Media Release: Scotland’s national conservatoire ranked in world top three for performing arts education

RCS - Brigadoon

THE Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has today been ranked third in the world for performing arts education in a global review by the prestigious QS World Rankings 2017.

Up three places from last year, Scotland’s national conservatoire joins Juilliard in New York as one of the top three performing arts education institutions in the world, making the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland the top-ranking international HEI in Scotland, for its category.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “It’s a real thrill to see Scotland’s national conservatoire recognised in the world top three for performing arts education for the first time.

“This is a proud moment for us all at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland and of great credit to a terrific staff and student community that embraces the best of both excellence and creativity that thrives here in Glasgow and Scotland.

“This is a great team, working in a great city and nation, delivering one of the world’s most innovative arts education for the 21st century.”

Professor Nick Kuenssberg, chair of the Royal Conservatoire, said: “The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a place like no other, offering a world-class arts education that nurtures the next generation of creative leaders in an innovative and transformational way.

“Principal Jeffrey Sharkey and our team already lead the way in higher education in Scotland for the employability of graduates and their commitment to widening access so I’m thrilled to see their dedication and innovation rightly recognised as global leaders in the field of performing arts education.

“This is a proud day for Scotland as our national conservatoire is rightly recognised and celebrated as a world leader in the performing arts.”

Established in 1847 – and this year celebrating our 170th anniversary – the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is one of the world’s most innovative multi-disciplinary conservatoires, offering specialised teaching across dance, drama, music, production, film and education.

The Conservatoire is number one in Scotland for graduate employability, endorsing its status as a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts.

The Royal Conservatoire has around 1,100 students from 52 countries around the world.

Famous alumni include David Tennant, James McAvoy, Alan Cumming, Ruby Wax, Katie Leung, Melody Grove, Colin Morgan, Richard Madden, Sir David McVicar, Patrick Doyle and Elaine C Smith.

The Glasgow-based institution is also leading the way in widening access to education in the performing arts through its award-winning fair access initiatives and the creation of regional arts hubs in Ayrshire at the magnificent Dumfries House, and a newly-announced hub in Fraserburgh.

More than 520 young people attend the Junior Conservatoire each week, learning in the same facilities and from the same teachers as the degree programme students, the Junior Conservatoire curriculum offers highly specialised education in and across the art forms of music, dance, drama, film and production and film.

The QS World Ranking announcement comes as the Royal Conservatoire launches its 2018 student recruitment activities looking for new students from across Scotland and across the world hoping to follow in the footsteps of the institution’s celebrated alumni.

Now ranked third in the world, the 2018/19 recruitment campaign will showcase its world class teaching and purpose built facilities and a wide range of successful graduates who have all learnt their craft in this prestigious Glasgow-based institution.

The world ranking also comes just after the Royal Conservatoire celebrated the completion of its £2million Creative Campus, which has increased individual learning and teaching space for students by 50 per cent.

The Royal Conservatoire has been ground-breaking throughout its history.

It was the first conservatoire in the UK to have its own degree awarding powers, the only conservatoire in Europe to offer education in all of the performing arts and the first conservatoire to offer a BA Performance degree in British Sign Language and English. The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland also leads the way in attracting applications and entrants to higher education in the performing arts through its award-winning widening access initiatives.

In 1892, the founding institution of the Royal Conservatoire appointed its first professor… Emma Ritter-Bondy. Not only was Emma the first to be bestowed with the title at the Glasgow Athenaeum School of Music, she is believed to be the very first female professor of a UK higher education institution, an achievement we are marking today for International Women’s Day.


Media contacts:

Katie Bell – communications manager

Tel: +44 (0)141 270 8387


Linda Robertson – communications officer

Tel: +44 (0)141 270 8291


Mark Good – communications officer (Alumni)

Tel – +44 (0)141 270 8367


About the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

  • The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is ranked third in the world for performing arts education (QS rankings) and is ranked number one in Scotland for graduate employability, endorsing its status as a national and international centre of excellence for the performing arts.
  • In 2017, the Royal Conservatoire is celebrating its 170th anniversary. During its existence, it has built on its roots as a national academy of music to become one of Europe’s most multi-disciplinary performing arts higher education centres, offering specialised teaching across music, drama, dance, production, film and education. The Royal Conservatoire is encouraging trans-disciplinary learning throughout its innovative curriculum and throughout 2017, the institution will host a series of performances and special events recognising its rich history and world class reputation for performing arts education.
  • Around 1,100 students are currently pursuing degrees at the Royal Conservatoire across its specialisms. The Conservatoire works in partnership with the national companies, including the National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Opera and BBC Scotland, to provide students with the very best learning experiences the Scottish landscape has to offer.
  • Our award-winning widening access initiative, Transitions 20/40, has shown that applicants applying to our undergraduate programmes via this programme have a 6.8 per cent higher success rate at audition. (2016/17 figs.)
  • Based in the heart of Glasgow, the Royal Conservatoire is also a busy performing arts venue; it hosts more than 500 public performances each year and issues around 64,000 tickets from its box office annually. Additionally, the Royal Conservatoire teaches over 3,000 part-time learners every year through its Junior Conservatoire and lifelong learning departments.

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