Interested in finding out more about this distance learning programme? Come and join our online discovery sessions to learn more about the course and what it entails. By taking part in a focused discussion, we look at how this programme challenges your own ideas, critical analysis and personal development as a performing arts practitioner or educator.
As a participant on the MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Arts programme you will join a vibrant and diverse community sharing in a journey of professional enquiry designed to enhance your practice as an arts educator.
This part-time 180-credit programme provides a unique opportunity for arts educators to upgrade their teaching qualifications and obtain a Masters qualification that has been designed to develop teaching skills for the arts. It is delivered on a part-time basis through a blended learning model, which includes a mix of face-to-face sessions, online sessions, one-to-one tutorials and independent study (distance students can study the programme fully online, accessing the face-to-face sessions through a video conferencing platform).
The MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Arts programme is designed to allow arts education professionals to integrate their studies within their professional teaching contexts. The process of professional enquiry that underpins all modules requires students to engage in a sustained critical analysis of their teaching and arts practice in order to identify and address their own developmental priorities at each stage. The programme culminates in a self-designed, self-generated, major-scale project that is intended to help students make a significant contribution to their learners and their professional sector. As such, we are looking for individuals who are ready to engage their creativity in developing and evolving innovative approaches to their practice as arts educators.
The programme is designed to appeal to individuals who have a role as an arts educator within a formal education context such as a:
- GTCS registered primary teacher*
- GTCS registered secondary teacher*
- Further Education lecturer/tutor**
- Higher Education lecturer/tutor**
- Visiting Guest Tutor in a school
- Instrumental Music Instructor
- Teacher in an International School
- Lecturer/tutor in an International Higher Education context**
- Early Years educator
Or within a UK or International informal context, such as a:
- Community Arts Tutor
- Participatory Arts Tutor
- Private Tutor
- Dance Tutor/Teacher
- Tutor in a pre-HE organisation
- Freelance Teaching Artist
For all participants, the programme can be used to develop knowledge and skills as an arts educator and to build an evidence-base to demonstrate commitment to their professional learning in designing and delivering learning activities.
Who Studies on these Programmes?
Students on the MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Arts programmes typically have an undergraduate arts qualification in one of the following discipline areas:
- Dance (e.g. contemporary, ballet, highland, jazz)
- Drama (e.g. acting, directing, dramaturgy, playwriting)
- Musical Theatre
- Contemporary Performance (e.g. devised theatre)
- Music (e.g. classical, jazz, traditional, contemporary, world, pop, rock, composition)
- Film (e.g. screenwriting, directing, cinematography)
- Production (e.g. set and costume design, scenic art, sound design, production management, costume making, stage management)
- Visual Art (e.g. painting, sculpture, design)
Funded places may be available for Scottish domiciled applicants.
“The MEd has helped shape the way I see my future development as an artist and the importance of engaging in meaningful creative teaching methods.”
*GTCS registered teachers who have a remit for an arts subject within their school teaching context can use this this Education Scotland endorsed masters level programme to build evidence of their commitment to their professional learning as an arts educator. We include the following within our definition of an ”˜arts subject’: music, dance, drama and art and design. The programme is accredited by the GTCS, and upon completion of year two of the programme, GTCS registered students will automatically gain GTCS Professional Recognition in Creative Arts Education. The programme can also be used to build credit towards an application for 2nd Subject Registration in dance, drama, music or art and design.
AdvanceHE and HEA Fellowship
**For lecturers/tutors working in a further or higher education context with learners at SCQF Level 7 or above (or equivalent), this programme leads to Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA).
Applicants who have a role as an arts educator within a formal or informal context where Gaelic is the main language can use this programme to develop their knowledge and skills as an arts educator and to build an evidence-base to demonstrate their commitment to their professional learning as an arts educator working with Gaelic. For students working with Gaelic in a further or higher education context with learners at SCQF Level 7 or above (or equivalent), this programme can lead to Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy.
Three years part-time
The programme is delivered over a three year period, through a combination of online workshops, distance and independent learning, weekend seminars and work placement or work-based learning.
