A record 1,250 talented performers from outside of the EU have applied through UCAS Conservatoires to study music from September 2020, up 25 per cent on last year, and the third straight year of sharp increases.

In total, 3,730 musicians applied by the 1 October deadline, up 6 per cent on last year, and a new record. There are 1,990 applicants from the UK, a similar number to last year, and 490 from the EU, a fall of 50 applicants on 2019.

 UCAS Conservatoires  is the admissions service for undergraduate and postgraduate performing arts courses at nine higher education providers across the UK. The 1 October deadline for music courses is applicable at eight conservatoires. Today’s analysis marks the first time that UCAS Conservatoires application statistics have been published during a live cycle, shortly after the music application deadline.

While the number of undergraduate applicants has remained steady this year at 1,830 (up 30 on 2019, which was a large increase from 1,360 in 2018), the number of people submitting a postgraduate application has risen by 10 per cent to 1,930 with applicants from outside the EU accounting for this increase.

There are similar numbers of 18 year old UK men and women (410 and 400 respectively) applying for an undergraduate course through UCAS Conservatoires. This is a significant difference from the main UCAS undergraduate scheme  where women are over a third more likely to apply than men.

Figures from UK Music’s Annual Measuring Music Reports  show the music industry now contributes £4.5 billion to the UK’s economy, an increase of £700 million in the five years between 2013 and 2017. The number of equivalent full time jobs sustained by music has grown to 145,000, up 30 per cent during the same time.

All of today’s conservatoire statistics can be found in our new interactive dashboard, allowing users to visualise and tailor the reporting to their own specifications.

Clare Marchant, UCAS’ Chief Executive, said,

‘Gifted musicians from around the world are increasingly keen to study and hone their performance skills at the UK’s world-class conservatoires. It’s clear that students want to be part of our vibrant and growing music industry, and they’ll have the chance to demonstrate their talents to professional performers in their upcoming auditions. 

Today’s statistics are the latest commitment from UCAS to improve transparency in all our services by publishing timely analysis in easy to use, and reusable, formats swiftly after application deadlines.’


Students can apply through both UCAS Conservatoires and UCAS Undergraduate at the same time, though can only take up a place on one course at the end of the cycle.

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