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 be able to work across the disciplines, and explore composition for film, opera, ballet, and musical theatre, developing your ideas without being restricted to a certain type of player or performance. Collaborations have included work with the Paragon Ensemble, Psappha, the Fidelio Trio, the New Music Players, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Flute Trio, Symposia, and Icebreaker, amongst other orchestras and ensembles, and projects such as working with Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow Caledonian University.
You’ll follow your own tailored path through the programme; you can pursue a second study, 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 have also set up their own Composers Collective. Composition can be a solitary existence; at the Royal Conservatoire we help you to develop the skills to work with other artists and across the disciplines. Our students have developed a number of projects in dance, theatre, film, and musical theatre, and often arrange their own performances of new work.
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.
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.
The course is designed as a four year journey rather than a journey of four individual years. As such the course is suited to the students’ needs and develops at the speed of the individual student. 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 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 by portfolio and the end of each academic year.
The Composition department has connections and relationships with most professional music groups in Scotland and recently has collaborated with the Paragon Ensemble, Psappha, the Fidelio Trio, the New Music Players, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, the Scottish Flute Trio, Symposia, and Icebreaker, amongst other orchestras and ensembles, and projects such as working with Glasgow School of Art and Glasgow Caledonian University.
How to apply
This course is closed for the 2019 academic cycle. Please contact the provider or view the 2020 courses.
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
Currently around 20% of our students come from outside the UK. Between them, they represent over 53 different nationalities and add a rich diversity to the Conservatoire. The Conservatoire holds auditions at the locations below. If you wish to audition at any of the locations listed, please submit your application at least one month in advance of the audition date. For further information, please see our website - https://www.rcs.ac.uk/postgraduate/masters-music-mmus/composition/
|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.
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|
Joint principal specialism audition
|Location||On-time Fee||Late Fee|
|Singapore||Not available at this location|
|RCS||Not available at this location|
|New York||Not available at this location|
|Guangzhou||Not available at this location|
|Beijing||Not available at this location|
|Shanghai||Not available at this location|
|Seoul||Not available at this location|
|Recording||Not available at this location|
For more information on what to prepare for the audition and portfolio, please see our website - https://www.rcs.ac.uk/courses/bmus-with-honours/composition/.
Fees and funding
|Northern Ireland||£9,250||Year 1|
Additional fee 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 - https://www.rcs.ac.uk/studyhere/scholarships/.