At its core, the programme is primarily concerned with helping arts education professionals engage in a process of active enquiry, and the underpinning structure of the delivery model reflects three distinct types of enquiry:
- Teaching Practice Enquiry
- Arts Practice Enquiry
- Professional Enquiry
The aim of the programme is to encourage you to investigate your teaching practice alongside your arts practice in order to lead towards a significant piece of work in year three that is intended to have an impact within your professional context.
In year one, the focus will be on developing the knowledge and skills required to evidence the quality of your teaching and arts practice. Over this year you will develop a working knowledge of the definitions, conventions and priorities expressed within the arts and arts education, helping you engage with policies, philosophies and practices that are most relevant to your specific context. The submissions will encourage you to use research and critical reflection to ensure that your teaching practices are underpinned by robust evidence both in relation to your subject area, and to appropriate established learning theories.
In year one you will study the following modules:
Teaching the Arts
This is a 30-credit module designed to help you to build an evidence-base to support a critical evaluation of your teaching practices. Having articulated the philosophies, principles and values that underpin your current teaching practice, you will design, deliver and evaluate learning activities, demonstrating how your teaching is underpinned by appropriate and current policies and learning theories, and use feedback from peers and your learners to inform your ongoing development priorities.
Arts Context and Culture
This is a 30-credit module that will engage you in building an evidence-base to demonstrate a critical understanding of your art form. Having articulated the philosophies, principles and values that support your understanding of your arts discipline, your will engage in an enquiry of the social, political, cultural and economic factors that define the context in which it operates. Through this module, you will gain an understanding of how to build a plan for your own development that is built on a robust foundation of relevant literature, resources and discourses in your artform.
In year two, the focus shifts to the ways in which you can engage in a meaningful exploration of your teaching and arts practice in order to challenge preconceptions and to take advantage of innovations in education and the arts. Over this year you will focus on proposing and testing hypotheses designed to advance your practice both as an arts practitioner and arts educator.
The Teacher as Researcher
In this 30-credit module for all students, you will focus on the development of a practice-based research project that will help you explore new and innovating ways in which you might meet the identified needs of your learners. In this module you will explore the impact of your new innovative practices through the ethical use of research data and objective critical analysis, informing your ongoing development as an arts educator.
In this 30-credit module for all students who are not working in a Gaelic-speaking educational context, you will undertake an exploration into your professional arts practice, targeting gaps in your knowledge, your skills understanding of your specific art form. In this self-directed module you will explore a range of self-identified contexts and partnerships to discover and evaluate your learning experiences. At the end of the module you will critically evaluate your experiences in relation to your teaching practices and your ongoing development priorities.
Gaelic Artist Development
In this 30-credit module for all Gaelic speaking students you will undertake an exploration into your professional Gaelic arts practice, targeting gaps in your knowledge, your skills understanding of your specific art form and of your knowledge of Gaelic culture and level of Gaelic literacy. In this self-directed module you will explore a range of self-identified contexts and partnerships to discover and evaluate your learning experiences. At the end of the module you will critically evaluate your experiences in relation to your teaching practices and your ongoing development priorities.
In year three, the focus changes towards an enquiry that is designed to have a significant impact on your learners and the context within which you work.
This 60-credit module is for all students and is designed to provide an opportunity for you to design a unique module of study for yourself that will help you address an established gap in the provision for your learners, and to help you meet your own professional learning priorities. The focus of year three is on the development of a project that brings together the findings from your Arts Practice Enquiry and your Teaching Practice Enquiry. This project is expected to have an impact on your learners at a local level, but may have a broader application and may impact your sector more widely.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is in the World Top 10 for performing arts education 2016, 2017, 2018, 2020, 2021 and 2022 (QS World Rankings)
- A unique programme designed specifically for arts educators
- Opportunity to gain a qualification at Masters level
- Personal supervision and mentoring by expert teachers and artists in the arts
- Opportunities to develop specialist or new skills in your subject discipline or a related subject discipline
- Access to unrivalled performing arts education provision, facilities and, resources
- Opportunity to develop professional knowledge, networks and collaboration opportunities as part of a diverse learning community
“The teaching artist pathway of the MEd in learning and teaching has allowed me to explore my own potential in an enlightening and positive way. I have developed skills I didn’t know I had as well as developing a new and individual look at my own practice within many different creative contexts. The course has given me the confidence to develop, pitch and produce my own workshops and I am excited by my career prospects.”
