The MA Psychology in the Arts (Music) has been created for students who want to explore the role music plays within our lives and understand its significance, and influence on the human psyche.

This cross-disciplinary programme is the first of its kind in Scotland, and RCS is the only UK conservatoire to offer a Master of Arts postgraduate degree in this rapidly growing area. It has been developed as a part-time, online blended learning programme to enable students from across the globe to study alongside professional commitments.

Health and wellbeing are at the core of this two year programme. Supported by a team of experienced music psychologists, you will explore three key areas of music psychology (developmental, performance and social) and associated research skills before embarking on a bespoke negotiated research project.

The course has been created for people with a strong interest or established practice in music. We are looking for learners who have agency within their own artistic praxis, want to discover the links with psychology, and who wish to make a positive contribution to the world around them. You should be open to new and diverse views and perspectives, and be hungry to share in a dynamic community of creative practitioners where you can be part of emerging conversations designed to shape the future of music psychology research and knowledge exchange.

Students will be encouraged to feel empowered and ready to interrogate their praxis, and evidence and articulate its impact. In doing so, they will be asked to consider the moral, ethical, artistic and cross-disciplinary dimensions within key areas of music psychology.

Institution Code:


Programme Code:


UK Deadline:

31 March 2024

International Deadline:

31 March 2024


In the first year of the programme you will interrogate and evaluate theories in developmental, performance and social psychology.

Module 1

Music and Developmental Psychology: the impact and importance of music in how people grow, change and remain the same over the course of their lifetime.

Module 2

Music and Performance Psychology: examining different dimensions of theory and practice of performance psychology in identity, health and wellbeing, creativity and communication.

Module 3

Music and Social Psychology: exploring the role of music in the social setting and examining its impact on human emotions and behaviours.

Module 1

Second year begins with a research skills module where you will explore methodological approaches, methods and the ethics of research. This module is designed to equip you with the knowledge and skills to develop a research proposal for your own bespoke project.

Module 2

The final module of this programme is the Project module. This provides you with the opportunity to put your theoretical knowledge into practice by carrying out your bespoke research project and demonstrating the impact for you and your professional context.


” An interesting, captivating course with the nicest lecturers – I feel supported and helped through all the work”

– Current MA Psychology in the Arts (Music) student

Online Discovery Sessions

Join members of the MA Psychology in the Arts programme team for a series of free online Discovery Sessions exploring various questions around a central theme. Taking place online, these sessions aim to give your further insight about the MA programme and what it entails.

By taking part in these sessions, you’ll experience how this programme challenges you to reflect on your ideas, beliefs and professional development priorities. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email letting you know how to join the meeting.

Upcoming Sessions – Music and Climate Change:

Note: Each session is run twice a day). Click the corresponding text below to sign up to the session(s).

21st February 2024

13th March 2024

Career opportunities

During your studies, you will gain enhanced skills in critical and analytical analysis, communications skills, collaborative and interpersonal skills and organisational and evaluative skills.  Due to the diverse nature of the programme graduates can explore career opportunities in many areas, including:

  • Academia
  • Music and media
  • Music and advertising
  • Music and arts organisations
  • Music education
  • Arts consultancy
  • Music therapy (with further qualifications)
  • Community music and outreach
  • Business
  • Marketing

” I highly recommend this programme to anyone interested in the music psychology field. The faculty are highly knowledgeable and passionate about their subjects”

– Current MA Psychology in the Arts (Music) student

Virtual Tour

Explore the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in our 360 virtual tour. You’ll be able to see our rehearsal and practice rooms, professional performance venues, production workshops, editing suite, ballet studios and more.


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.

We embrace the principles of widening access and participation and, whilst prior qualifications and experience may be taken into account, our application process also places emphasis on students’ values, potential and readiness for master’s level study.

The application and interview process will take into account:

  • A values-led ethos towards the development of praxis that will make a positive impact for you, your sector and the wider society
  • Current and potential abilities in critical thinking and analysis, and effective communication (potential and readiness for masters level study)
  • Undergraduate degree qualifications or international equivalent in a subject area relevant to the demands of the programme
  • Other relevant learning and / or professional experience deemed to be of equivalency (Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning – APEL)


Applicant entry criteria

As the second cycle of higher education, postgraduate study represents a continuation of learning, training and/or experience rather than a beginning.

