Graduate Diploma of the Royal Northern College of Music

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. 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).

UCAS Conservatoires code: 399F
Applications for September 2018 entry: Open July 2017, via UCAS Conservatoires
Application deadline for September 2018 entry: 1 October 2017

The ‘Joint Course’ is proud of its strong track record of graduate success, with many going on to secure high-profile positions and establish international careers in performance and composition.

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 (Hons) programme are available on the University’s website:

When studying music, courses themselves and their component parts can become increasingly compartmentalised into performance-related and academic-related studies. The Joint Course offers an exciting and natural cohesion, where the performance work undertaken at the RNCM feeds the academic work at the University and vice versa.
Tom Hicks, GRNCM/MusB, Piano 2015

Read more about Tom’s experience on the Joint Course on the Student Stories page.

Course Content and Structure


Years 1 & 2:

One-to-One Principal Study: In your first and second year you will spend at least one hour per week in your one-to-one lesson with your vocal, instrumental or compositional 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.

Professional Skills: You will also receive weekly tuition in essential professional skills such as stage presence, memorisation and how to rehearse and practice. All students join a chamber music group and receive specialist coaching throughout the year.

Years 3 & 4:

Placements: Along with your hourly one-to-one instrumental/composition/vocal lesson, in year 3 all students also complete a placement, for example working with music and health, music in schools or arts administration, employment with the Hallé, or sound engineering and recording.

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.

Shortlisting and Audition Requirements

Applicants should submit an application via UCAS Conservatoires and send a short recording to Admissions using Acceptd before 1 October for shortlisting. The video recording should consist of at least two contrasting pieces of applicant’s own choice, totalling no more than 15 minutes (composers need to consult composition audition requirements and post a portfolio to Admissions).

References and other supporting documents (e.g. copies of qualifications) must also arrive by 1 October. All recordings, portfolios and supporting documents should be posted to Admissions, RNCM, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9RD, UK.

For full entrance requirements, click here.

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.

Student Stories

The Joint Course was perfect for me, providing the unique opportunity to equally pursue my interests in composition, performance and academia. It was also great to have two circles of friends and contacts which have been very useful since graduating.
Leo Geyer, GRNCM/MusB Composition 2014

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


More Undergraduate Programmes

To make an enquiry, please fill in this form

Fields marked * are required.