“The MEd course has been a meaningful transformative experience for me in terms of my personal growth and artistic development. The bespoke nature of the MEd enables you to strategically feed your course work into your current practice or workplace while being offered support to explore, experiment and reflect.”
“As a theatre practitioner in a more rural part of Scotland, the course has been an absolute game-changer for me. I have gone from feeling stuck and isolated to feeling challenged and supported.”
“The MEd course has been a meaningful transformative experience for me in terms of my personal growth and artistic development. The bespoke nature of the Med enables you to strategically feed your course work into your current practice or workplace while being offered support to explore, experiment and reflect.”
“As a theatre practitioner in a more rural part of Scotland, the course has been an absolute game-changer for me. I have gone from feeling stuck and isolated to feeling challenged and supported.”
Head of Postgraduate Learning & Teaching Programmes
- Dr Rachel Drury Lecturer (Post 16 and Community based Arts Education)
- Dr Jill Morgan Lecturer (Early Years to Senior Phase)
- Annie McCourt Lecturer in Arts Education
- Eilidh Slattery Lecturer in Arts Education
- Dr Lio Moscardini Lecturer in Arts Education
- Louise Brown Lecturer in Arts Education
- Emily Chambers Learning Technologist
Successful completion of this qualification provides evidence of your commitment to professionalism to learning and teaching. We expect graduates to progress further in their careers, increase their employability and be able to work in a host of different arts settings.
As a programme that is only open to professional arts educators who already have employment in the sector, graduate destinations are harder to track. Many students on the programme secure promoted roles within their own organisations, or may move to different organisations whilst still studying on the programme. Some students will remain in their original posts, but benefit from enhanced practice and increased recognition and responsibility. In each case, we expect the programme to provide increased professional opportunity to the graduate as they will have built a robust evidence-base of their commitment to the development of their teaching practice. For students with GTCS registration and those gaining HEA Fellowship through the programme, the additional professional recognition shows further evidence of relevant professional development, and is likely to be recognised by existing and potential employers.
The ‘Final Project’ provides a significant opportunity for students to develop and disseminate a major piece of work that contributes to their sector, helping them gain recognition and further their career opportunities. Some graduates from the existing MEd and MA have gone on to further PhD study, continuing their professional/academic enquiry beyond the programme.
Read about MEd in Learning and Teaching in the Arts student Julie Nicholson who studied for the MEd online despite living 7,000 miles away.
Tuition fees for academic year 2024/25
You can find tuition fees for entry in September 2024 on our fees and funding page.
Applicants for the programme normally have a good degree or international equivalent in a subject area relevant to the demands of the programme. It is recognised that some applicants may not have achieved a full degree in a relevant subject area and we will take account of relevant professional experience where it is deemed to be a suitable equivalency.
Applicants seeking to build evidence towards GTCS second subject registration, must already hold full GTCS registration and have a remit for the second subject within their teaching workload. Applicants seeking GTCS Professional Recognition must also hold full GTCS registration.
Applicants seeking Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy (FHEA) must have a remit for teaching in a Further or Higher Education context with learners working at SCQF Level 7 and/or above (or equivalent).
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 5.5 in all parts.
Gaelic speaking students will be required to demonstrate fluency in spoken Gaelic and a basic level of competence in written Gaelic.
Appropriate Prior Learning (APL)
For participants seeking HEA Fellowship, APL will not normally be awarded for the modules that contribute to the award of HEA Fellow, unless they have been achieved on an AdvanceHE accredited programme that is deemed a suitable match.
