Royal College of Music has opted into the TEF and received a Gold award.
Please select this version of the BMus course if you wish to apply for single or joint principal study Composition.
The Composition Faculty at the Royal College of Music focuses on both the creative and commercial aspects of being a composer. We aim to build and sustain your craft, be it composition for the concert hall, the opera house or for film, television and media. Composition at the RCM is about partnerships between talented composers who want to write music and gifted instrumentalists who want to perform music. Composers are offered a wholly exceptional performance environment in which they have the opportunity to hear their compositions played by resident and visiting musicians, RCM orchestras, ensembles and fellow students of the highest technical and musical ability.
Undergraduate study at the Royal College of Music balances high-level practical training with critical enquiry into music past and present. Students investigate music in context and how it operates in contemporary cultures. The RCM also provides a range of options for developing practical and applied skills. In essence, it includes individual lessons with distinguished musicians; core units in historical, technical, practical, and vocational subjects delivered in small groups; and a variety of performances.
Our undergraduate programme is designed to be flexible, especially in years 3 and 4, ensuring you can undertake study directly relevant to your needs and aspirations. A variety of options helps every student develop their interests during their time at the RCM.
From the very beginning of the course you will be able to draw on exceptional resources and opportunities, such as the RCM Library, the Centre for Performance Science, Creative Careers Centre and RCM Sparks – our outreach and education programme.
Royal College of Music courses are internationally recognised, with successful students awarded their qualifications under the RCM's Royal Charter.
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:
Only one instrument is studied. It may be possible to study a further instrument formatively, but this will not contribute towards the qualification.
Two instruments are studied simultaneously. Both instruments will be given equal weighting for assessment. You may be required to audition for both the instruments you want to study.
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.
- Bassoon (Historical Performance)
- Cello (Historical Performance)
- Clarinet (Historical Performance)
- Double Bass
- Double Bass (Historical Performance)
- Flute (Historical Performance)
- Fortepiano (Historical)
- Guitar (Classical)
- Horn (French)
- Horn (Natural)
- Oboe (Historical Performance)
- Trombone (Bass)
- Trombone (Tenor)
- Trumpet (Natural)
- Viola (Historical Performance)
- Viola da Gamba
- Violin (Historical Performance)
Years 1 and 2
• Performance studies in Principal, Related, and Second instruments, with regular faculty-based workshops, activities, and opportunities for performance
• Training in music education
• Courses in music history and performance practice, practical musicianship/stylistic studies, aural awareness, study skills, Alexander Technique, and musicians' wellbeing
• Options in music history and stylistic studies topics in Year 2
• Opportunity to fast track to higher levels of study in aural awareness and practical musicianship
Years 3 and 4
• Continuing work in performance studies
• Creation of a personalised programme of study from a variety of options (offered on either a yearly or two-yearly basis)
• Opportunity to undertake an exchange to one of the RCM's partner institutions in Europe, the USA, Australia or Japan.
Assessment for undergraduate students is grouped into subject, general and key skills. The assessment tasks within the RCM's undergraduate courses are varied, including technical assessments, performance exams, take-away assignments and practical assessments in performance or practical modules; unseen written exams, essays, individual and group presentations in academic or theoretical modules; and reflective diaries, workshops, and vivas in skills-based modules.
How to apply
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 audition locations, the 'on time' deadline may be later in the year - please contact the conservatoire directly.
You will need these codes when you add a choice to your application.
|Campus name||Main Site|
This course may be available at alternative locations, please check if other course options are available
Points of entry
The following entry points are available for this course:
- Year 1
- Year 2
- Year 3
The Royal College of Music has a long tradition of welcoming international students from all over the world. Our broad community of staff and students makes the RCM an exciting and diverse hub of musical activity. Almost half of our students are from outside the UK, studying at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. The application process is the same for students of all nationalities.
|UCAS Tariff||Not accepted|
Two A Levels at grade E or above in any subject.
One A Level (grade E or above) and two AS Levels (one at grade D or above and one at grade E or above)
Most UK applicants will take A Level music or equivalent and achieve a Grade A or B. If you are choosing your subjects now, we recommend that you choose music if possible.
|Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Extended Diploma (first teaching from September 2016)||PPP|
|Scottish Higher||DDD||Three Scottish Higher grade passes at grade D or above|
|Cambridge International Pre-U Certificate - Principal||P3, P3||Cambridge Pre-U certificate in at least two principal subjects at P3 level or above.|
|International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme||24 points|
|Leaving Certificate - Higher Level (Ireland) (first awarded in 2017)||H8|
|Pearson BTEC Level 3 National Diploma (first teaching from September 2016)||PP|
|Scottish Advanced Higher||DDD|
|Welsh Baccalaureate - Advanced Skills Challenge Certificate (first teaching September 2015)||E|
Additional entry requirements
Portfolios must be submitted by the application deadline. Details of how to submit your portfolio are available at http://www.rcm.ac.uk/apply/auditions/
English language requirements
|Cambridge English Advanced||Level B2||Overall score of 160-179 and no less than 160 in any component.|
|IELTS (Academic)||5.5||Score above refers to overall score. Additionally, a score of 5.5 is required in all components. Results must be within 2 years of course start date in order to be valid.|
|PTE Academic||51.0||Score above refers to overall score. Additionally, a score of 51 is required in all components. Results must be within 2 years of course start date in order to be valid.|
|Trinity ISE||Pass||Trinity ISE II certificate. Must include a pass in all components.|
Nationals of majority English speaking countries (as defined by the UK Home Office) are not required to provide proof of their level of English. Some other exceptions apply - please consult our website for details.
The RCM's English Language Requirements are available in full at this link:
In the event of a successful audition, applicants may be invited for a further interview prior to being made an offer.
Remote audition recordings may be accepted in the event that you cannot attend an audition in person.
Single specialism audition
|Location||On-time Fee||Late Fee|
|Video Interview: Resident Outside of Europe Only||£115||£125|
Joint principal specialism audition
|Location||On-time Fee||Late Fee|
|Video Interview: Resident Outside of Europe Only||£160||£170|
Composition applications are assessed through a two stage process. Composers audition by submitting a portfolio of work to the RCM for consideration. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to an interview. Please see www.rcm.ac.uk/composition/auditionrequirements/ for further details of how to submit your portfolio.
Fees and funding
|Channel Islands||£24,300||Year 1|
|Northern Ireland||£9,250||Year 1|
Additional fee information
The RCM is able to support many students with scholarships thanks to the generosity of charitable trusts, companies, businesses, individual members of the public and legacies. Any applicant, regardless of nationality, who attends an audition/interview in person will automatically be considered for a scholarship or study award. Composers who are interviewed by live video interview are also eligible for consideration. There is no separate application process. Scholarships are awarded on merit based on performance at audition. Unfortunately, performers who audition by video recording cannot be considered for scholarships or study awards.