Graduate Diploma of the Royal Northern College of Music (‘Joint Course’)

The GRNCM/MusB, informally known as the ‘Joint Course’, offers a unique opportunity for students with outstanding practical and academic ability to gain the advantage of simultaneous study at both a world-class conservatoire and a world-class university. 

Unistats data

About the GRNCM/MusB

Students on this unique programme will spend three years at both the RNCM and The University of Manchester (located side-by-side on Oxford Road). Your fourth year is spent entirely at the RNCM. On successful completion of the course, students receive a diploma (Graduate of the Royal Northern College of Music, GRNCM) from the RNCM, and a degree from the University of Manchester (MusB).

The GRNCM/MusB offers exceptional students an opportunity to study at two institutions concurrently: the RNCM and The University of Manchester. You will study the complete 3-year MusB course at the University; at the same time you will attend the RNCM to undertake all modules relating to performance or composition (including a weekly one-to-one lesson) and artist development, over a 4-year period. This unique course provides students with unparalleled world-class tuition, scholarship, and performance and composition opportunities.
Dr Michelle Phillips, Course Leader

How You Will Learn

What You Will Undertake at the RNCM (GRNCM):

The GRNCM builds on your ability as a performer or composer and consists of two key areas: Principal Study in Performance/Composition, and Artist Development. All performance tuition, coaching, chamber ensembles and most orchestral playing opportunities are provided by the RNCM throughout the four years.

What You Will Undertake at The University of Manchester (MusB):

The MusB (Hons) of the University of Manchester complements this study with scholarly practical education: it is a highly-regarded degree programme involving the interrelated study of musical performance, composition and musicology. Full details of the MusB programme are available on the University’s website.

Watch the short video below for a quick overview of the programme:

Course Content and Structure

Years 1 and 2:

One-to-One Principal Study: In years 1 and 2, you will spend at least one hour per week in your one-to-one lesson with your Principal Study (instrumental/vocal/composition) tutor. This study prepares you for a technical examination in Spring (scales and orchestral extracts for instrumentalists and vocalists, composition according to a specific brief for composers), and a final year recital in Summer.

Artist Development: The Artist Development strand provides students with a diverse range of studies, primarily practical and with a vocational emphasis, which complement the Principal Study. In years 1 and 2, students receive weekly tuition in essential skills such as recording and editing, conducting, musicians’ health and wellbeing, teaching skills, and websites, biographies and CVs.

Years 3 and 4:

Along with your hourly one-to-one instrumental/composition/vocal lesson, you will undertake:

Independent Project: In year 4, all students complete an independent project, which is designed by yourself and supervised throughout the year. Previous projects include organising a charity concert, organising a music competition, recording an EP, and undertaking a tour with a musical  ensemble or as a soloist.

Ensemble Activity: Along with this tuition, instrumentalists will join a variety of College ensembles, delivering performances throughout the year. Composers will have the opportunity each term to hear their compositions performed in full for any ensemble at multiple public concerts. All students have many opportunities to perform as parts of their own ensembles or as soloists in a wide range of concerts.

Artist Development: In year 3, all students complete a placement, for example working with music and health, music in schools or arts administration, employment with the Hallé orchestra, or sound engineering and recording. In year 4, all students complete an independent creative project, which is designed by students and supervised throughout the year. Students receive lectures in entrepreneurial, business and financial skills, and are assigned a mentor to advise on their project. In years 3 and 4, students also choose a practical or performance elective from a selection including options such as Small Ensemble Performance, Opera Scenes, and Accompaniment and External Commission. Students can also select practical elective modules offered as part of the BMus Popular Music Programme.

Download the detailed programme specification.

Exchange Opportunity

You can broaden your horizons by studying abroad for one term of your fourth year. We currently have partnership links with institutions across Europe, Asia, Australia, Canada, South America and the USA.

What Our Students Say

One huge benefit of being on this course is the fact you get to be in contact with professionals from each and every area of the music world. Experiencing such a broad musical education sets you up incredibly well for the future as you get to discover exactly which areas of music you are most excited about, and ultimately most interested in pursuing further.
Sara Salloum, GRNCM/MusB Lute

Every day is completely different to the next! Over the past few weeks, I have been in an orchestral project playing Wagner’s Ring Cycle in Manchester and London with Paris Conservatoire. I am rehearsing regularly with my clarinet quartet and my recital quintet, and have lots of various clarinet and bassoon lessons and classes at college. I am also conducting an outreach schools performance this week, doing some teaching work, and I will be going into the Children’s Hospital to begin a new project on the wards with my friend, amongst lots of other things. It’s a fantastic place to try new things.
Katherine Blumer, GRNCM/MusB Clarinet

Discover more about the RNCM student experience here by clicking on our student stories page, which includes profiles of GRNCM/MusB students.

Application Factfile

UCAS Conservatoires code: 399F
Applications for September 2019 entry: Open July 2018, via UCAS Conservatoires
Application deadline for September 2019 entry: 1 October 2018

Further guidance on making an application for the GRNCM/MusB is available here.