, or a completely new topic.

Module Breakdown

  • Principal Study 3: 60 Credits
  • Supporting Studies 3: 20 credits
  • Contextual Studies Electives: 10 credits
  • Musicianship Electives: 10 credits
  • Interdisciplinary and Extended Practice (IXP): 10 credits
  • The Freelance Musician: 10 credits

Principal study/Supporting studies – as in previous years, this includes your one-to-one tuition on your instrument, voice or in composition; a range of supporting studies in your department.

Research Paper – the research paper is a small, student-directed project that brings together the reflective skills developed in Principal Study in years 1 to 3 with the research skills developed in Contextual Studies. The paper explores a topic of your own choice that is of direct relevance to your own interests and development as a musician, supported by a supervising tutor.

Options: Professional Development options – as a culmination of the professional skills modules in years 1-3, you will undertake a project related to your career after graduation. Choices here include a public performance, a professional composition project, work in music education or community music, a business project or another project of your own design.

Other options – In addition to the project module you may also take either another IXP module, or a Musicianship or Contextual Studies elective that you did not take in year 3.

Module Breakdown

  • Principal Study 4: 60 Credits
  • Supporting Studies 4: 15 credits
  • Research Paper: 15 credits
  • Professional Development Options: 20 credits
  • IXP and Electives: 30 credits

Entry Requirements

Academic 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.

Within the minimum academic entrance requirements listed above, the subject recommended are:

  • Music at Higher, Advanced Higher or Advanced level or equivalent
  • English at Higher, Advanced Higher or Advanced level or equivalent

English language requirements

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 6.0 (with a minimum score of 5.5 in each component) is required of applicants to the School of Music. 

Music requirements

A strong indication of potential is sought at the entrance audition for this programme. Successful applicants will normally be of a standard at least equivalent to Grade 8 with Distinction of the Associated Board of the Royal School of Music in their Principal Study. You can apply and audition without having obtained Grade 8 with distinction, however as an indication only, applicants are normally expected to have reached this standard in their performance.

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. 

Fees & Funding

Tuition fees

  • Scotland: £1,820
  • RUK: £9,250
  • International (including EU): £27,968

Funding & Scholarships

You can find out about the funding and scholarships available for studying at RCS by visiting our dedicated page:

Funding & Scholarships


Cost of Living & Programme Costs

In addition to tuition fees, it is estimated that you will need between £11,200 and £15,300 per year to live in Glasgow, plus programme costs. Much will depend on your lifestyle and whether your course runs for three or four terms. 

Programmes within the School of Music have a range of associated costs related to the specific activities required and advised by the programme team. You can find an indication of these costs below: 

School of Music Programme Costs 

How to Apply

Apply via UCAS Conservatoires

Applications are made through the 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.

You can read our guidance about using UCAS Conservatoires on our dedicated how-to-apply page.

We do not offer deferred entry. If you wish to commence in 2025, you must apply next year.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland institution code is R58.

You will also require the following programme code to apply: 301F, Music – Joint Principal Study (BMus Hons)

The closing date for on-time BMus (Hons) Joint Principal Study applications for UK students is 2 October 2023 and for International students is 1 December 2023, unless you are applying for a principal study in Keyboard, in which case the closing date for ALL on-time applications is 2 October 2023.

If you submit your application after this date, we cannot guarantee that your application 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

Application/Audition fees

There is a UCAS Conservatoires application fee of £27.50. In addition to the application fee, each conservatoire charges an audition assessment administration fee. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland charges an audition assessment administration fee of £65 for this programme.

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 waiver document for more information.


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.


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

Applicants are selected first and foremost on the basis of merit and potential. However, due attention is also paid to the range of Principal Studies accepted in order to ensure the optimum experience for each student and to sustain the critical mass required for curricular activities, such as the symphony orchestra and choral activities.

Please note that the Conservatoire is obliged to offer one audition date per application. If you are unable to submit your application/audition recording by the deadline date above, you must email us immediately stating the reason. We have a specific period allocation to audition and all on time applications will receive a decision before Christmas. If your audition recording is delayed, there is a risk that places will already have been taken and your application may not be considered in the first round of scholarship allocation.

BMus Joint Principal Study (JPS)

The Joint Principal Study pathway is intended to cater for the needs of individuals who are equally accomplished in two Principal Study disciplines (e.g. Flute and Composition, or Trumpet and Conducting, etc.) and who wish to maintain this intense level of dedication in their musical studies. Please note that Conducting is only available as a Joint Principal Study and Jazz Performance is only available in conjunction with Conducting or Composition.

The selection process for applicants applying for Joint Principal Study is the same as that for other applicants; please prepare for two separate in-person auditions, or, for International applicants, please submit your audition recordings via Acceptd for each principal study. Applicants to the Joint Principal Study pathway who are successful in only one of their Principal Studies may be offered a place on the relevant ‘single-study’ pathway (i.e. Performance, Composition or Jazz).

Audition Information

Audition requirements depend on which principal studies you are applying for. You can find these requirements on the individual department/pathway pages below:

Why RCS?

We are the only place in Europe where you can study all of the performing arts on the one campus. There is a distinctive creative energy at RCS and you’ll be made to feel part of our inclusive and diverse environment from the very beginning of your studies.

Our graduates are resourceful, highly employable and members of a dynamic community of artists who make a significant impact across the globe.

At RCS, students develop not just their art but their power to use it.

Find out more 

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