Living costs

Food being prepared on a chopping board
We cannot say exactly how much money students need while studying at the RCM. Different students have different needs and preferences, and live different lifestyles.

The figures given below are indicative only and reflect a range of essential and non-essential expenditure that might be incurred. These figures are for one year. If you are budgeting for living costs, remember to budget for the entire duration of your course.

International students

We advise international students to budget for additional unexpected costs such as returning home in the event of an emergency.

Indicative living costs

Unless otherwise stated, the annual costs below are calculated based on an academic year of 43 weeks. This is the length of contract offered by Prince Consort Village, which assumes students will not be resident during the summer vacation. Other providers of student accommodation may provide similar 43-week contracts. Please note: most contracts for privately rented accommodation in shared housing will be for a 52 week year or, in some cases, six months.

Rent, utilities bills & insurance

Rental costs vary with location, the number of people sharing the property and the facilities available. For example, halls of residence tend to be more expensive, but offer more facilities than renting a room from a private landlord. Utilities bills include water, gas, electricity, internet and similar expenses. Some rental agreements will include some or all utilities in the price.

Insurance costs vary from person to person depending on need. Many musicians will insure their instruments with a special policy. It is advisable to insure the contents of your accommodation and personal gadgets too. Some students may have private medical insurance and international students might insure against repatriation costs.

  • Indicative cost per week: £160–£210
  • Indicative cost per year (43 weeks): £6,880–£9,030

Additional household, personal & social costs

Additional household and personal costs include things like groceries, cleaning supplies, toiletries, and laundry bills, haircuts, clothes and mobile phone bills. They also include the cost of dry cleaning of concert clothes. 

  • Indicative cost per week: £86–£163
  • Indicative cost per year (43 weeks): £3,698–£7,009

Travel costs

Travelling around London is a daily necessity for most people who live, study and work here. Some choose to walk or cycle, which is cheaper than taking public transport, but can be impractical in bad weather. Taxis are widely available but more expensive. The figures below are for a Zone 1-2 Travelcard with student discount. Travelcards covering longer periods of time are more cost effective. For instance, an annual Travelcard works out cheaper per week than a weekly Travelcard, but has a much higher up-front cost.

  • Indicative cost per week: £23
  • Indicative cost per year (52 weeks): £904

Course costs

Course costs include items such as sheet music, stationery, recordings and equipment such as strings or reeds.

  • Indicative cost per week: £7-£20
  • Indicative cost per year (43 weeks): £301–£860

Total costs

Based on the figures above, total costs are likely to be in the following region:

  • Indicative total cost per week: £276–£416
  • Indicative total cost per year (43 weeks): £11,868–£17,888
  • Indicative total cost per year (52 weeks): £14,060–£20,436

Other considerations

Buying & maintaining instruments

Many RCM students have and maintain their own instruments. We remind all such applicants to include the cost of maintaining their instruments in their budget calculations.

The RCM has a valuable collection of instruments (mainly stringed) available for students. Use of these instruments will be prioritised for students who cannot afford a quality instrument of their own.

The RCM, through its alumni association, also has a fund to make interest-free financial loans to assist students and recent graduates to buy their own instruments.

Students on Tier 4 visas

Please note, non-EU students who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK must show they have sufficient funds to support themselves. If you are a Tier 4 applicant you need to have at least £1,265 per month (£11,385 per academic year) available for living expenses and be able to demonstrate this as part of the visa application process.