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RCS retains top ten position in prestigious global ranking


The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is one of the world’s top ten destinations to study the performing arts, according to prestigious global rankings published today (Wednesday 22 March 2023).

Scotland’s national conservatoire takes the number six spot in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023. It’s the seventh time the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland has been placed in the top ten since the ranking was established in 2016.

The rankings, by QS Quacquarelli Symonds – a leading provider of analytics and insight to the global higher education sector – measure academic and employer reputation and research.

Founded in 1847, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland offers specialist teaching across music, drama, dance, production, film and education. As Scotland’s only conservatoire, students work and learn alongside award-winning teaching staff and internationally acclaimed guest artists, where they develop their craft and collaborate across art forms in one of the finest multi-disciplinary education environments in the world.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “To be consistently ranked in the world’s top ten at a time of challenge for the arts in education and society is a tremendous tribute to our inspirational community of students, staff, alumni and partners, and we’re enormously proud of their creativity and contribution to the arts, across all its forms. We thank them for their passion, dedication and the important part they play in the ambitious evolution of this institution.

Professor Dorothy Miell OBE, Chair of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “Congratulations to Principal Jeffrey Sharkey and everyone at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland for this recognition of the high international standing RCS holds amongst the best performing arts educators across the globe.

“Retaining a top ten position is a reflection of the distinctive learning environment at RCS, which nurtures and supports inclusive art-making, at every level, to enrich and shape the future of society.”

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, which celebrated its 175th anniversary in 2022, partners with the country’s leading artistic companies to offer unique learning opportunities for students, which include everything from tours and professional placements to performing with world-renowned orchestras and theatre companies. Partners include the BBC, National Theatre of Scotland, Scottish Ballet, Scottish Opera and the Royal Scottish National Orchestra.

Performance is at the heart of life at RCS, with more than 500 live events each year, making the Glasgow city centre campus one of Scotland’s busiest arts venues.

Highlights from the last year include:

  • Violinist, educator and global champion of the arts Nicola Benedetti CBE appointed Honorary President.
  • In terms of overall assessment by the Research Excellence Framework 2021, announced last year, 63% of research at RCS was rated ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’.
  • Student and double bass player Ewan Hastie was named BBC Young Jazz Musician. Student and pianist Ethan Loch won the keyboard final of BBC Young Musician and made the grand final. Student and fiddle player Eryn Rae won BBC Radio Scotland Young Traditional Musician.
  • Film student John Black named the inaugural recipient of Write Start: the Sam Heughan Creative Commission, an annual award established by actor Sam Heughan to spark collaboration across art forms.
  • Four internationally acclaimed musicians joined RCS as Associate Artists to help nurture the next generation – percussionist Colin Currie, classical guitarist Sean Shibe, multi-instrumentalist Mike Vass and fiddle player Jennifer Wrigley.
  • Conductor Marin Alsop, actors and RCS graduates Ncuti Gatwa and Sam Heughan, and Errollyn Wallen CBE, composer and RCS Visiting Professor of Composition, received honorary doctorates for their contributions to arts and culture in the RCS summer graduation.

Alumni of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland make an impact across the world and can be found on cinema and TV screens, in concert halls and classrooms, on stage and behind the scenes, and everywhere in between.