Entrance Requirements

Before you apply, it’s important that you understand the necessary entrance requirements for your course. 

Our key courses are outlined below, but if you’re unsure of anything please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Bachelor of Music with Honours - 4/3 Years

Entrance requirements (4 years):

  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age on 31 December in the year of entry.
  • All applicants must have passes at GCE A level (A2) in a minimum of two subjects at grade E or above, normally including music, and passes in three different subjects at GCSE level (grades A*-C/9-4) or acceptable equivalent.
  • UK and Overseas applicants with alternative qualifications should contact our Admissions Team.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must have IELTS 5.5 or equivalent in each and every component (or CEFR B2).
  • All applicants must pass an RNCM audition in the year prior to entry, demonstrating a high standard of performance (or composition ability for composers) and potential, of at least ABRSM Grade 8 standard.

Entrance requirements (3 years):

Applicants for the three-year pathway should apply for the standard four-year BMus (Hons) on UCAS Conservatoires.

  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age on 31 December in the year of entry.
  • All applicants must have passes at GCE A level (or equivalent) in at least three different subjects, normally including music, at grades AAB.
  • UK and Overseas candidates with alternative qualifications should contact our Admissions Team.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must have IELTS 7.0 or equivalent in each and every component (or CEFR C1).
  • Pass the Diploma in Music Performance of the ABRSM (DipABRSM) (HE, Level 4), normally in the Principal Study instrument. This must be achieved either by 30 April prior to September entry or by means of the annual special DipABRSM examination. This is usually held at the RNCM in April/May with results in June.

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Bachelor of Music with Honours in Popular Music

Entrance requirements

  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age on 31 December in the year of entry.
  • All applicants must have passes at GCE A level (A2) in two subjects, or a Rockschool Level 3 Music Practitioner qualification or National Diploma in a music-related subject.
  • All applicants must have four GCSE level passes (grades A*-C/9-4) including English Language and Mathematics.
  • UK and Overseas candidates with alternative qualifications should contact our Admissions Team.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must have IELTS 5.5 or equivalent in each and every component (or CEFR B2).
  • All applicants must have ABRSM Grade 5 Music Theory, or equivalent (e.g. Trinity, LCM).
  • All applicants must pass an RNCM audition in the year prior to entry demonstrating a high level of performing ability – equivalent to ABRSM/Rockschool/Trinity Grade 8.

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Graduate Diploma of the RNCM 'Joint Course'

Entrance requirements:

  • All applicants must be at least 18 years of age on 31 December in the year of entry.
  • All applicants must have a high level of performing/compositional ability.
  • All applicants must have a high profile of grades in GCE A levels (e.g. AAA), normally including music. Equivalents to A levels (as determined by The University of Manchester Admissions Department) are allowed where such examinations are not normally available.
  • Applicants are normally expected to have achieved ABRSM Grade 8.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must have IELTS 7.0 or equivalent.
  • All applicants must pass an RNCM audition (and an interview at The University of Manchester) in the year prior to entry demonstrating a high standard of performance (or composition ability for composers) and potential.

Master of Music

Entrance requirements:

  • All MMus entrants must pass an RNCM audition and normally hold a good honours degree or equivalent (or be of equivalent professional standing). This qualification need not be in music, but all candidates must be able to satisfy the College that they have already achieved an advanced standard in their main discipline area, and have the potential to develop further towards a professional level of attainment.
  • Candidates whose first language is not English must meet the English language requirements for this course. These are IELTS 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component (or equivalent as defined by UKVI). Some options within the course may require IELTS 6.5 or 7.0.
  • All applicants are required to submit an academic transcript of undergraduate studies achieved to date and an example of prior written work demonstrating academic referencing in electronic format (e.g. Word document, PDF). The work will be assessed by academic staff members using the following Marking Guidelines for Written Work. Examples of prior written work must:
    • Be in history or analysis of music
    • Written in English
    • Total no more than 1000 words (a section drawn from a larger essay is acceptable)
    • Be original work by the applicant (a plagiarism test will be conducted.
  • All MMus applicants are also required to undergo an academic assessment once they succeed in their audition.

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Master of Performance

Entrance requirements:

  • All MPerf entrants must pass an RNCM audition and normally hold a good honours degree or equivalent (or be of equivalent professional standing). This qualification need not be in music, but all candidates must be able to satisfy the College that they have already achieved an advanced standard in their main discipline area, and have the potential to develop further towards a professional level of attainment.
  • Applicants whose first language is not English must have IELTS 5.5 or equivalent in each and every component (or CEFR B2).

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Postgraduate Diploma in Advanced Studies

Entrance requirements:

  • All PGDip applicants must hold an MMus or equivalent.
  • Candidates whose first language is not English must meet the English language requirements for this course. These are IELTS 6.0, with no less than 5.5 in each component (or equivalent as defined by UKVI).

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Research Degrees (MPhil and PhD)

Entrance requirements:

  • Applicants for the MPhil or PhD are normally expected to hold a good master’s degree in a relevant subject, having undertaken research training and produced a dissertation and/or a portfolio of compositions or performances.
  • All applicants must have sufficient command of the English language to complete their studies and to prepare and defend a thesis in English.
    • The minimum requirement for applicants to the music education, music psychology and musicology pathways is an average IELTS score of 7.0 including a minimum of 7.0 for writing and no less than 6.0 in any of the other three components (listening, writing and speaking), or equivalent scores on a test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) taken no more than 12 months before the application was made.
    • The minimum requirement for applicants to the composition and performance pathways is an average IELTS score of 7.0 with no less than 6.0 in any of the four components, or equivalent scores on a test approved by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) taken no more than 12 months before the application was made.

If you are unsure of the status of your qualifications or require further information, please contact Rachel Ware (Research Administrator) at research@rncm.ac.uk or +44 (0) 161 907 5228.

Course information