International applicants

Chetham’s is a truly international community.  Around 10% of our students, and a large number of staff, have joined us from overseas, and this diversity both within school and across the city of Manchester encourages a natural awareness and acceptance of different views, beliefs and cultures.

Applying from overseas

If you live abroad and distance makes it impossible for you to visit Chetham’s more than once, DVD and video performances are accepted for first stage auditions.  If your application progresses, you will at some point be required to come to Manchester for a face to face audition before a place can be offered to you.
Recorded applications should be accompanied by a completed application form, including a reference from your principal study music teacher, all of which should be written in English.  Although admission is purely on musical potential and there are no academic entry requirements, it is important that Chetham’s can provide a suitable course for your needs, both academically and musically.  International applicants are therefore also asked to provide details of current educational achievements and the subjects they would like to study at Chetham’s.  Evidence of fluency in both written and spoken English is also required.


If you are a non-UK or non-EU student, it is likely that you will need to have a visa to study at Chetham’s.  The up to date information on studying in the UK is to be found on the UK Border Agency website

The School is a Highly Trusted Sponsor and if you are eligible we will be able to provide a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies sponsorship number for you to use when applying for your visa.

If you are aged up to and including 15 you will have to apply for a visa under Tier 4 (Child).  This also applies if you are 16 or 17 but will be primarily studying at GCSE level.

If you are 16 or 17 and will be studying A levels you can choose whether to apply under Tier 4 (Child) or Tier 4 (General).

If you are 18 you must apply under Tier 4 (General).

English Language skills

For prospective students who will be applying under Tier 4 (General) please note that students must be able to demonstrate competency in English language and they must be at or above CEFR level B1.  For more information please visit the UK Border Agency website or contact the School.

If English is not your first language, you will receive support from the Compensatory Education team whilst studying at Chetham’s.  Through one to one sessions, staff will assess your English language ability, and support you in developing grammatical and communication skills, and overcoming differences in understanding arising from linguistic or cultural divides. Students are offered support to prepare for the International English Language Test System (IELTS) which is usually a requirement for university or conservatoire entrance.


Every student whose parents live or work outside the UK must have a guardian. Students will usually visit this guardian for short breaks such as Free Weekends or in case of illness; and the guardian may respond on behalf of parents to educational or medical issues requiring urgent attention.

Funding for international students

Students with non-UK passports may be eligible for a grant through the Music and Dance scheme if they have lived in the UK for a prescribed period of time.  For the academic year 2017/18, the prescribed period of residence in the UK is from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2016.
Students with UK passports, but who live abroad, may or may not be offered a grant depending on their residential status.  The Bursar will be able to provide you with information relevant to your circumstances.
Students aged 16-18 who have lived in the EU for a 3-year period preceding their start date at the School should be eligible for a tuition-only means-tested grant.  Boarding fees (£7,212 for 2017/18) are not covered by this grant.
Students living outside the EU and with non-EU passports are not eligible for an MDS grant and would be classed as a fee-paying student.  Full boarding fees for 2017/18 are £32,031 per year.

EU Membership

We do not yet have any information as to the impact of the UK leaving the EU on overseas students. As soon as we have any guidance we will share it on the website and directly with current students who may be affected.