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MMus/MA Conducting

Our conducting programmes provide you with the comprehensive and integrated training required of a professional conductor. 

Overview

You will concentrate on the technique and craft of conducting through diverse practical experience with the Royal Conservatoire orchestras, our opera department, and various classical and contemporary ensembles. 

Our extensive professional links in Glasgow and across Scotland offer unmatched opportunities to work with and observe the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Red Note Ensemble, the Orchestra of Scottish Opera and the Scottish Chamber Orchestra. Students at the RCS have masterclasses each year under the guidance of Professor Martyn Brabbins and other conductors with the BBC SSO and RSNO. 

Under the guidance of Professor Martyn Brabbins and Conducting Lecturer Michael Bawtree, you will have individual and group lessons, aural classes, discussion forums with industry professionals and the chance to engage with the extensive and varied opportunities that Glasgow – Scotland’s largest and most musically vibrant city – has to offer. 

In addition to the MMus/MA programme, the Royal Conservatoire also offers a highly prestigious two-year Conducting Fellowship. 

The important details

UK Applicant Deadline:
2nd October 2024

International (including EU) Applicant Deadline:
1st December 2024

Institution Code:
R58

Programme Code:
MA - 892F / MMus - 840F

Audition Fee:
£65.00

Application Fee:
£28.50


Welcome to Conducting

Watch our short video for an introduction to the Conducting programme at RCS.

We spoke to some current conducting students about what makes RCS special and how their time here has prepared them to graduate into a career in the industry.

Why Study Conducting at RCS?

Extensive Professional Links


You will have access to unmatched opportunities to observe and collaborate with the country’s major orchestras, such as the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Scottish Opera and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. Close links with the national companies mean you will have the opportunity to build a strong professional network 

Focused and Interdisciplinary Activities


Our programme is flexible and offers you a clear focus on performance, with substantial scope for both interdisciplinary collaboration and intellectual and academic challenges. You will also participate in regular aural classes dedicated solely to conductors. 

International Recognition


You will join our long list of successful graduates. Our conductors consistently achieve success in international competitions, including the Solti Competition, the James Conlon Conducting Prize at the Aspen Music Festival and the Augsburg International Conductors’ Competition.

Meet the Staff

Graduate Destinations

Our conducting students have won the Marko and Salzburg Nestlé competitions, were second prize winners in the Solti and Princess Astrid competitions, and our last two Fellows have Assistantships with the RSNO and Czech Philharmonic. 

Alumni include: 

  • Konstantinos Terzakis – Assistant Conductor, City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra 
  • Fergus Macleod – Recipient of the English National Opera Charles Mackerras Fellowship 
  • Ciarán McAuley – Resident Conductor of the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra 
  • Jessica Cottis – Previously Assistant at the Sydney Symphony, and now Principal Conductor of the Glasgow New Music Expedition
  • Simon Proust – 2nd Prize Princess Astrid Competition 2018 
  • Ryan Bancroft – Malko Competition Winner 2018, Principal Conductor of BBC National Orchestra of Wales
  • Kerem Hasan – Salzburg Nestlé Competition Winner 2017 
  • Holly Mathieson – Assistant Conductor, Royal Scottish National Orchestra
  • Jirí Rožen – Assistant Conductor, Czech Philharmonic 
  • Kerem Hasan – Chief Conductor, Tiroler Symphony Orchestra 

Programme Structure

Principal Study 1 – 80 Credits 

  • Group/Individual Conducting Lessons 
  • Assessed Portfolio of Conducting Work 

Supporting Studies 1 – 30/20/10 Credits 

  • Negotiated departmental activities, such as conductors’ ensemble, masterclasses, repertoire classes and external projects 

Practice Research – 10 Credits 

  • Research Project 

Options – 0/10/20 Credits 

  • Range of optional classes drawn from School of Music and School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film

Negotiated Study – 60 Credits 

  • Individual Composition, Performance or Academic Project 

Principal Study 2 – 90 Credits 

  • Group/Individual Conducting Lessons 
  • Assessed Portfolio of Conducting Work via External Examination 

Supporting Studies 2 – 30/20/10 Credits 

  • Negotiated departmental activities, such as conductors’ ensemble, masterclasses, repertoire classes, and external projects 

Options – 0/10/20 Credits 

  • Range of optional classes drawn from School of Music and School of Drama, Dance, Production and Film

The MMus is the standard two-year programme undertaken by most students. 

The MA is a shortened version of the program for students who wish to get a Master’s degree in a single year of study. 

The first three terms of the MMus and MA are identical: MA students complete a further module in term 4 to complete the degree in a single year. There is no difference in the degrees: both concentrate mainly on performance rather than academic work. 


Entry Requirements

Academic Requirements

Candidates for both the MMus and MA are normally expected to hold a good honours (at least 2:2) degree, or its overseas equivalent, in a subject area relevant to the demands of the programme. 

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. 

Direct entry 

Applications for direct entry beyond Year 1 will be considered on a case-by-case basis and following 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 the UCAS Conservatoires application as 2. 


Fees & Funding

Tuition fees

  • Scotland: £12,870 
  • International: £27,467 

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 program codes to apply: MA – 892F / MMus – 840F

The closing date for UK on-time applications is 2nd October 2023 and for International applications 1st December 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 admissions@rcs.ac.uk 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.

Policy

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.

References

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.

Audition Information

After making an application through UCAS, applicants should submit a video recording by 2 October 2023/1 December 2023 for shortlisting.

Recorded auditions can be submitted online using Accept’d.  

If you submit your audition recording after the dates listed, we cannot guarantee the review of your recording by the audition panel.  

Your video footage should be:

  • Between 20-25 minutes
  • Include extracts from at least two contrasting works showing you in rehearsal and performance

Shortlisted applicants will be invited to attend an online interview in January with further in-person auditions being held in March. In the first round of the audition procedure, applicants will normally be required to conduct a work with piano. 

Please note that the Conservatoire is obliged to offer one audition recording per application. If you are unable to submit your audition recording by the deadline date above, you must email us immediately stating the reason. 

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 

A ballerina wearing a teal dress jumps over the Kelpies monuments in Scotland during a grey day.

World Top Ten


We were voted one of the world’s Top Ten destinations to study the performing arts (QS Rankings) in 2024, the eighth time we have been placed in the top ten since the ranking was established in 2016.