Offer Holder FAQs

Lots of Offer Holders have questions about their offer and what it’s like to study at the RNCM.

Here’s a list of the most frequently asked, but if your question isn’t listed, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our Admissions Team and they’ll be happy to help.

About Your Offer

What does my offer mean?

There are two main types of offers: Guaranteed and Reserve, both of which may be presented as Conditional or Unconditional depending on whether you’ve fulfilled all the necessary entrance requirements.

A Guaranteed Offer means that you’re guaranteed a place to study at the RNCM; a Reserve Offer means that you may still gain a place to study with us depending on spaces available. Guaranteed Offer replies are monitored carefully, and Reserve Offers are converted as and when places become available between February and August.

When do I need to accept my offer by?

The deadline for accepting your offer depends on when you receive all your decisions on UCAS Conservatoires Hub. Please click here to check the full list of deadlines.

For most on-time applicants, if you receive all decisions by 3 January, you have until 1 February to accept your offer.

If you fail to accept your offer by the stated deadline it will be automatically declined.

How many offers can I accept on UCAS Conservatoires Track?

Normally, you can only accept one Guaranteed Offer.

If you’ve been offered a Reserve place, you can accept a Reserve Offer as your first choice and a Guaranteed or a Reserve Offer as your second choice.

Do I need to pay a deposit when accepting my offer?

No, we don’t require a deposit payment when you accept your offer.

You’ll only be asked to make a deposit payment when you’re requesting a CAS (Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies) for your visa application. See the Brexit and Visas section for further information.

Are there any specific grade requirements for my offer?

Please check the entrance requirements for your course of study and your offer conditions on UCAS Conservatoires Hub for specific grade requirements. You can contact [email protected] if you have any questions.

I’ve accepted my offer, what happens next?

We’ll be in touch throughout the year with more information about studying at the RNCM. This will include invitations to online events with staff and students, details to support your visa application (International only), and how to complete your online registration.

You’ll also hear about your room allocation at Sir Charles Groves Hall of Residence during the Spring. If living in Halls isn’t for you, private accommodation within the city is available via Manchester Student Homes and we strongly advise that you look into this in advance to take any pressure away as September approaches.

In addition, it’s important that you make note of any outstanding conditions that may be associated with your offer and submit all relevant documentation by 31 August. If you’re an International student in need of a visa, we highly recommend meeting your offer conditions and submitting documentation as soon as possible to allow time for your visa application before September. Visa applications can only start once you’ve received a Guaranteed Unconditional offer.


Your Offer Conditions

Where can I see the conditions of my offer?

Your offer and its associate conditions can be found on UCAS Conservatoires Hub.

If you’ve missed the associated conditions or have any questions, please contact us for advice.

What's the difference between Academic and Practical References and when/how do I submit them?

An Academic Reference should come from someone who is familiar with your academic studies and can comment on your academic abilities, such as your head teacher, lecturer, or tutor.

A Practical Reference should come from someone who is familiar with your ability, experience and potential in music, such as your personal tutor, music teacher or head of department.

You can find more information about both references here.

If you’ve provided your referees’ details in your UCAS Conservatoires application, the system will automatically contact them. Completed references then automatically uploaded to your UCAS Conservatoires application. If you’ve selected to download the offline reference forms, you’ll need to send the completed versions to [email protected] by 31 August.

Do I need to submit examples of prior written work and what is the requirement for this?

Normally, examples of prior written work are only required if you have applied to our Master of Music (2 Year and Intensive) course. However, please refer to your offer conditions outlined on UCAS Conservatoires Hub for full confirmation.

Examples of prior written work must:

  • Be in history or analysis of music, although other topics are accepted if you’ve studied a different subject area.
  • Be 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).
  • Include academic referencing, within the text.

The work will be assessed by academic staff members using the following Marking Guidelines for Written Work.

Do I need to provide an English translation if any of my documents are not in English?

Yes, if you have any documents which are not in English or Welsh, you must include a translation of each document. It can be an official translation provided by the issuing institutions or from a translation service.

