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Royal Northern College of Music

UCAS Code: R57

Location: Manchester, north-west England Show on Map

Site: Single site in city centre

International conservatoire.

Student Population

Total Students:820
FE Students:0%


Total undergraduates:530
Full Time:100%
Mature on Entry:5%
UK Students:82%
State school entry:71%

Teaching Staff

29 full-time, 177 part-time.

Broad study areas



Admission Information:AS- and A-levels accepted, key skills viewed favourably. UCAS tariff not used.
Drop Out Rate:2%
Accommodation:Majority of first years housed.


Founded:1973, from merger of Royal Manchester College of Music (founded 1893, by Sir Charles Hallé) and Northern School of Music (founded 1920).
Site:Modern buildings 1 mile south of city centre.  
How to get there:Manchester well-connected by coach and rail (to Manchester Piccadilly, Oxford Road and Victoria stations; 2 hrs 40 mins from London), by road (M6/M56, M61, M62, M67), and by air to Manchester International Airport (10 miles south of city centre). Many buses from city centre down Oxford Road. 

Student services & facilities

Student advice & services:Chaplains, counsellors, welfare officer, medical referrals, instrument purchase and loan scheme.  
Amenities:Opera theatre, concert hall, recital room; junior common room; café bar. Full programme of public events takes place throughout academic year.  
Sporting facilities:Arranged through SU and hall of residence.  
Accommodation:87% of first years in college accommodation (40% of all students). 316 self-catering places in halls, rent £115 per week for 42-week contract. Most students live in privately-owned accommodation for 2+ years: rents £60–£150 pw self-catering.

Study opportunities & careers

Library & information services:Extensive reference and lending sections of books and performing material. Information provision, £85 pa spent for each student (FTE). Support from library and IT specialists; induction programme for all new students and IT courses.  
Other learning resources:Vast audio collection with playback facilities for records, tapes, CDs, videos and DVDs. Electronic studio keyboard laboratory, professionally-staffed recording studio. Specialist collections: Collection of historic musical instruments, RNCM archives.  
Study abroad:Exchanges in Europe through Erasmus scheme.  
Careers:Advisory service supporting professional studies element of degree programme. 


Living expenses budget:Minimum budget of £6000 pa (excluding tuition fees) recommended by college.  
Term-time work:College allows term-time work for full-time students (external concert engagements make significant contribution to professional development), 75% believed to work. Some work available on campus (bar, front of house) and help finding work in concerts/gigs for suitable students.  
Financial help:Some fee reductions for students whose family income is up to £25k pa; also bursaries of up to £1110. A number of entrance awards. Also government funds and other funds used to alleviate student hardship especially when students do not qualify for public support. Some entrance awards for students of outstanding promise.
University tuition fees:Home students pay £9000 pa for first degrees. International students pay £14,800 pa (except vocal which £15,400 pa).


Academic features:

Joint courses run with Manchester University and Manchester Met University.  

Awarding body:

RNCM. University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University (joint courses).

Main undergraduate awards:


Length of courses:

4 years

Main subjects offered:

  • Music

Student view

Paul Wheatley (Music), Union Vice-President for Community and Welfare


What's it like as a place to live?

Great. There are plenty of things to do, all shopping needs covered, living places available close to the college and close to shops.

How's the student accommodation?

Ideal, based 30 seconds away from the college, nice rooms and kitchens, safe (no unwanted public access), more expensive than other
flats or houses, but reasonable price for what it is (quality, area).

What's the student population like?

Friendly, very diverse and interesting backgrounds, students from across the country and all continents.

How do students and locals get on?

Plenty of locals, Manchester is home to thousands of students, so the locals are used to dealing with students 24/7. A good community atmosphere in the central area of Manchester, areas that aren't designated student villages can be a bit more dangerous, but there is no reason to go to those places as a student.


What's it like as a place to study?

Excellent, good courses (very interesting and manageable), flexible practice times, great facilities (practice rooms, concert venues, rehearsal room)

What are the teaching staff like?

Very many top instrumental teachers (from leading orchestras around the world), Interested in the students' lives as well as the music, often more than pleased when students from other classes show interest in their own classes.
Academic staff also at the top of their game, top quality lectures.


What are student societies like?

There are not too many within the RNCM (because it is a relatively small population in comparison to other universities due to music being the main study), but the other 2 Manchester based universities have plenty or societies (squash, football, Shaolin Kung Fu, Gilbert and Sullivan, archaeology to name but a few) which are within walking distance from the RNCM.

What's a typical night out?

Most people like to get together as a group, start off a night at the college bar (student discounts available) and then venture off to one of the bars, clubs or pubs that are all within walking distance from the college. Most of these close before 2am.

... And how much does it cost?

Depending on a number of things, bus fare, amount to drink, buying rounds etc., an average calm night with friends could cost around £10-£15.

How can you get home safely?

There are buses running from the city centre straight through all the student villages (including a stop 1 minute from the halls of residence) up until 4am (before 1am they are approximately every 7 minutes, and there is always room). If you have run out of money or would like to walk home from a night out, the city centre is only about 15 minutes walk from halls, the walk is safe, on the brightly lit main road (Oxford road), especially if you are in a group. Most student of the RNCM like to stick to pubs/clubs/bars that are less than 5 minutes walk from halls anyway (there are plenty!)


Is it an expensive place to live?

The student loans usually last the term (unless you love to spend money), but most people I know rarely have money problems.

Average price of a pint?

£2.20 in the college bar, £3-£5 everywhere else (mostly £3).

And the price of a takeaway?

Roughly £4.

What's the part-time work situation?

Jobs in the college are available including the bar, student ambassadors, ushering for concerts (minimum wage). There are plenty of bars/clubs/pubs that will employ students. The college help you find paid performance work (weddings, functions etc.) if you apply to be on the 'externals list' (usually done when you are halfway through the course). There are also many students who will ask you to play in paid string quartet/jazz combo gigs once they get to know you.


What's the best feature about the place?

The great selection of musical possibilities, -this is the place to explore those musical ideas you've had that you couldn't do anywhere else. I've personally played my own compositions, plenty of jazz, Lebanese folk music, played in a ceilidh band, heavy metal....the list goes on! This is all outside of the course, within which there is plenty of orchestral playing, chamber music, solo playing. The boundaries are endless!

And the worst?

The weather is not exactly favourable. Manchester is a good place for rain-lovers!

And to sum it all up?

The entire area is a great student home and the course is fun and interesting, students rarely get bored in Manchester!

Past Students

Peter Donohoe (pianist); Jane Eaglen, Amanda Roocroft (sopranos); Howard Jones (pop singer); Brodsky Quartet, Nossek Quartet, Nemo Brass. 

More info?

Enquiries to SU President, tel 0161 907 5215. 



Royal Northern College of Music
124 Oxford Road
M13 9RD


0161 907 5260





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