Exchanges provide a fantastic opportunity to experience student life in London, one of the world’s great centres of music making. Exchange students have full access to the RCM’s world-class professors, facilities and performance opportunities during their stay, and many students forge professional contacts and friendships that can last a lifetime.
Start date September 2017
Duration 1 term, September-December, or 1 year (USA and Australian exchanges only), September-July
Every year the RCM welcomes students to study on our exchange programmes from our partner institutions across the globe. European exchanges take place in the framework of the European Union’s Erasmus+ Programme, and an Erasmus mobility grant will normally be available through your home institution to help with the costs of studying abroad. The RCM also has a number of international exchanges with institutions in the USA, Australia and Japan.
Please note, the RCM is unable to accept conductors on its exchange programmes. The RCM does not offer any courses in jazz or music theatre.
On arrival at the RCM in September you will have a one-to-one consultation with the Head of Undergraduate Programmes to discuss the exact requirements of your home institution and to tailor your programme of study to your personal requirements. This is an opportunity for Erasmus exchange sudents to make final adjustments to their learning agreement.
Exchange students are not required to pay tuition fees to the RCM. You should register and pay your fees at your home institution as normal. Similarly, the RCM does not charge an application fee for exchange students.
Useful information for incoming exchange students
If your institution is not listed below then it does not have an exchange agreement with the RCM. Unfortunately it will not be possible to apply for an exchange. You may wish to consider our Semester Experience Programme or Junior Year Experience Programme instead.
European partner institutions (ERASMUS Programme)
ERASMUS exchanges take place in the Autumn Term (September to December), normally in the third year of undergraduate study. Our ERASMUS student exchange partner institutions are currently:
- Conservatorium van Amsterdam
- Universität der Künste Berlin
- Koninklijk Muziekconservatorium Brussels
- Hochschule für Musik Cologne
- Royal Danish Academy of Music, Copenhagen
- Koninklijk Conservatorium, The Hague
- Sibelius Academy, Helsinki
- Musikhochschule Karlsruhe
- Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon
- Musikhögskolan i Malmö
- Norges Musikkhøgskole, Oslo
- Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris
- Academy of Performing Arts (HAMU), Prague
- Universität Mozarteum Salzburg
- Kungliga Musikhögskolan i Stockholm
- Staatliche Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Stuttgart
- Staatliche Hochschule für Musik Trossingen
- Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht
- Universität für Musik und Darstellende Kunst Vienna
- Filmuniversität Babelsberg "Konrad Wolf", Potsdam
International partner institutions
The majority of exchange students from our international partner institutions in the USA and Australia come to the RCM for a full academic year (September to July) in the third year of study. Because they are at the RCM for a whole academic year, they complete the same study modules and assessments as other RCM students in the third year of the BMus Programme. However, a shorter stay for just the Autumn Term is also possible.
International exchange students coming to the RCM for shorter stays (eg from Japan) will normally have their period of stay recognised by their home institution, with a suitable programme of study and any arrangements for assessment agreed by both institutions.
Our international exchange partner institutions are currently:
- Manhattan School of Music, New York
- Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York State
- Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane
- Sydney Conservatorium
- Kyoto City University of Arts
Recognition of your exchange
The RCM uses the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications in England, Wales and Northern Ireland (FHEQ) credit system. The FHEQ credit system converts easily into the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS), with 2 RCM credits equalling 1 ECTS credit. The structure of our courses is fully compliant with the Bologna Process, with a standard full-time academic year being worth 120 RCM credits (60 ECTS).
Please note that the RCM does not use module codes.
All RCM courses run for a full academic year with examinations at the end of the year. ERASMUS exchange students are not at the RCM when examinations take place so they do not normally undertake any formal assessment during their stay. Credits awarded to ERASMUS students are therefore not awarded for completion of individual modules. 40 RCM credits (equal to 20 ECTS) are awarded for successful completion of the overall exchange period, which is defined as successful completion of principal study lessons and any other activities specified on a student’s Learning Agreement.
At the end of the exchange period students are provided with a Certificate of Completion of Exchange and an Exchange Transcript by the RCM. This will be used by your home institution to recognise your period of study at the RCM and convert the credits you have gained to the system of credit used in your country.
Royal College of Music courses are internationally recognised as full degree courses with successful students awarded their qualifications under the RCM's Royal Charter.
Undergraduate study at the RCM
Undergraduate study at the Royal College of Music balances high-level training in solo, chamber and ensemble performance with critical enquiry into music past and present. Students investigate music in context and how it operates in contemporary cultures. The RCM also provides a range of options for developing practical and applied skills.
The nature of your undergraduate experience at the RCM depends on your principal study specialism. In essence, it includes individual lessons with distinguished musicians; core units in historical, technical, practical, and vocational subjects delivered in small groups; and a variety of performances.
Our undergraduate programme is designed to be flexible, especially in years 3 and 4, ensuring you can undertake study directly relevant to your needs and aspirations. A variety of options helps every student develop their interests during their time at the RCM.
From the very beginning of the course you will be able to draw on exceptional resources and opportunities, such as the RCM Library, the Centre for Performance Science, Creative Careers Centre and RCM Sparks – our outreach and education programme.
The modules most suitable for undergraduate exchange students are highlighted in the PDF below. Please note that some classes are limited in size and not all options may be available in the Autumn Term. Therefore we cannot guarantee a place to exchange students who are only at the RCM for one term. However, you should indicate in your Learning Agreement any options you wish to take and we will discuss a feasible programme for you.
If you have a particular interest that is not reflected above, please discuss it with our Assistant Head of Undergraduate Programmes who will try to help.