Each translation must contain the following information as required by the UK Visas and Immigration department:

  • Confirmation from the translator / translation company that it is an accurate translation of the original document.
  • The date of the translation.
  • The full name and signature of the translator, or of an authorised official of the translation company.
  • The contact details of the translator or translation company; and (if you are already in the UK and are applying for further leave) certification by a qualified translator and details of the translator or translation company’s credentials.

If you have any questions, please contact [email protected] for advice.

I'm transferring in and have received an offer, what do I do next?

In the first instance, please contact our Admissions Team with details of your prior learning (summary of educational background and copies of transcripts). They will then be able to advise the next steps.

English Language Requirement

What is the English Language requirement for my course?

You can see the requirement on your offer conditions via UCAS Conservatoires Hub or on our website. We can accept IELTS and PTE as standard and review other qualifications regularly. If you’re unsure, please contact [email protected] for advice.

I've completed a degree in English, do I still need to submit an IELTS result?

We may be able to waive the English Language requirements but will need to see further evidence of your previous studies. Please contact [email protected] for advice.

When do I need to submit my English Language test result by?

You need to submit your test result by 1 May to [email protected]. In extenuating circumstances, we may be able to accept further English language results until 31 August.

I haven’t been able to take an IELTS examination, what shall I do?

You’ll still need to submit evidence that you meet our English Language Requirements.

However, we’re aware of the difficulties that our Offer Holders have and, for those with an offer to join us in September 2021, we’ll also consider the following forms of evidence:

GCSE English (all UK boards) or iGCSE English, Grade C or above.

The levels outlined below are an indication of the scores that you will need to achieve to meet our standard entrance requirements. Please note that in all cases you will need to meet the overall score required, as well as the individual scores required for each element – reading, writing, listening and speaking.

IELTS 5.0 5.5 6.0 6.5 7.0
PTE Academic 43+ 59+ 59+ 59+ 76+
Trinity N/A ISE II (B2) Pass ISE II (B2) Pass ISE II (B2) High Pass ISE III (C1) Pass
Cambridge 154-161 162-168 169-175 176-184 185-191

We’ll also consider other certificates, if the scores meet our entry standards and the certificate meets our academic standards.

Please email our Admissions Team with the details below:

• The name, level and date of the test.
• The country in which it was taken.
• The scores that you obtained.
• A scan, or clear photograph of the certificate or transcripts.

Can I apply to the Pre-sessional English Language Course if I didn’t meet the requirements?

Yes, if your level of English falls marginally below the level required for your course, you may choose to attend a Pre-Sessional English Language Course. The RNCM runs one of these each summer and more details about this can be found here.

What is the entry requirement for the Pre-sessional English Language Course? 

It depends on your course of study, and detailed entry requirement can be found here. For information, we normally require an IELTS 5.0 or equivalent in each and every component for most courses; a 5.5 overall with no score below 5.0 for MMus.


How long is the Pre-sessional English Language Course?

Our Pre-sessional English Course is a six-week course, taking place between July and August. Dates for 2024 will be confirmed in due course.

How much does the Pre-Sessional English Language Course cost?

The cost for 2024 will be announced in due course but as a guide, the cost in 2023 was £3,300.

Will the Pre-sessional English Language Course be delivered online?

Further details will be provided in January 2024.

Brexit and Visas

How does Brexit impact professional connections/opportunities at the RNCM?

The RNCM has a global network of partners providing many exchange and professional opportunities for staff and students in Asia, the US, Australia, Canada, and throughout Europe.

Although the UK has officially left the EU, the College remains a member of the Association of European Conservatoires and will continue its connections within Europe and beyond.

Do I need a visa to study in the UK?

Most International students (including EU students) will require immigration permission to study in the UK, such as Pre-settled or Settled Status or a Student Visa.

Our Admissions Team will contact International Offer Holders in May 2023 with information and advice about your immigration status and how to request a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). They will also help you to complete your Student Visa application if you need one.

What is a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) and how do I request one?

A Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) is an essential electronic document that you must obtain before you can apply for a Student Visa. It will only be issued to students with a Guaranteed Unconditional (GU) Offer.  

