Become a Member

To be considered for membership of Conservatoires UK, an institution will need to demonstrate they match the CUK membership criteria.
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland
Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – Photo by Robert McFadzean

To be considered for membership of Conservatoires UK, an institution must be able to evidence through external endorsement the following distinguishing characteristics:

Conservatoires UK Membership Criteria

To be considered for membership of Conservatoires UK, an institution must be able to evidence through external endorsement the following distinguishing characteristics:

  • A world-leading provider of specialist education and training in music, drama, dance and/or circus, branded and recognised internationally as a Conservatoire.
  • An institution in receipt of enhanced public funding reflecting its international standing, the quality of its teaching, performance, and research including knowledge exchange activity and the employability of its graduates.
  • An independent free-standing specialist higher education provider with a critical mass of full-time students (normally defined as a minimum of 300 students unless there are exceptional circumstances evidenced through the application).
  • A highly vocational portfolio of higher education programmes in music, drama, dance and/or circus which is demonstrably successful in producing a significant number of performing arts professionals pursuing international careers.
  • A primary focus on intensive learning and teaching methods, involving high student/staff contact hours and a demanding rehearsal and production schedule.
  • An emphasis on one-to-one tuition and/or small ensemble/group teaching, complemented by a wide range of large ensemble activities.
  • A vibrant culture of research including knowledge exchange that enriches learning, teaching and performance at all levels and produces outputs of national and international standing and/or impact.
  • A highly selective audition and/or interview process.
  • An assessment model that supports and promotes the development of high-level practice-based skills in music, drama, dance and/or circus.
  • Active links with the external profession, achieved by encouraging core academic staff to maintain a professional profile and providing students with frequent opportunities to work with visiting professionals of national and international renown.
  • A proto-professional learning environment, which is rich in public-facing performance opportunities for students.
  • An appropriate physical environment, including bespoke teaching, practice and rehearsal studios, high specification public performance venues and access to instruments and recording facilities of professional quality.
  • Extensive specialist pre-tertiary provision, typically a large-scale Junior Conservatoire or substantive learning and participation programme.
  • An emphasis on the development and assessment of the whole person – aesthetic, intellectual, physical, and emotional.

Membership of CUK is only open to conservatoires and other similar organisations which are interested in promoting the Company’s Object as set in the Articles of Association of Conservatoires UK and meet the membership criteria set by the Directors.

In reviewing applications against its criteria, the Conservatoires UK Board will adopt a holistic approach, focusing on the overall profile of the institution and the quality of experience it provides for its students.

As a membership organisation established to represent the interests of the UK’s conservatoire sector, Conservatoires UK seeks to achieve a balance in its membership across the various performing arts disciplines and the UK regions.

In accordance with CUK’s Articles of Association, the decision on whether to admit an organisation into membership rests ultimately at the discretion of the Directors, 80% of whom must be in support. The decision is then final.

CUK Criteria for the admission of new institutional members, with effect from July 2021.

The Company’s object is to advance and assist in the advancement of higher or further education in the United Kingdom in the fields of music and performing arts (insofar as such advancement and assistance shall be of an exclusively charitable nature) and, in particular, but without prejudice to the foregoing, by providing and maintaining an organisation to facilitate applications for admission to such higher or further education establishment to assist applicants in gaining access to such education establishments.