Doctor of Philosophy FT (PHD) at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - UCAS

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Degree level: Postgraduate
UCAS Conservatoires
Awarded by: University of St Andrews

Doctor of Philosophy FT (PHD) (Research)

Course summary

The overriding aim of undertaking PhD and MPhil study is to make an original contribution to knowledge. The programmes do not follow a prescribed course of study but benefit from close supervision and a range of research training that is designed to support the project being undertaken, and provide wider opportunities for professional development as a researcher. Our vibrant multidisciplinary environment includes performance and new work in dance, drama and music, performing arts education and policy, Scottish music, historically-informed performance, musicology, and a range of other specialist areas. Following a historic agreement between RCS and the University of St Andrews, we offer research degrees leading to the awards of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Master of Philosophy (MPhil). These programmes are validated and awarded by the University of St Andrews. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers opportunities for suitably qualified students to work towards the achievement of research degrees in appropriate areas of enquiry. Applications will only be successful if it is clear that the proposed research can best be undertaken within a Conservatoire context, in which performance and/or creation is held central. The specific areas for research degrees are:

  • the processes and methodologies of developing new performance work (music/drama/music theatre), including collaborative and devised performance
  • performance
  • musical composition, in all genres, for live, electro-acoustic and mixed media
  • Scottish music
  • methodologies of specialist performance training, including the use of IT
  • socio-cultural studies of performance
  • performance education and pedagogy

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

  • Dance
  • Drama Performance
  • Drama Production
  • Music
  • Screen


Research degree students do not follow a prescribed course of study, but benefit from close supervision and a range of research training that is designed to support the programme of research being undertaken, and provide wider opportunities for professional development as a researcher. In addition, an external supervisor is normally appointed to provide further support for, and an additional perspective on, your research.

How to apply

*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

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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 60 different nationalities and add a rich diversity to the Conservatoire.

Entry requirements

The essential qualification for admission to the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland as a research student is the possession of a good honours degree or the attainment of a level of professional achievement equivalent to that of a good honours degree. Within the processes laid out above, a student who possesses a research Master’s degree, or has attained a level of achievement equivalent to that of a research Master’s degree, may be permitted to enter the Conservatoire as a second-year research student. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is committed to the principles of the Accreditation of Prior Learning, including experiential learning, and will bring those to bear on the admissions process for its research students. Applicants for whom English is a second language must demonstrate an IELTS score of 7.0.

Additional entry requirements


Research proposal must be submitted directly to the Conservatoire following submitting an application on UCAS -

English language requirements

TestGradeAdditional details
IELTS (Academic)7Applicants who first language is not English will be required to provide evidence of proficiency in English. An IELTS score of 7.0 in each component (with no component below 7.0) is required.

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
OnlineNot available at this location
RCSNot available at this location

Additional information

All applicants must submit a research proposal. Those applicants who meet the admissions criteria and whose proposed research projects accord with the Conservatoire research priorities and context will be interviewed/auditioned. For more information the application process, please see our website -

Fees and funding

Tuition fees

Channel Islands £9250* Year 1
Republic of Ireland £9250* Year 1
England £9250* Year 1
Northern Ireland £9250* Year 1
Wales £9250* Year 1
Scotland £1820* Year 1
EU £27968* Year 1
International £27968* Year 1

*This is a provisional fee and subject to change.

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 -

Doctor of Philosophy FT (PHD) at Royal Conservatoire of Scotland - UCAS