The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) is a place like nowhere else, powered by performance, its people, and their passion.
Established in 1847, Scotland’s national conservatoire is a global leader in performing arts education, consistently ranked in the top ten of the QS World University Rankings.
It offers teaching across classical, jazz and traditional music, drama, dance, production, film and education. It’s the only institution in Europe that offers all of the performing arts on one campus, making it a distinctively creative and collaborative place to study.
Being a student at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is to be immersed in a dynamic arts community with artists from more than 60 countries.
As Scotland’s only conservatoire, students work and learn alongside award-winning teaching staff and internationally acclaimed guest artists, where they develop their craft and collaborate across art forms in one of the finest multi-disciplinary education environments in the world.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland partners with the country’s leading artistic companies to offer unique learning opportunities for students, which include everything from tours and professional placements to performing with world-renowned orchestras and theatre companies. Partners include the BBC, National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.
Performance is at the heart of life at RCS, with more than 500 live events each year, making the Glasgow city centre campus one of Scotland’s busiest arts venues.
Thousands of students are also taught every year through the Junior Conservatoire and national Fair Access programmes, as well the Short Courses department.
The curriculum at RCS includes the pioneering BA Performance in British Sign Language and English undergraduate programme - the first and only degree of its kind. It teaches people who identify as D/deaf or hard of hearing to be both actors and makers of work. The programme was established in 2015 in association with Glasgow-based Solar Bear theatre company, with input from a range of theatre, education and D/deaf professionals.
RCS offers the UK’s only Bachelor of Music degree dedicated to traditional and folk music. Aspiring performers on this four-year programme explore Scotland’s unique and dynamic musical traditions as a conceptual, critical and creative framework within which to achieve a distinctively personal voice as an artist. This is interwoven with a solid basis in contemporary and eclectic performance practice.
The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers a range of Masters-level programmes across the performing arts, as well as unique, career-enhancing programmes such as the Masters of Education in Learning and Teaching in the Arts.
The prestigious two-year Leverhulme Conducting Fellowship is for conductors on the cusp of their careers and is offered in association with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. It includes a generous bursary of £16,000 per annum supported by the Leverhulme Trust for the successful candidate.
Research at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is about inspiring innovative directions for its art forms, fresh insights into processes and practices and new perspectives on their role in economies, cultures and ecologies.
The Research Excellence Framework 2021, published in 2022, revealed that 63% of research impact at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. The conservatoire’s submission to the performing arts panel of REF 2021 was also the largest of any institution in Scotland.
Research conducted at RCS includes in-depth studies into music education in Scotland, impacting on public policy; work exploring the role of creativity to support families experiencing significant life events; as well as research that supports children and adults with additional support needs to develop their creativity in music.
In 1993, RCS became the only UK conservatoire to be awarded its own degree-awarding powers. Research degrees undertaken at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland are validated and awarded by the University of St Andrews.
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland alumni can be found in concert halls and classrooms, on TV screens and film sets, on the world’s most iconic stages or making magic behind the scenes.
In 2022 – the 175th anniversary of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, RCS Principal, was appointed a Vice-President of the AEC.