One-to-one lessons are at the very heart of every RCM student’s learning experience. The RCM’s impressive list of professors includes renowned instrumental and vocal soloists, distinguished repertoire and operatic coaches, prominent composers and conductors, plus principal players in major London orchestras such as the LSO, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Philharmonic Orchestra, BBC Symphony Orchestra and Royal Opera House Orchestra. Our world-class professors offer students, not only first-rate teaching, but also mentorship and networking opportunities.
All principal studies are delivered through a combination of one-to-one tuition complemented by performance classes, workshops, masterclasses, lessons from visiting professors, ensemble activities, seminars and lecture series as appropriate.
ERASMUS students and international exchange students staying for one term are entitled to 10 hours of principal study lessons during their three month exchange in the Autumn Term.
Exchange students from the USA and Australia are entitled to approximately 40 hours of individual tuition if staying for a full year exchange (depending on option choices).
RCM students enjoy a wide variety of performance opportunities including orchestral and choral projects, chamber music and solo opportunities, performance in jazz and historical instrument ensembles. The RCM runs a busy events calendar more than 500 events every year, the vast majority of which feature RCM students.
Faculty-based performance activities include chamber music and duo performance coaching, orchestral training, performance classes, acting and language classes (for singers), music technology (for composers), reed making (for double reed players) and improvisation (for organists).
Composition at the RCM fosters partnerships with the College's large body of gifted instrumentalists. Composers will hear performances of their own works in a variety of contexts and have the opportunity to benefit from a range of collaborations, which we host regularly with artistic organisations in London and beyond.
Find out more
We continually invest in our facilities to ensure RCM students have the very best opportunities. Our impressive performance spaces are matched by top-quality academic and technical provisions, such as our historic library and professional grade studios. The Royal College of Music is proud to offer some of the finest facilities anywhere in the world.
The RCM’s largest performance spaces are the Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall, which has an illustrious history, and the 400-seat Britten Theatre, which boasts excellent technical facilities for the RCM’s thriving International Opera School. In addition, more intimate spaces include The Parry Rooms, which have unparalleled views of the Royal Albert Hall, and our 100-seat Recital Hall.
As well as practice rooms and space for one-to-one and group teaching, the RCM contains dedicated opera rehearsal spaces, 11 Amadeus Music Pods and organ rooms. We have over 140 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, instrument storage with special facilities for harps and double basses, plus in-house instrument workshops.
RCM Studios is a top commercial-grade facility, equipped with the latest audio, video and composition technologies, supporting the RCM’s recording needs and enabling live broadcast of performances around the world.
The RCM Library contains more than 400,000 items of printed music, 9,000 CD recordings, extensive music literature, more than 400 music journals, plus an internationally renowned collection of original manuscripts (including examples from Mozart and Elgar) and early printed editions.
The RCM Museum holds more than 1,000 instruments dating from the late 15th century to the present day, some of which are the earliest known examples of their kind. The collection is a unique resource and many of the instruments can be studied or played by RCM students.
The public museum is currently closed for refurbishment, but its vital resources are still available to our students.
The RCM’s Creative Careers Centre, which is recognised internationally for its innovative approach to supporting young musicians, provides an unparalleled service to current students and recent alumni. The dedicated team partners with leading consultants, reputable arts organisations and local communities, delivering unique career-building opportunities and a direct route to the music industry.
The work of the Creative Careers Centre allows students to discover their professional identity, gain hands-on experience and new skills, develop an entrepreneurial mind-set and build a fulfilling professional portfolio.
Extensive performance and teaching opportunities are available, as well as valuable guidance on CV and biography writing, concert programming, communication skills, project management, marketing and publicity, online promotion, financial matters and how to develop a business idea.
Find out more
To apply for the RCM Exchange programme, first check that your institution has a student exchange partnership with the RCM (see above). The RCM can only consider applications from students nominated by existing partner institutions. You should then talk to the Exchange Co-ordinator at your home institution to check their selection procedures for exchange.
You must have completed at least one year of study at your home institution to be eligible for exchange.
English language requirements
The official teaching language for all classes is English. There is no requirement to demonstrate your level of English prior to joining the RCM exchange programme, but it is strongly recommended that you have a minimum standard of at least IELTS 5.5 (or equivalent) before arrival to enable you to participate fully in your course.
There are specific requirements for non-EEA students on full year exchanges, who require a Tier 4 visa to study in the UK.
Find out more about requirements for Tier 4 students
How to apply
Preparing your application
Your application must include the following:
- An Exchange application form (see below)
- A reference from your current professor
- Confirmation of nomination from your home institution's exchange co-ordinator
- CV (optional)
These documents should be saved as individual PDFs and uploaded to the DecisionDesk platorm with your audition recording or composition portfolio.
If you experience any problems uploading your portfolio please contact our Admissions team.
There is no need to submit an Erasmus Learning Agreement at this stage. The Learning Agreement can be completed and signed once a place is offered.
Submitting your application
Performers must submit a recording of approximately 20 minutes in duration. Video recordings are strongly preferred and are compulsory for Percussion applicants.
Composers must prepare a portfolio of three contrasting works. Scores are required, and recordings may also be submitted if available.
All recordings/portfolios must be submitted by 31 March 2017.
What happens next?
Once your application arrives at the RCM, it will be considered by the Head of Faculty and Deputy Director. We aim to notify candidates of the result of their application by the end of May.
Useful information for exchange students
If you have any questions about studying at the RCM or about the admissions process please contact our Admissions team, who will be happy to help you.