Bachelor of Music (Hons) Composition

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Degree level: Undergraduate
UCAS Conservatoires
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Course summary

The Composition pathway is designed to develop artistically aware, imaginative and confident creators, who are equipped to succeed as musicians in a rapidly-changing cultural landscape. We are looking for active and engaged individuals, who are interested in developing professional attitude​s towards compositional practices, willing to collaborate and develop communication skills for use with other composers, performers and artists from a broad range of disciplines​, demonstrating an independent willingness to prepare for lessons and classes, and a clear interest in widening musical experiences as they progress through their studies with us here at the RCS. When you study Composition, you will be working with our diverse and talented performing community in some of the best facilities in Europe. You’ll benefit from our professional partnerships with leading ensembles and orchestras, and there will be opportunities to hear your work performed. The performance of new work is of paramount importance to us, and we have a significant reputation for contemporary music. PLUG, our critically acclaimed annual festival, has become a renowned platform for new work, premiering hundreds of new works. You’ll follow your own tailored path through the programme; you have the option to include a second study in performance, work in the superb electroacoustic and recording studios, or devise new work in our purpose-built performance venues. Our staff are working artists, with various areas of specialist expertise. There’s a real sense of community among our composition students, staff, and PhD cohort; the Composers Forum meets weekly, and our students are offered support in setting up their own collectives for collaboration and performance. Composition can be a solitary existence; at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, we help you to develop the skills to work with other artists across disciplines, allowing our students to develop a number of projects with dance, theatre, film, and musical theatre.

Course details

Principal study options

During the application and audition process, you must select which instrument(s) you wish to specialise in for the duration of your course. On this course, you can choose from the following options:

Single specialism

Only one instrument is studied. It may be possible to study a further instrument formatively, but this will not contribute towards the qualification.


For all courses, you must select at least one specialism from the 'primary' list. For those studying primary/secondary pathways, two instruments may be selected – one from the 'primary' list and one from the 'secondary' list. Joint pathway students may select any two instruments from either list.

Primary instrument/specialism

  • Composition


This is a four-year course, designed to help you develop a range of high-level skills. As such the course is suited to the students’ needs and develops at the speed of the individual. The Department recognises that most composers come to composition later than most instrumentalists and we take that into consideration when developing each individual’s compositional journey. The Principal Study lessons consist of weekly 90-minute tutorials (60 minutes in Year 1), but that is really the beginning of the experience. The Composition department prides itself on its camaraderie and supportive environment and all the years from undergraduate to postgraduate to research are closely integrated. Each composer is assessed through a portfolio submission at the end of each academic year, which will reflect the integration of your practical composing, improvising, reading, writing, listening, collaborating and musicianship skills that you will develop during the BMus course. The Composition department has connections and relationships with most professional music groups in Scotland and recently has collaborated with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Psappha, the Fidelio Trio, the New Music Players, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, Red Note, and Icebreaker, amongst other internationally-recognised orchestras and ensembles. We have also taken part in collaborative projects with Glasgow School of Art, Stirling University Art Collection, Glasgow Caledonian University and the Scottish Music Centre. In addition to individual lessons, you will also take part in Composition Studies classes each year, such as:

  • Composers’ Forum (talks from visiting composers and practitioners)
  • Cowcaddens Gramophone Society (a composers’ weekly record club)
  • Music for Media (composition for TV and film)
  • Orchestration
  • Analysis
  • Sonic Arts
  • Interactive Composition (combining acoustic instruments with technology)
- Contemporary Repertoire

How to apply

Application deadlines

If your application is completed by the following date, it’s guaranteed to be considered:

1 October

*If you apply after this deadline, universities or colleges don’t have to consider your application if they’ve filled their spaces, so the sooner you apply, the better!

*If you are an international applicant, or you are applying for a postgraduate course, or are choosing certain assessment locations, the 'on time' deadline may be later in the year - please contact the conservatoire directly.

Application codes

You will need these codes when you add a choice to your application.

Course code302F
Institution code R58
Campus nameMain Site
Campus code-

Points of entry

The following entry points are available for this course:

  • Year 1

International applicants

Currently around 20% of our students come from outside the UK. Between them, they represent over 64 different nationalities and add a rich diversity to the Conservatoire.

Entry requirements

Qualification requirements

QualificationOfferFurther information
A level Passes in two subjects at GCE Advanced level
Scottish Higher Passes in three subjects at Higher level

Additional entry requirements


After making an application through UCAS , Composition applicants should submit at least two compositions (preferably recent examples) together with brief analytical notes, and recorded performances and software files wherever possible. Portfolios must be submitted online using Decision Desk and must be received by 13 October 2017.

Assessment locations

In the event of a successful assessment, applicants may be invited for a further interview prior to being made an offer.

Remote assessment recordings may be accepted in the event that you cannot attend an assessment in person.

Single specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee

Joint principal specialism assessment

LocationOn-time FeeLate Fee
RecordingNot available at this location

Additional information

For more information on what to prepare for the audition and portfolio, please see our website -

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

England £9250 Year 1
Scotland £1820 Year 1
Wales £9250 Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250 Year 1
EU £17685 Year 1
International £17685 Year 1

Additional fee information

For more information on fees and funding, please see our website -

Sponsorship information

The Royal Conservatoire is able to offer a number of entrance scholarships which are awarded as part of the audition/selection process on the basis of merit and financial need. Please see our website for more information -

Bachelor of Music (Hons) Composition at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - UCAS