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Guidance for incoming students 2021

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We are delighted to be welcoming you to the RCM in September. We expect the curriculum to be fully in-person for practical activities on campus during 2021-22.

While some academic modules are delivered in a blended format using a mixture of online lectures and in-person seminars, the majority of RCM classes are delivered in person.

In the event of increased Covid restrictions in the future, some or all of your teaching may be moved online temporarily. We will continue to monitor the situation closely.

How we are keeping our community safe

The RCM has plans in place for a number of scenarios including coronavirus cases on campus and changing government restrictions. The following plans are in line with guidance from the UK Government.

RCM students, RCM Junior Department students, professors and staff members who experience symptoms of Covid-19 must self-isolate, notify the RCM using the Covid self-reporting form and book a test.

In the instance of confirmed or suspected cases, the RCM will communicate with individuals directly. No wider communications will be sent to the College community. Students and staff who are self-isolating will be fully supported by the RCM.

If there are several confirmed cases at the College, action may be taken to further reduce activity on campus. Operational changes will be communicated via RCM Notices so please continue to check your College email.

Twice-weekly and home- Covid-19 testing

On arrival at College, students will be asked to take two lateral flow tests 3-4 days apart.

At least until the end of September, the RCM community is expected to participate in free twice-weekly testing using home-testing kits available to all students and staff or at one of many local testing centres.

Covid 19 vaccinations

I have been fully vaccinated – do I need to take these twice-weekly tests?

Even if you are fully vaccinated, we ask you to take regular lateral flow tests at least until the end of September.

If I have not been fully vaccinated – will I have access to a coronavirus vaccine as an international student?

The UK government has confirmed that international students in the UK who are registered with a GP will be able to access the free Covid-19 vaccination in the UK, just as they are currently able to access healthcare. Young people in the UK are being offered the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

It is important you register with a GP as soon as possible. Please do so either at Imperial College Health Centre or with a local GP close to where you live in London. To register with Imperial College Health Centre you just need to complete a simple on-line form, which can be found on their website.

All residents at Prince Consort Village qualify for the full NHS registration; others who are not in the large postcode catchment area can register as out of area NHS patients or visit the NHS website to find your local practice.

If you are not already vaccinated, the NHS will be providing free vaccination for all students in the autumn.

If I am fully vaccinated, will I need to self-isolate if I come into contact with someone who tests positive for coronavirus?

From 16 August, the government will not require close contacts of someone who tests positive to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated. If you are not fully vaccinated you will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. This is a big bonus to being fully vaccinated, meaning your studies and social life will not be interrupted if you are fully vaccinated.

If I have been vaccinated overseas, will my vaccine be recognised in the UK?

Students who have been fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by the EMA in Europe and the FDA in the USA will be able to travel to England from amber list countries without having to quarantine on arrival from Monday 2 August. Students arriving from Europe will need to produce the EU’s digital Covid certificate as proof of their inoculation. American citizens will need to show the CDC card they were given when they were vaccinated. We are awaiting further guidance on vaccines from other countries and this page will be updated as soon as we have more information.

Before getting to the RCM

Qualifications and language tests

Schools, universities and language test centres have now re-opened in most locations. However, the RCM is monitoring the situation closely and will offer flexibility with deadlines if necessary.

Where test centres remain closed, the RCM will continue to accept three online language tests in addition to the RCM’s normal list of accepted tests. Full details of approved online tests and required scores are available here.

Will Induction Week events be held in person?

We look forward to you joining us from Monday 13 September to experience Induction Week in person. We are planning an induction programme that will introduce you to all areas of the College, including key staff, faculties and support departments. We plan to run onsite tours of the buildings and the Students’ Union is also planning a range of onsite social events to welcome you to the RCM community.

In advance of Induction Week we will provide full instructions on how to access online induction elements using our online learning platform, Learn.rcm.

New students will receive full details about registration and induction later in the summer.

Performance Programme

In the autumn term we welcome conductors Thomas Zehetmair, who will conduct the RCM Chorus in Brahms Requiem, Joana Carneiro, Martyn Brabbins and Jac van Steen. We perform Mozart’s Magic Flute, directed by Polly Graham.

There are projects for String Band, Wind Orchestra, Jazz Orchestra and Swing Band, Faculty Ensembles, and a large range of chamber concerts, both as part of our Chamber Essentials series and with frequent opportunities for student performances.

RCM buildings and services

RCM campus

  • From 19 July, room capacities at the College returned to normal and we plan to deliver all programmes on-site at the College as normal from September.
  • Face coverings are expected to be worn whilst indoors, especially whilst moving around our buildings.
  • If anyone in a teaching or working situation prefers one or both of you to be masked, we expect both parties to always respect this preference.
  • Always wash your hands on entering the building and regularly throughout your time on campus, using soap and water or hand sanitiser.
  • Meet in well-ventilated areas where possible, such as outdoors or indoors with windows open.
  • If you feel unwell, you must stay at home.
  • Please wipe down surfaces and pianos when leaving a practice room.
  • The buildings are subject to enhanced cleaning regimes and rooms are being ventilated via open windows and air conditioning which circulates air from outside.


