Incoming undergraduate exchanges
Start date September 2021
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. The RCM currently has exchange partnerships with a range of institutions across Europe, and in the USA, Australia, Japan and South Korea.
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.
The information below is subject to change due to the UK’s departure from the European Union and the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Please ensure that you check regularly for updates.
The list below shows the RCM’s current partner institutions for student exchanges. We are currently in the process of renewing our agreements with our European partners, so this list may be subject to change for exchanges commencing in 2021 and beyond.
If your institution is not listed then it does not have an agreement with the RCM and unfortunately it will not be possible to apply for an exchange.
- Conservatorium van Amsterdam
- Universität der Künste Berlin
- Koninklijk Muziekconservatorium Brussels
- Hochschule für Musik Cologne
- Hochschule für Musik und darstellende Kunst Mannheim
- 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 (*not available for incoming exchanges in 2021)
- 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
- Manhattan School of Music, New York
- Eastman School of Music, Rochester, New York State
- Queensland Conservatorium, Brisbane
- Sydney Conservatorium
- Kyoto City University of Arts
- Korea National University of Arts
Please note that agreements with partner institutions may vary in future years.
When your exchange will take place
Most exchanges take place in the Autumn Term (September to December), normally in the third year of undergraduate study. This includes all European exchanges and most exchanges with our international partner institutions, including those in Japan and Korea. Students will normally have their period of stay recognised by their home institution, with a suitable programme of study agreed by both institutions.
Students from our partner institutions in the USA and Australia may choose whether to come to the RCM for the Autumn term or for a full academic year (September to July) in their third year of study. Those staying for the whole academic year complete the same study modules and assessments as other RCM students in the third year of the BMus Programme.
The Erasmus+ programme is a scheme funded by the European Commission to encourage greater collaboration and mobility between educational institutions. 2020 was the final year of Erasmus+, with a new Erasmus programme launching in 2021. It has been confirmed that UK institutions will not be eligible to participate in the new Erasmus programme.
However, some exchanges can still be undertaken in the 2021-22 academic year through the framework of the previous Erasmus+ programme, where both the RCM and the partner institution have 24-month Erasmus+ project agreements lasting until 2022 (not every institution does).
Where a partner institution does not have a 24-month Erasmus+ project, the RCM is seeking to establish an alternative bilateral agreement, to enable student exchanges to take place. However, these will not be eligible for Erasmus grants. If you are a student at one of our European partner institutions, we recommend that you check with your Erasmus Co-ordinator for the latest information on whether you will be eligible for an Erasmus grant to support your exchange.
We are currently in the process of renewing/renegotiating our exchange agreements with our European partner institutions. Therefore, please note that information on European partner institutions for exchanges in 2021/22 and beyond is subject to change.
The UK Government has announced a replacement exchange programme, the Turing scheme. The RCM is currently awaiting further information on the new scheme.
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. Most exchange students leave at the end of the Autumn term and are not at the RCM when examinations take place so they do not normally undertake any formal assessment during their stay. Credits are therefore not awarded to these students 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.
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 and we are not currently able to accommodate exchange students on our Master of Education (MEd) or Master of Science in Performance Science (MSc) programmes.
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.
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 of 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.
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 has three major performance spaces. The Amaryllis Fleming Concert Hall which has an illustrious history and is the primary performance venue for RCM orchestras and large ensembles. Our 400-seat Britten Theatre boasts excellent technical facilities for the RCM’s thriving International Opera School. The Performance Hall offers an alternative space for ensemble performances and orchestral rehearsals. It boasts a retractable stage, a Fazioli grand piano, comprehensive technical infrastructure and variable acoustics, providing versatility for the range of events staged by the College.
In addition, more intimate spaces for solo and chamber performance include the Performance Studio and 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, a number of sound-proofed Amadeus Music Pods and organ rooms. We have over 160 pianos, including 60 grand pianos and 20 early keyboards, and a recently opened Blüthner Practice Suite which holds ten Blüthner pianos, instrument storage with special facilities for harps and double basses, plus in-house instrument workshops.
RCM Studios is a commercial-grade facility, equipped with professional 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 scores, books and recordings in its lending collection, plus access to more than 400 music journals. The library also subscribes to many online resources including Oxford Music Online, Naxos Music Library, JSTOR, Met Online and the Berlin Philharmonic Digital Concert Hall. In addition, the RCM also boasts an internationally renowned collection of original manuscripts (including examples from Mozart and Elgar) early printed editions and archives. Our musicians also have access to thousands of scores online through our partnership with nkoda, and Henle digital sheet music.
The RCM Museum holds more than 15,000 instruments, portraits, images and engravings dating from the late 15th century to the present day, some of which are the earliest known examples of their kind. These items offer fascinating insight into the past, present and future of music and provide a coherent and comprehensive resource for the documentation, research and representation of the history of musical performance and instrument-making in London, particularly between the 18th and 20th centuries. Collection items regularly feature in academic and popular publications, television and radio programmes and as loans to major international exhibitions in Europe and beyond.
As part of a £3.6 million National Lottery Heritage Funded project, the Museum collection has been greatly enhanced and revitalised in a suite of purpose-built spaces that include accessible permanent display and temporary exhibition galleries, a ‘hands-on’ discovery area, a climate-controlled performance space and a dedicated research facility.
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.
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 Student visa to study in the UK.
The guide below provides details of what you will study during your exchange at the RCM, including information about optional modules and credits.
The availability of some activities in Autumn 2021 may be subject to the latest situation regarding coronavirus.
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 students to make final adjustments to their learning agreement.
If you need any academic advice regarding your programme of study at the RCM, you are welcome to contact Dr Ingrid Pearson.
Dr Ingrid Pearson
Area Leader, MMus in Performance
How to apply
Applications for exchanges beginning in September 2021 will open in early January 2021, with an application deadline of 12 April.
Applications should be submitted online using the AEC’s EASY application portal.
Applications submitted via post/e-mail will not be considered. When completing the application form you should upload:
- Academic transcript showing your studies to date
- Reference from your current professor
- Your audition video/portfolio
Performers must submit a video recording of approximately 20 minutes in duration.
Composers must prepare a portfolio of three contrasting works. Scores are required, and recordings may also be submitted if available.
All recordings/portfolios must uploaded in EASY as part of your online application. Most video formats are accepted, or audio recordings in mp3 format. Links to YouTube videos are also accepted.
Please do not post hard copies of your audition materials to the RCM, as these will not be considered.
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.
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.
Admissions and general audition enquiries