• Founded as the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1847, with an inaugural address given by Charles Dickens.
  • Moved to its current location in Glasgow's city centre in 1987.
  • Added the Alexander Gibson Opera School in 1997.
  • In 2003, HRH Prince Charles succeeded his grandmother as Patron.
  • In 2011, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland opened the Wallace Studios, a purpose-built teaching facility providing professional-level resources including specialist dance rehearsal spaces, technical construction workshops, props and wardrobe facilities, and a suite of rehearsal rooms and additional teaching spaces.

Location and Transport

  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland campus is situated in Glasgow city centre, with five professional performance venues, recording studios, numerous rehearsal spaces, dance studios, practice and teaching rooms, digital IT suites and the Whittaker Library.
  • RCS has strong transport links, with Buchanan Street bus station and Cowcaddens underground station within five minutes walk. Additionally, Glasgow's two main railway stations, Queen Street and Glasgow Central, are within 10 minutes walk of the campus.
  • There are also three international airports within easy reach of the city centre.

Entry Requirements

  • Entry to the Royal Conservatoire is based on assessment in the form of audition, interview or workshop (depending on the programme).
  • Academic requirements for undergraduate applicants are generally 3 passes at Scottish Higher level or 2 passes at Scottish Advanced Higher. English, Welsh and Northern Irish applicants generally require passes in 2 A levels.
  • Postgraduate students normally have an undergraduate degree in a related area of study.
  • Academic entry requirements may be waived or reduced in the case of mature or professional applicants.

Student Mix

The 985 students enrolled in the academic year 2014/15 comprise:

Level of study

  • Undergraduate 80%
  • Postgraduate 20%

Mode of study

  • Full Time 97%
  • Part Time 3%


  • UK 74%
  • EU 11%
  • Other 15%

Course Flexibility

  • Erasmus and international exchange opportunities available during study.

Teaching Standards

  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland was granted degree awarding powers for taught programmes by the Privy Council in May 1994.
  • RCS has an excellent staff to student ratio and all of its teaching staff are practicing professionals in their fields.
  • RCS has recently introduced a new curriculum, which builds on our reputation for developing effective and adaptable artists by creating the space and support for this to flourish.

Research Standards

  • Following an historic agreement between the Royal Conservatoire and the University of St Andrews, research degrees undertaken at the Royal Conservatoire are validated and awarded by St Andrews.
  • Within the conservatoire sector, we are ranked third in the UK for research in music (REF 2014).

Academic Strengths

  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland’s visiting International Fellows are some of the most renowned artists in their field and come to work with students several times a year. Through performances, masterclasses and workshops, RCS students benefit from their tuition and inspiration. These artists include Pavel Steidl, the Brodsky Quartet, Nicola Benedetti, Ian Bousfield, Nadine George and the Lecoq Family.
  • Staff are expert in their fields, and most are professionally active.
  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland stages around 500 performances by students and staff every year in its own venues and in professional venues across Scotland, the UK, and beyond.
  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has an impressive number of side-by-side, mentoring and joint projects with national and major performance arts companies. Companies we work with include Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Playwrights' Studio, Scotland.

Undergraduate Courses

Type of Qualification:

Mode of study:

Student Facilities

  • The Whittaker Library contains one of the most comprehensive collections of performance materials for music and drama in the UK and internationally.
  • The IT Department provides access to a growing number of electronic resources with a dedicated in-house IT Trainer.
  • Student access to the Culverhouse Classical Music Collection via Film & Sound Online.
  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has some of the best facilities in Europe. There is an ongoing development programme, and a recent investment of £8.5m in the superb new facility the Wallace Studios and in the refurbishment of the Renfrew Street building. They include five professional performance venues, a high ratio of practice rooms per student, three recording studios, percussion studios, professional stage technology, a suite of bespoke dance studios, new studios for technical, design, scenic art, set-building and costume design and construction. All of these resources are backed up by the latest IT and digital technologies.

Disability Services

  • The Royal Conservatoire welcomes applications from people with special needs and disabilities. There are many students with disabilities who have successfully completed courses, and many who are studying here now, including students with dyslexia, visual and hearing impairments, epilepsy, asthma and ME.
  • For further information, telephone Jane Balmforth on 0141 2708 282 or email j.balmforth@rcs.ac.uk.

Students' Union

  • RCS Students’ Union is here to represent all students and to continually improve the student experience.
  • We are active in working with the Royal Conservatoire’s administration, with directors and course leaders to ensure student feedback is used to better the student experience. We are on campus and our door is always open.
  • We have representatives from every department, four executive members, liberation officers and presidents of societies and clubs.

Recent/Prospective New Builds

  • A £6.2m extension has recently been completed to the Wallace Studios at Speirs Locks to extend the number of rehearsal spaces.

Notable Alumni

Our alumni are musicians, directors, writers, composers, costume designers, set designers, animateurs, educators, actors, performance makers, producers, technicians... and more.

  • Maureen Beattie – actor
  • Billy Boyd – actor
  • Robert Carlyle – actor
  • Tom Conti – actor
  • Alan Cumming – actor
  • Tony Curran – actor
  • Patrick Doyle – composer
  • Sheena Easton – singer
  • James Fleet – actor
  • Stella Gonet – actor
  • Hannah Gordon – actor
  • John Gracie – actor
  • John Hannah – actor
  • David Hayman – actor
  • Denis Lawson – actor
  • Phyllis Logan – actor
  • James McAvoy – actor
  • Lorna McGhee – flute
  • David McVicar – opera and theatre director
  • Lisa Milne – soprano
  • Colin Morgan – actor
  • Daniela Nardini – actor
  • Mark O’Keefe – trumpet
  • Shernaz Patel – film maker, actor
  • Bill Paterson – actor
  • Elaine C Smith – actor
  • David Tennant – actor
  • Ruby Wax – comedienne

Further Details

Address Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
100 Renfrew Street
G2 3DB
UCAS Code R58