MEd Graduate and Student Survey Responses 2020
In 2020 we asked our current students and graduates to take an anonymous survey to provide us with some feedback that we thought would be useful for people thinking about making an application.
The first question related to blended-learning. We were interested to know how much experience our students had of blended-learning prior to starting their programme. The following graph shows that 76% of respondents had never experienced blended-learning or had only experienced a small amount.
We asked our recent graduates what they felt about blended-learning now that they had completed their MEd programme.
- “I think that the blended learning has been great and really prepared me well for the COVID age. Due to the demands of my work schedule I did struggle to make as many sessions live online as would have been ideal but being able to link into videos afterwards was always incredibly useful and play catch up within the flexibility that my working schedule allowed.”
- “As a mature student this approach works perfectly for me as I can manage my studies around other professional commitments.”
- “It’s great for fitting in around work commitments.”
We then asked our graduates about how the MEd programme had impacted their professional development.
- “This programme has had a huge impact upon my professional development especially as I developed my practice moving from a primarily creative practitioner to working within an HE Environment. I would have struggled to have made this transition without this programme in terms of building my own understanding of educational pedagogy as well as best practices within academia and research. The reflection upon, and development of my own creative practice was hugely beneficial and has been an important development in my own continued learning journey as a lecturer, creative artist and academic. Equally, I feel my involvement in the programme has hugely benefited my learners through the research I have been able to undertake and implement within my own teaching practice.”
- “The impact was huge. The learning was instantly applicable to my professional context and has unquestionably infused my teaching practice and subsequently my learners’ experiences.”
- “A very positive impact.”
Finally, we asked our graduates about what they would say to a colleague or friend who was considering applying to the programme.
- “Highly recommend undertaking the programme.”
- “The course is an excellent way for all arts educators who wish to deepen their understanding of research pedagogy and their personal artistic context.”
- “Go for it!”
Around 30 of our current students from across all three year groups also undertook the survey. We asked them what impact the programme was having on their professional learning.
Here are some of the responses:
- “A great resource for networking and meeting a like minded community. Further understanding of learning theories and different approaches for delivering material.”
- “It is having a very positive impact at the moment – making me reflect a lot on my role as a teacher/mentor/director and it’s been fascinating to be involved in conversations in class and to get an understanding of people’s different experiences, practices and perspectives. In terms of my learning I really enjoy having autonomy and investigating on my own terms and have thoroughly enjoyed the books and articles I have reading in combination with taught classes and conversations.”
- “It is allowing me to delve deeper into my beliefs as a teacher and I like that I am pushed to critically analyse this with research through a wide variety of reading.”
- “I have become much more motivated to learn and find the professional engagement stimulating.”
- “It’s beginning to have an impact on my daily professional activity when I was beginning to feel slightly stagnant in my practice.”
- “I feel like my teaching has improved and I have found my love for it again.”
- “Making me really think about my own practice. Enjoying having the time to focus on myself rather than always the pupils.”
- “The impact has been overwhelming in as much as I had not realised how far removed I was from my arts practice as teaching had blurred the lines. It has also forced me to be introspective which is both exciting and terrifying in equal measure.”
- “Considerable. I feel that I’m gaining the tools and confidence to make a difference in my field. I have long believed that our style of education fails to embrace the concept of the Individual Learner. I hope to be instrumental in changing this — I’m taking the first steps.”
- “Huge! It is helping to shape and develop ways of working, both in education and in the theatre sector, that are proving interesting to the relevant professionals.”
- “Huge! The blended approach made more massively more digitally literate. The course content has impacted on all my teaching and working practice.”
- “Successfully appointed in a middle manager role.”
- “It is indescribable as to how it has changed me professionally. I am now a Committee member of a Community Theatre Production group in Hong Kong, I have made professional and academic connections, I am more knowledgeable, curious and confident in myself as an actor and a Teaching Artist.”
We asked our students about what they would say to a colleague or friend who was considering applying to the programme.