However, we recognise that traditional application processes, which show a bias towards prior learning and achievement, can create the perpetuation of existing societal inequities, favouring those who already benefit. For this reason, we embrace the principles of widening access and participation and, whilst prior qualifications and experience may be taken into account, our application process also places emphasis on students’ values, potential and readiness for Master’s level study.

This is in accordance with the RCS Admissions Policy (including the Contextualised Admissions Policy).

In fully supporting learners from diverse backgrounds, students may be required to complete successfully additional modules in criticality and academic writing, offered by the RCS, prior to commencing the Master’s.


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 score (IELTS) (if applicable) Level 7.5 with a minimum score of 7.5 in speaking and with a minimum score of 6.5 in all parts.


Accreditation of Prior and Experiential Learning (APEL)

In some cases, applicants to the programme may already have achieved academic credit on another programme of study and are seeking to reduce the number of modules they will need to study on the programme. Applications for APEL will normally be decided prior to the applicant’s admission to the Royal Conservatoire.

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 Interview 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

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland 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

Apply via UCAS Conservatoires:

Applications are made through UCAS Conservatoires website. The UCAS Conservatoires application system is separate from the main UCAS undergraduate/postgraduate application system.

There is a UCAS application fee of £27.50 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

Please note, the deadline date for this programme is 31 March 2024. 

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. Late applications will be considered on a case by case basis and may not be considered in the first round of scholarship allocation.

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.

Application fee

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 £55 for this programme. Fees are not refundable. The fees are paid via the UCAS Conservatoires website and not directly to RCS.

Audition Assessment Administration fee

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.

Interview process

Successful applicants will be invited for interview. The interview process is designed to provide the Programme Team with an insight into your level of suitability and readiness for study on the programme. All interviews are planned to take place online. A research article will be sent to you ahead of the interview. You will be asked to give a critical response to this article as part of the interview process. In formulating your response, you may wish to consider:

  • The value of the research presented
  • The effectiveness and appropriateness of the methods used to gather data
  • Whether the article offers new insights
  • Any gaps or weaknesses in or of the article

 Applicants will be invited to attend a 25 minute interview. The interview will consist of:

  • Questions from the panel
  • A Critical Response to the research article followed by questions from the panel. The format for this can either be a presentation (with optional accompanying visuals such as PowerPoint) OR reading aloud of a written response

In either case, the response should not exceed 6 minutes duration.

The panel will take account of all aspects of the applicants’ profiles. This will include:

  • Performance at interview
  • Commitment to the programme
  • Potential to benefit from the programme
  • Readiness for masters level study
  • Academic qualifications
  • Personal statement
  • References (2 references from appropriately qualified persons)
  • Contextualised data

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland may require an applicant to provide additional material in support of their application prior to, or following, their interview.


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.

Following your interview

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 2021, unless an earlier date is specified. If your conditions include obtaining IELTS (English Language test), you must meet this condition by 31 July 2021.

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.

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 2024 1 February 2024
15 March 2024 10 April 2024
15 May 2024 5 June 2024
10 July 2024 24 July 2024
1 August 2024 10 September 2024

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 applicants

New Scottish domiciled students may be eligible for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan. All eligible students will be able to apply directly to Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS) for a non-means-tested loan. See the SAAS website for further details of the PSAS scheme.

Scottish domiciled postgraduate students on eligible courses can also apply for a Postgraduate Living Cost Loan to contribute towards living expenses. This is in addition to the existing loan available towards the cost of their tuition fees.

Information for English applicants

Postgraduate students from England can benefit from a postgraduate loan to be used towards tuition fees and/or living costs.

Information for Northern Irish applicants

Students from Northern Ireland may be eligible to apply for a Postgraduate Tuition Fee Loan to help with the cost of their course fees. Please see the Student Finance NI website for more details.

Information for Welsh applicants

From 1 August 2019, students ordinarily resident in Wales (and those from the EU studying at a Welsh institution) may be entitled to a combination of loan and grant as a contribution to costs while studying a postgraduate Master’s degree course. The total amount of support available is non-means-tested and is paid directly to the student. More information can be found on the Student Finance Wales website.

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 2021/22, 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 2024/25. How does this impact me?

A: From academic year 2021/22 onwards, 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 24/25 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 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 our Fees and Funding page.

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.

Tuition fees for academic year 2024/25

You can find tuition fees for entry in September 2024 on our fees and funding page.

Student experience

Find out more about online learning

Masters student Julie Nicholson shares her experience of studying for a Masters at RCS – despite living 7,000 miles away from campus.

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