Prince Consort Village (PCV)

  • Prince Consort Village is open and residents continue to be fully supported by the PCV team. The accommodation is staffed 24 hours a day, and the in-house team and residence manager are dedicated to the pastoral care and wellbeing of residents.
  • If you will be arriving at PCV from overseas and need to quarantine, you will be fully supported with two weeks' free accommodation. You must contact PCV directly to arrange this. The building is designed so that students can practice in their rooms and special arrangements have been made for pianists and percussion students who need to self-isolate. More information about PCV is available here.

Learning and teaching

One-to-one teaching, faculty classes and academic classes

  • From September, we expect the curriculum to be fully in-person for practical activities, including lessons, faculty classes, and ensemble rehearsals.
  • Most academic classes will be delivered in person too. However, in response to positive feedback, we have redesigned some elements of the BMus Historical Studies curriculum to be delivered in a blended format.
  • We expect our Performance Programme to be fully in operation, with concerts and performances to live audiences. These will include all our usual ensembles – orchestras, chorus, opera, along with faculty ensembles, chamber and solo performances.
  • Students can work with accompanists on campus and external accompanists are allowed without applying for permission.

I am currently overseas and need to travel to the UK to start my course. What do I need to consider?

Students are advised to check the latest travel guidance published by the UK Government before they travel.

Advice varies depending on whether the country you are travelling from is on the UK’s green, amber or red list. From Monday 2 August fully vaccinated travellers from most of Europe and the United States of America will not need to self-isolate on arrival. This can be done in your own accommodation. You should bear this in mind when planning your travel, to avoid missing induction week events.

If you are travelling from a country on the red list but you are a British or Irish National or have residency rights in the UK (which includes Student visa holders), you must quarantine in a government-approved hotel for 10 days on arrival. Before you travel, you must book and pay for your hotel room and book two Covid-19 tests to take on days two and eight of your quarantine.

If you are currently residing in a country on the red list and you are not a British or Irish National and do not have residency rights in the UK, you will currently not be permitted entry to the UK and you should request to begin your studies remotely. If you have any further questions, contact

Read the full guidance

We will provide as much support as possible to students who are self-isolating – both with practical help and to provide learning and social support to keep you occupied so that the time goes as quickly and pleasantly as possible until you join us on campus.

I have to quarantine for ten days when I arrive in the UK, what provision will there be for me during this period?

Where possible we will record and upload class recordings to help students who are quarantining catch-up on missed classes. We also plan to record many of the Induction Week talks during the week commencing 13 September. Recordings will be available on the College’s online learning platform, Learn.rcm.

What should I do if I am unable to travel to the UK for the start of term?

Our courses are designed to be delivered on-site and in-person at the College, where you will have full access to our excellent staff and facilities.  For students who anticipate difficulties travelling to London in time to attend Induction Week (Monday 13 September 2021) we will do our best to provide online access to teaching during the early part of the Autumn term.  However, we will be unable to provide online equivalents for activities, especially faculty classes, chorus, chamber music and ensembles, so we encourage you to come to London as soon as travel restrictions allow. Further information on how to request to register and begin your studies remotely on a temporary basis will be sent out with registration information in mid-August.  In the meantime, you are welcome to contact our friendly Registry team on if you have any questions.  

I am worried about coming to campus – can I study remotely by distance learning?

RCM programmes are designed for in-person study. We expect all students to study in London during 2021-22.

Most students are eager to return to London and to studying on campus. But we realise that some students may have problems travelling to the UK right now, or may have health issues that may make it difficult for them to come on campus. Under these circumstances we will do our best to provide online access to teaching during the early part of the Autumn term.  However, we will be unable to provide online equivalents for all activities, especially faculty classes, chorus, chamber music and ensembles, so we encourage you to come to London if travel restrictions allow. Further information on how to request to register and begin your studies remotely on a temporary basis will be sent out with registration information in mid-August.  In the meantime, you are welcome to contact our friendly Registry team on if you have any questions.  

Students on Student Visas

We appreciate that students on Student Visas may have specific concerns regarding arrival in the UK. There are large numbers of international students at UK universities and the Home Office is regularly updating its guidance.

I am an international student and my date of travel to the UK has been delayed because of coronavirus travel restrictions. How does this affect my visa?

If you have already applied for a visa and been issued with your entry clearance vignette, you should aim to travel to the UK before the vignette expires. If you will not be able to travel before the expiry date, contact for advice.

If you are joining the RCM in September as an international student and you have questions and concerns related to immigration and visas, please email for advice and support.

Further questions

If we have not answered your question, please email

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Guidance for current RCMJD students

Our latest information for RCM Junior Department students and their parents about the delivery of the RCMJD programme, and how we are keeping our students safe.

Read our guidance for RCMJD students

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Guidance for current students

Our latest information for senior College students on how the current situation affects studies and exams, as well as guidance on how to keep safe and where to find support.

Read our guidance for current students

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