- “Superb course because it is tailored to the individual.”
- “You will have the space to develop as a facilitator, learn new skills and be guided and the support network of lecturers is brilliant.”
- “Go for it!”
- “Worthwhile and enjoyable course conducted by super tutors.”
- “Absolutely go for it!”
- “Do it!”
- “I have already recommended it to quite a few colleagues and friends, despite my short time on the programme. What I say to them is that the staff team are incredibly professional and inspirational in their approach and in terms of how this programme has been designed. I have told them about how this programme focuses on my arts practice and my teaching practice, which is absolute key for me and what makes it so incredibly exciting — to feel that there is equal emphasis on both and that I am encouraged to engage with my practice alongside my studies. I have also told them how autonomous I am as a learner, which is hugely important to me, and how incredibly interesting our conversations are about all sorts of things that relate to teaching and the arts but are also so closely connected to who we are as people; our morals, values and interests. This has been a real highlight of my experience so far — how interconnected it all is, and it makes it hugely engaging for me. I was maybe slightly concerned it would be too focused on curriculum design etc (which it might well be later down the line!) but so far it’s incredibly rich and diverse and the learning feels deeply personal, which I really enjoy.”
- “Go for it. A wonderful opportunity with very supportive staff leading the sessions.”
- “Yes do it! It’s a really rigorous education masters with excellent teaching and RCS is the absolute nicest uni there is! (Having studied at four others, RCS is miles ahead!)”
- “This is a must — you will not regret it.”
- “Go for it! Highly recommended!”
- “Do it! The benefits are professional and personal. The support from the tutors is of excellent quality.”
- “A challenge definitely worth taking.”
- “A great way to broaden horizons, consolidate and refocus professional learning. Inspiring me to further develop my subject knowledge and rekindle my love for performing arts.”
The Programme is delivered through a mix of scheduled sessions and one-to-one support. In each year of study, students will be required to attend 6 days of intensive study, either face-to-face* at RCS or through accessing online (for distance learners).
In academic year 23/24, the weekend sessions will be delivered on the following dates:
- 23rd and 24th September 2023
- 11th November 2023
- 10th and 11th February 2024
- 27th April 2024
Online sessions run on Thursdays throughout term time. These are delivered in the morning between 10am and 12pm, and are repeated between 6.30 and 8.30pm in the evening. All other tutorial support can be negotiated with personal supervisors, mentors and peers on the programme.
International students can attend weekend sessions remotely for the duration of their studies.
You need to submit your application for the course online through UCAS Conservatoires.
Once you submit your application, please complete our short questionnaire via Acceptd. Once we have received your application and response to the questionnaire, we can arrange an interview for you.
The interview is designed to provide the programme team with an insight into your level of suitability for study on the programme.
The interview will comprise of two parts:
- Short presentation (no more than 10 minutes)
- Interview (20 minutes)
Your presentation will focus on your ideas for the ‘Final Project’ module of the programme which enables you to design and undertake a substantial project that will synthesise your personal understanding of your learning and teaching philosophy and practice and your professional arts and education practice into one cohesive piece of work.
You are invited to share some initial ideas for how you might use this project. For example, you may choose to focus on investigating:
- Gaps in the existing provision of learning within your specialist profession
- Opportunities within your specialist area that you could engage with
- Areas of your specialist area that you believe would benefit from further research
- Ways in which you might use this final module to address gaps in your own development
You will be requested to provide some evidence to support your initial proposals, drawing on published journal articles, books or other key sources and to be prepared to provide some critical analysis of these in light of your project ideas.
Following your presentation, there will be a 20-minute discussion about your presentation and application with the Head of Programme and a member of the delivery team. This will be used to explore your educational background, experience, opportunities and aspirations and you will be invited to address the following questions:
1. What has led you to apply for this programme?
2. How do you see this programme contributing to your professional development?
3. What opportunities will you have to work with learners during the programme?
The decision to offer you a place on the programme will be based on both your application and the interview.
This will be normally be communicated to within two to three weeks of your interview.