Royal Conservatoire of Scotland


The Royal Conservatoire has occupied its current purpose-built building on Renfrew Street in Glasgow since 1988. Its roots lie in several different organisations. It began with the establishment of the Glasgow Educational Association in 1845, which formed to provide courses in competition with the University of Glasgow. The Association later became the Glasgow Commercial College, and this in turn became part of the Glasgow Athenaeum in 1847. The Glasgow Athenaeum provided training in commercial skills, literature, languages, sciences, mathematics and music. Charles Dickens gave its inaugural speech, in which he stated that he regarded the Glasgow Athenaeum as “…an educational example and encouragement to the rest of Scotland”.

In 1888, the commercial teaching of the Glasgow Athenaeum separated to form the Athenaeum Commercial College, which, after several rebrandings and a merger, became the University of Strathclyde in 1964. In 1890 the non-commercial teaching side of the Glasgow Athenaeum became the Glasgow Athenaeum School of Music. In 1928 the premises were extended with a gift from the philanthropist Daniel Macaulay Stevenson. In 1929 the school was renamed as the Scottish National Academy of Music to better reflect its scope and purpose. Its first Principal from 1929–1941 was William Gillies Whittaker. In 1944, it became the Royal Scottish Academy of Music.

The Royal Scottish Academy of Music established a drama department called the Glasgow College of Dramatic Art during 1950. It became the first British drama school to contain a full, broadcast-specification television studio in 1962. In 1968 the Royal Scottish Academy of Music changed its name to the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama (RSAMD) and introduced its first degree courses, which were validated by the University of Glasgow.

In 1993 RSAMD became the first conservatoire in the United Kingdom to be granted its own degree-awarding powers. Research degrees undertaken at RSAMD are validated and awarded by the University of St Andrews in Fife. RSAMD is one of four member conservatories of the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music.


School of Music:

  • Keyboard
  • Education (Concurrently run with Glasgow University)
  • Vocal Studies
  • Opera
  • Strings
  • Woodwind
  • Brass
  • Timpani and Percussion
  • Scottish Music
  • Composition
  • Academic Studies
  • Conducting
  • Jazz

School of Drama, Dance, Production and Screen:

  • Acting
  • Classical and Contemporary Text (Masters)
  • Contemporary Performance Practice
  • Digital Film and Television
  • Performance in British Sign Language and English
  • Production Arts and Design
  • Production Technology and Management
  • Musical Theatre
  • Musical Theatre (Masters)
  • Modern Ballet

Junior Conservatoire:

  • Junior Conservatoire of Music
  • Junior Conservatoire of Drama
  • Junior Conservatoire of Production
  • Junior Conservatoire of Screen
  • Junior Conservatoire of Dance


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.


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 they work with include Scottish Opera, Scottish Ballet, National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra and Playwrights’ Studio, Scotland.


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 their reputation for developing effective and adaptable artists by creating the space and support for this to flourish.

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