How to choose a conservatoire course and when to apply. Courses are available in music, dance, acting, and musical theatre at undergraduate and postgraduate level.

1. Choose your subject

Conservatoire courses largely focus on practical tuition, performance experience and encouraging a great variety of creative influences and ideas – all backed up by academic study and professional development.

Your choice of subject will first of all be about where your talents and experience are based, but also something that leads towards a creative arts career you’d enjoy.

Thinking about more than one course or subject?

To increase your chances of getting a place on a course, we give you the option of applying to up to six courses at once.

However, there’s usually no need to apply for more than one course at any particular conservatoire.

  • If you’re applying for music courses you can choose two instruments if you want: to study equally, to study one more than the other, or to give two options – either of which you’d be happy to study as your one main instrument. You can study two instruments equally at most conservatoires.
  • If you want to apply for several courses for the same instrument or discipline, just mention one on your UCAS Conservatoires application, then contact the conservatoire to mention your interest in other courses (stating your name and the Personal ID we’ll email you after you’ve submitted your application to us).
  • This is relevant to the step below too; the type of course.

2. Choose a type of course

Conservatoire courses are available at university levels, but within those levels there are different types of courses, different ways to study them and varying entry requirements.

  • Undergraduate – diploma of higher education, non-award qualifications, or three or four year degree (BA, BMus) courses
  • Postgraduate – one or two year master’s (MMus, MA) or postgraduate diploma (PgDip) courses. Alternatively, there are research degrees which you can learn about and apply for directly with the conservatoires.

Not sure what courses you’re qualified for?

As with picking multiple courses or subjects at any conservatoire, there’s usually no need to apply for more than one course at the same conservatoire. Here’s how to figure out which course to apply for.
  1. Firstly you’ll know whether you’re at undergraduate or postgraduate level – depending whether you’ve previously completed further education or graduated from an undergraduate degree.
  2. Then choose a type of course at that level. They have different entry requirements, so it’s a good idea to contact the conservatoire to check which course they think you should apply for.
  3. If there’s uncertainty over which will be the most suitable, just apply for the highest level course you’re interested in. Then the conservatoire will be able to make a final decision at the audition or interview stage.
  • For example, if you’ll be studying at undergraduate level and you’re not sure if you’ll be qualified for a diploma or a BMus degree, only apply for the BMus degree.
  • If you’ll be studying at postgraduate level and are not sure whether to apply for a postgraduate diploma or a master’s degree, only apply for the master’s degree.

Part-time or flexible students

Undergraduate degree courses at conservatoires are studied full-time, but some non-award, undergraduate diplomas and postgraduate courses are part-time. Contact the conservatoires to find out more about what you can do, or whether to take a part-time undergraduate course at university before moving on to a part-time postgraduate course at a conservatoire.

3.  Choose a conservatoire

Some students set their heart on a particular conservatoire, while others just want to choose the course they like the sound of best.

  • Either way is fine, but before you look for courses, check the different entry requirements and application deadlines.
  • Then later we’ll give you tips on how to choose between similar conservatoires and courses, to help you choose what’s best for you.

International and EU students

Studying performing arts at a conservatoire in the UK has many benefits in developing your artistic skills and gaining high quality training respected around the world. International students are welcome, and many conservatoires hold auditions in countries outside the UK. 

When to apply

Some courses require applications almost a year in advance of the start date, and you’ll need to have or be working towards some qualifications from school or college. As such, many applicants apply during their final year of school or college courses.

There are some variations in the deadlines and requirements though – find out when to apply and what the entry requirements might be.