Important: Before you can request a CAS from the RNCM, you’re required to pay a 25% deposit of your tuition fees for your first year of entry. You’ll also need to prove that you have enough money to pay the remainder of your tuition fees for your first year of study and have additional funds to cover accommodation/living costs. 

While waiting for your CAS you can start to prepare your visa application. Once your CAS is issued, we’ll send you an email containing everything you need to complete your application. 

Do not attempt to apply for a Student Visa without the CAS as the application will be invalid.

Fees and Funding

What are the tuition fees?

Please click here to check tuition fees for your year of entry.

How is my fee status (Home or International) decided?

Initial fee status for RNCM Offer Holders is based on information provided within UCAS Conservatoires applications. Full guidance can be found here, but if you have any queries or think you have been assigned an incorrect status, please email [email protected] and we will be happy to undertake a full fee assessment with you.

Please note that following the UK Government’s announcement in June 2020, EU students are now classed as International and as such, are eligible for International fees.

I'm a UK undergraduate Offer Holder, how do I arrange my student finance?

The quickest way to apply is via the Student Finance website, but in order to do so you must have a confirmed place at university.

Simply apply using your preferred choice of course, which can be updated later if needed. It can take up to six weeks to process applications, so it’s important that you apply as soon as possible so that your finance is in place at the start of your studies.

I am a UK postgraduate Offer Holder, how do I apply for a Postgraduate Loan?

The Government provides a loan of  c.£10,000 per student for postgraduate Master’s study. For up-to-date information click here.

Will my tuition fee change after my first year of study?

Fees quoted are for the academic year stated and are subject to annual review and change, so it’s important that you note any changes that may be implemented. Fees for the following academic year are usually announced in Spring.

Do I need to apply for a scholarship?

No, there’s no separate application process for scholarships as all applicants are automatically considered at audition.

How do I know if I've been awarded a scholarship?

The scholarship information if you have been awarded one is included in the official offer letter from our Principal sent by [email protected] . Please note that Scholarship Awards are for the first year of study only (unless specifically stated otherwise).

If you are unsure or need further information, please email [email protected].

Can I still ask for scholarship even if I was not awarded one?

If your official offer letter doesn’t include scholarship information, it’s likely that you won’t receive one this year. However, a limited amount of scholarships may be offered at a later stage and our Admissions Team will be in touch with individual Offer Holders if and when information is confirmed.

What is a bursary and how can I apply for it?

A bursary award, or simply a bursary, is a sum of money given to students based on need and merit. If you’re successful in gaining a bursary, this will be deducted from your tuition fees, leaving you with a net balance to pay.

Bursary applications open in Spring and our Student Finance Team will be in touch directly about this. In the meantime, please contact Adam Croucher, Deputy Registrar and Head of Student Services, if you need further information.

Is any other financial support other than scholarships and bursaries available?

We work with several trusts and foundations across the UK to provide additional funding opportunities for students in need. Please contact Adam Croucher, Deputy Head of Registry, for more information.

How and when do I pay my tuition fees?

Tuition fees are payable prior to registration at the start of the academic year. For Home students this will normally be paid directly through the Student Loans Company/SAAS and you’ll need to provide proof of this during enrolment. If you’re paying fees yourself, it may be possible to pay by instalments. Tuition fee agreements must be set up prior to registration, and the first instalment must be paid before you enrol.

Click here for more information.

About Your Studies

When do my studies start?

Our academic year starts in September. Full semester dates, including Welcome Week, can be found here.

What will I do during my study?

This fully depends on the programme you’ve chosen. Please check on our website for detailed information on our courses, including a module breakdown.

Are there any performance and professional opportunities?

Yes, we offer a range of professional and performance opportunities to help you develop the skills needed to establish and maintain a successful future in a competitive sector.

Can I select my Principal Study tutor?

The allocation of students to specific Principal Study tutors is the responsibility of the relevant Head of School in consultation with other specialist colleagues, taking account of performance at audition. Prospective students who may prefer a particular tutor are encouraged to make this known to their respective School. It should be emphasised, however, that in all cases, the final decision about tutor allocation will remain the responsibility of the Head of School.

You can find a full list of our tutors here.

How many Principal Study lessons will I get a week?

Weekly Principal Study lessons include one-to-one teaching, ensembles training, and performance classes.

