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 pyschologists, 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 2022

International Deadline:

31 March 2022


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.


  • Study at a world top 10 conservatoire
  • A pioneering degree
  • Flexible study options
  • Join a community of artists

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


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)
General academic entrance requirements

There are no formal qualification requirements for admission. Each candidate’s ability to fulfil the above brief holistically will be considered with due regard for experience, qualifications, potential and readiness for master’s level study, and any other relevant factors.

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 7.5 in speaking) is required.

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

Applications to the programme should be made via 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.

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 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. The audition assessment administration fee for this programme is £65. 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.

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. With the safety of our students, applicants and staff as our priority, all interviews will take place online until further notice. 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 May 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 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 2021

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 of up to £3,400. 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 up to £4,500 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 of up to £11,222 (in 2020/2021) 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 of up to £5,500 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. The total support available to an eligible student is £17,000. A grant of up to £6,885 is available, depending upon household income. The balance of support is a loan.

Support comprises of the following elements:

  • A non-means-tested contribution to costs base grant of £1,000 is available to all eligible students. ï‚·
  • An additional means-tested contribution to costs grant of £5,885 is available to eligible students with a household income of up to £18,370 per annum. For every £6.937 of household income per annum above this threshold, the amount of additional means-tested grant will be reduced by £1.
  • A non-means-tested contribution to costs loan is available to all eligible students. The amount of loan available will be equal to the level of total support (£17,000 in 2019/20) less the total grant (base grant plus additional grant) a student is eligible for.

For part-time study, support is allocated over the number of years the course is studied. Support is capped in each academic year; for example, £17,000 for a one year course, £8,500 per year for a course lasting two years and £4,250 per year for a course lasting four years. Full-time courses between one and two years are eligible for support. Part-time courses of up to four years are eligible for support.

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.

Q: What 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 the 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 UK fee.


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 2021-22



Rest of UK (RUK) Students


International (including EU)


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.