Postgraduate study is a vital part of the Academy’s musical culture and we have the largest body of postgraduate musicians in the UK.

Whether you want to focus solely on performance, study a specialism or incorporate research into your studies, we offer a variety of flexible study programmes to suit your individual interests and career ambitions.

Below you’ll find more details about our postgrad degrees, diplomas, and professional development courses, as well as our thriving research culture.

If you have any questions, please contact our admissions team for more information.

Postgraduate Degrees

Master of Arts in Performance or Composition (MA)

The Master of Arts in Performance (including orchestral or choral conducting) or Composition is the standard postgraduate programme for students who want to focus on their principal study and build their professional skills. It is normally a two-year course, but in certain cases students can be allowed to take it in one year (intensive option).

Master of Arts in Musical Theatre (MA)

A one-year programme of intensive full-time study for Musical Theatre specialists.

Our MAs are right for you if…

You already have a bachelor degree (or equivalent) – it doesn’t have to be in music – and a high standard of musical ability. You may have done the BMus, for example, and want to take your study to the next level. The main focus of the MA is developing your practical skills as a musician.

Master of Music in Performance or Composition (MMus)

The Master of Music in Performance (including orchestral or choral conducting) or Composition has the MA at its core and adds a Master’s project. The project can be a concert with commentary, a recording-based project, a dissertation or a combination of these.

This is the standard postgraduate course for composers and is normally a two-calendar-year programme, but in certain cases students can take it in one calendar year (intensive option).

The MMus is right for you if…

You’re interested in studying beyond bachelor degree level and you want support in developing a substantial creative and/or academic project. Because the MMus includes delivering the project, it’s slightly longer than the MA, lasting two full calendar years, rather than two academic years. This is the most common study programme to do if you’re hoping to do a PhD in the future, too.

Postgraduate courses

Postgraduate Diplomas

Professional Diploma (PROF DIP)

The Professional Diploma offers you the chance to explore a specialism in preparation for the next stage of your career development. Applicants normally hold a postgraduate degree in performance or composition, and must put forward a proposal outlining their specialism and what they hope to achieve.

The Professional Diploma is right for you if…

You’re looking for a high-level music course that is a next step above the MA or MMus. Tailored to your needs, this course is designed to equip you with the skills you need for professional success.

CPD Diploma in Creative Music Leadership or Conducting

The Continuing Professional Development (CPD) Diploma offers an opportunity for professional musicians to gain valuable skills, knowledge and experience in creative music leadership or in conducting. CML students can take part in Open Academy projects, and you will also be offered placements with partner organisations. In the final term you will be supported to design, lead and evaluate your own project.

The CPD Diploma in Creative Music Leadership is right for you if…

You’re hoping to have a varied portfolio career in music. This diploma enables you to gain a range of skills suited to a multitude of sectors, including the health service, schools and the arts, as well as qualifying you to work with the elderly and people with learning difficulties.

The CPD Diploma in Conducting is right for you if…

You’re a professional musician who wants to embark on a new direction and move into conducting.

Advanced Diploma in Performance (ADV DIP)

The Advanced Diploma in Performance is designed to provide high-level professional performance training within a largely self-directed one-year programme of study.

You will be mentored by an Academy professor and receive one-to-one lessons throughout the year. The openness of this structure will allow you to tailor your study to your individual artistic needs. Applicants for the Advanced Diploma will usually hold a postgraduate degree in performance.

The ADV DIP in Performance is right for you if…

You’re already a well-established professional musician. Our Advanced Diploma is ideal if you’re pursuing a career as a soloist, whether you have a recording contract or are looking to build your international profile as a performer.

Advanced Diploma in Opera (ADV DIP)

Royal Academy Opera offers two years intensive training for opera singers. You’ll gain experience of working in a small opera company, within an educational framework, and benefit from one-to-one teaching, communal productions and classes. Normally applicants will have a Master’s degree, but the Academy welcomes applications from anyone who meets the appropriate performing standard.

The ADV DIP in Opera is right for you if…

If you’re looking for top-level, pre-professional training in opera skills and to enhance your employability in the industry.

Postgraduate courses


Our research degrees are aimed at performers and composers with highly developed skills and focused career aspirations. You will work with a supervisor and a team of creative staff on a substantial research project. This will normally be driven by your activity as a performer or composer, but will also require critical context and reflection.

The Academy offers a two-year MPhil and a three-year PhD degree in Performance Practice or Composition. MPhil students will usually apply to transfer to PhD in their second year of study. For both MPhil and PhD, you will be allocated 30 hours of supervision per year. You may apply for a further year to complete or write up your portfolio or dissertation at a reduced rate.

The Academy offers an integrated PhD degree over four years, although students can exit with an MPhil after two years and the fourth year is a reduced-fee writing up year that may not be required in all cases.

A research degree is right for you if…

You already have highly developed skills in performance or composition and you want to work on an extended project that sets your work in context and communicates the discoveries you make in it to others.

Your Next Steps

Want to know more about our postgraduate study programmes? You’ll find lots more detail about all our courses on the Course Finder.

Your relevant department page (eg Brass department) is another important place to look, too.

For more information about life as a postgraduate at the Academy, take a look at our postgraduate guide below, which also features testimonials from current students about their experiences.