What is a regular week like at the RNCM?

A week in the life of an RNCM student is exciting, busy and fulfilling. Please check our student blogs or chat to our Student Ambassadors for a true insight into student life.

Can I book practice rooms in the College?

Yes, once your studies start you can book our practice rooms via Asumit, our internal booking system. You’ll receive an introduction to Asumit during Welcome Week.

Can I participate in non-RNCM projects and events during my studies?

Yes, we encourage students to gain as much professional experience as possible, as long as it doesn’t interfere with your studies. We also have a dedicated Professional Engagements Team, which sources and coordinates paid external performance opportunities for students, matching performers to suitable events and negotiating fees in line with current industry rates.

Can I sit in classes/lectures from another course/School?

Yes, the RNCM has a ‘open lecture’ policy. However, we do ask all students to check with the relevant lecturer before sitting in their class.

What is the difference between the MMus and MPerf?

The Master of Music (MMus) is focused around Principal Study (composition, conducting, performance or popular music), which forms the major component in each year of study. Students  can also pursue studies in a related Specialism preparing them for research degree-level study, specifically Artistic (practice-based) Research, Musicology, Music Education, and Music Psychology.

The Master of Performance (MPerf) is perfect for graduates who are looking to become professional performers, providing exceptional one-to-one tuition, solo and ensemble performance opportunities, and specialist guidance on self-promotion. The course also offers training in instrumental teaching, the chance to gain real-world experience via an external industry placement, and the opportunity to work with professionals to create and edit your own recording, ensuring your future is as sustainable as it is successful.

Please also note that the tuition fee and entry requirements for these two courses are different.

What is the difference between the MMus and MMus (Intensive)?

The course structure of both courses is the same with the only difference being the duration of the course. The MMus takes two years to complete; the MMus Intensive combines all elements into one academic year.


Does the College provide accommodation?

The College doesn’t provide accommodation but has an affiliation with Sir Charles Groves Hall of Residence, owned and managed by Unite Students, to offer exclusive rates to RNCM students.

Where is the Sir Charles Groves Hall and what are the benefits of living there?

Sir Charles Groves Hall is located right next door to the College. Students from the RNCM occupy many of its 612 rooms, meaning you can be part of the community and make friends as soon as you arrive. You’ll also have the benefit of being able to practise in your room between 9am and 9pm, and pianists can request a loan piano if required. You can find more information about the Hall here, including a tour of building.

How much does it cost?

RNCM students may benefit from a discounted rate for an en-suite room, which will be published in Spring. For reference, the cost per week for 2023/24 is £185.00. Please click here for information on all other room types.

How do I book a room at Sir Charles Groves Hall?

If you accept your offer by the 1 February deadline, you’ll receive an email early Spring regarding your room allocation at Sir Charles Groves Hall of Residence.

Do I have to live in the Sir Charles Groves Hall?

No, not at all. If you’d prefer to live privately, Manchester has a huge selection of affordable accommodation within easy distance of the RNCM. Many of these are available via Manchester Student Homes, an agency owned and managed by the city’s universities.

Can the College be my guarantor?

No, unfortunately the College can’t act as a guarantor for rental contract signing.

Life in Manchester and the UK

Where is Manchester?

Manchester is in the North West of England. It’s the UK’s second most populous urban area; over 100,000 students call Manchester their Home, many are international.

Is it expensive to live in Manchester?

It depends on your personal circumstance but generally the cost of living is considered low in comparison to London. For reference, the UKVI recommends £1023/per month for living expenses, including accommodation.

Is the RNCM close to the city centre?

The RNCM sits right by the city centre, alongside The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University. It can take around 15-20 minutes to get to the city centre by foot and just a few minutes by bus.

Does Manchester have good transport links?

Yes, Manchester has an amazing transport network within the city including buses, trams, and trains. There are bus stops right outside the College to get you around the city and Manchester (Oxford Road) Train Station is just a few minutes away. A trip to London from Manchester is just under two hours by train.

Manchester Airport serves as a major airport in the north west of England and has regular flights to most parts of Europe and key cities in China, the US, Australia, and many other parts of the world.