Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Image of a scene from a production at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.
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The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS) is a place like nowhere else, powered by performance, its people and their passion.

Founded in 1847, Scotland’s national conservatoire is a global leader in performing arts education, consistently ranked in the top ten of the QS World University Rankings.

Specialist tuition across music, drama, dance, production, film and education under one roof creates an environment where artists move between disciplines, immersed in a culture of creativity and collaboration that sparks bold new work and ways of thinking.

Students learn from the best at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, where they work alongside award-winning teaching staff, industry experts and internationally acclaimed guest artists.

And as the only conservatoire in the country, RCS is uniquely placed to partner with the nation’s leading artistic companies to provide one-of-a-kind learning experiences.

Here, students grow into the artists they want to be, where they’re encouraged to develop not just their art but their power to use it.

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is like nowhere else. Uniquely placed to partner with all of the national artistic companies and professional industries in the country, these partnerships provide their students with unrivalled access to side-by-side learning opportunities during their studies. Their alumni make an impact on and off stage in the world’s finest opera houses, concert halls, the stages of Broadway and the West End, in front of and behind the cameras, writing Hollywood scripts and teaching the next generation of artists.

Facts & Stats

  • World top ten for performing arts education (QS World University Rankings)
  • One of the few places where all the performing arts are taught on one campus.
  • Unrivalled professional partnerships including the BBC, BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, National Theatre of Scotland, Royal Scottish National Orchestra, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Ensemble, Scottish Chamber Orchestra, Scottish Opera, Solar Bear and The N
  • 5 performance venues, 90 practice rooms, 20 rehearsal rooms, 3 recording studios, 3 electroacoustic studios, 4 ballet studios, 4 production classrooms, 2 props workshops, 3 film editing suites, 1 Gyrotonic® studio, and scenic paint shop with static paint
  • The pioneering BA Performance in British Sign Language and English undergraduate programme is the first and only degree of its kind. It teaches people who identify as D/deaf or hard of hearing to be both actors and makers of work.
  • RCS offers the UK’s only Bachelor of Music degree dedicated to traditional and folk music.
  • More than 3,000 students are taught every year through the Junior Conservatoire and Short Courses, as well as national Fair Access programmes.
  • One of Scotland’s busiest arts venues with more than 500 performances each year.

Learn from the best

As Scotland’s only conservatoire, students develop their craft and collaborate across art forms in one of the finest multi-disciplinary education environments in the world.

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland partners with the country’s leading artistic companies to offer unique learning opportunities for students, which include everything from tours and professional placements to performing with world-renowned orchestras and theatre companies. Partners include the BBC, National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.


Performance is at the heart of life at RCS and with more than 500 live events each year, it’s one of the country’s busiest arts venues.

But it isn’t just in Glasgow where students get to showcase their talents, they can often be found on stage and behind the scenes across the UK and internationally and have even performed in iconic settings such as the Royal Opera House and Buckingham Palace.

Whether it’s playing side-by-side with professional musicians, treading the boards and directing at Shakespeare’s Globe, touring with Scottish Ballet or taking the world-famous Edinburgh Festival Fringe by storm, unique performance opportunities are part of the fabric of life at RCS.

Graduate and work

Hollywood stars, cultural leaders, arts advocates, and so much more – RCS alumni make their mark all over the globe.

Graduates can be found on cinema and TV screens, in concert halls and classrooms, and everywhere in between.

Graduates include:

  • Ncuti Gatwa, TV’s latest Doctor Who.
  • Krysty Wilson-Cairns, Oscar-nominated Hollywood screenwriter who co-wrote 1917, Last Night in Soho and is co-writing the latest Star Wars feature film with director Taika Waititi.
  • Sam Heughan, Outlander star, author and philanthropist.
  • Fergus McCreadie, jazz pianist and Mercury Prize nominee for his album Forest Floor.
  • Richard Madden, actor whose credits include Amazon Prime’s Citadel, Marvel’s Eternals, BBC’s Bodyguard and Game of Thrones.
  • Isobel McArthur, Olivier Award-winning actor, director and playwright for Pride and Prejudice* (*sort of).
  • Patrick Doyle, Hollywood film composer for films including Sense and Sensibility, Carlito’s Way, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire and Brave and commissioned to write a new Coronation March for the Coronation of King Charles.
  • Karen Cargill, global opera star and Grammy nominee who has graced the world’s top stages including the Metropolitan Opera, Royal Opera House and Deutsche Oper Berlin.
  • James McAvoy, actor whose credits include award-winning stage play Cyrano de Bergerac and films X-Men, Split, Atonement and The Last King of Scotland.
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