You’ve made the decision that you want to study at a Conservatoire rather than a university, but how do you apply and when? 

You can study specialist performing arts degrees at a Conservatoire which focus on the practical; with small class sizes, public performances in recording studios and live theatres, and masterclasses from leading industry experts.

It sounds like a sales pitch, but just look at the extremely long list of famous and successful alumni from all these Conservatoires and you can see why they are so very popular.    

There are 10 Conservatoires in the UK focusing on practical courses in dance, acting, musical instruments or singing and these 10 Conservatoires can be broken down into three separate groups when you’re considerimg how to apply to them.

Group One: Applying online at UCAS

You can apply through UCAS Conservatoire (part of UCAS) for 8 of these Conservatoires using the one UCAS application. These 8 conservatories are 

If you want to apply for a 2020 course it is theoretically possibly until the end of August 2020, but you’ll need to phone and chat with the individual Conservatoire to see if they have any places left and can organise a last minute audition. There may be potential places but there is no guarantee. 

If you’re thinking of applying for 2021 entry you can start in mid July 2020 as the deadline dates for music courses are 1 October 2020 and for dance and drama are 15 January 2021

As well as attending an interview once you’ve applied, you will also need to attend an audition whether that is for dance, singing, acting or playing a musical instrument. Please note you will be charged an audition fee.

It's best to be organised and apply as early as possible, as auditions start from 15 October 2020.

Group Two: Conservatoires UK, applying direct

CUK (Conservatoires UK) represents 9 of the 10 UK Conservatoires; the 8 in group one above and the Guildhall School of Music and Drama being the ninth one, for which you need to apply directly to the school and not through UCAS.  .

Their deadline dates for music courses are 9 October 2019, and for dance and drama are 22 January 2020.

There will again be both an application and an audition, with fees, which you pay in advance but they are piloting a fee waiver for 2016, so it’s worth checking out the full details on their website.

Group Three:  Conservatoire for Dance and Drama

This is a free standing Conservatoire that has 8 different specialist member schools across the UK.

Although the Conservatoire is one entity you have to apply to each of the 8 schools directly via the individual school website and not through UCAS. However if accepted you can still apply for government funded student finances.

They all charge fees for the application and audition process but each individual school has slightly different deadline dates for applications so please visit their websites, which you can find below:

Confused? We hope not. There really is a lot of choice and before you apply please remember to research, research, research and visit the open days for these Conservatoires.

They are all amazing places to study and you need the right one which will showcase you and shine a light on your talents. 

Have fun and good luck applying!

Further information

For more tips and advice on applying for music, dance or drama courses, please see:

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