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Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in world top ten for performing arts education in prestigious global rankings

The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is one of the world’s top ten performing arts schools according to prestigious global rankings published today (Wednesday 10 April 2024).

Scotland’s national conservatoire holds on to its number six spot in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2024. It’s the eighth time it has been placed in the top ten since the ranking was established in 2016.

Founded in 1847, the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is a dynamic international community of artists. With specialist teaching across music, drama, dance, production, film and education, students develop their craft, create new work and collaborate across art forms in one of the finest multi-disciplinary environments in the world.

Quacquarelli Symonds – a leading provider of analytics and insight to the global higher education sector – uses five key metrics to compile the subject rankings, including reputation and research impact and productivity. The United Kingdom has 1,569 programmes ranked across 103 institutions.

Professor Jeffrey Sharkey, Principal of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is recognised by professional peers and employers once again to be ranked in the world top ten for eight out of the past nine years.

“This is a wonderful tribute to our innovative approach to the arts and research as well as to the commitment and resilience of our staff and students and all who support this special artistic community.

“These are challenging times for the funding of higher education and for the arts. We advocate for the arts to be valued and recognised as fundamental to the human condition as well as vital to the creative economy and the wellbeing of individuals and communities.

“Against this backdrop, it is heartening and a cause for celebration to have Scotland’s national conservatoire and our performing arts education shine on the global stage.”

A ballerina in front of the Kelpies monument in Scotland in a grand pas de chat pose. Darkening clouds at sunset move from left to right in the background.

Professor Dorothy Miell OBE, Chair of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, said: “The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland is very much an ensemble institution, just like the art-forms and disciplines it teaches.

“It is of particular credit to all who contribute to RCS that the institution is again ranked among the finest globally and I’d like to pay tribute to Principal Jeffrey Sharkey, and all staff, students, alumni, governors, trustees, donors, partners and friends, for the essential parts they play in making this achievement possible.”

Highlights from the last year include:

  • Students and alumni, and members of the RCS community, including Honorary President Nicola Benedetti CBE and alumna and mezzo-soprano Karen Cargill, invited to perform and compose new work for the Honours of Scotland national service of thanksgiving and dedication to mark the Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.
  • Hollywood composer and RCS alumnus Patrick Doyle, one of the world’s most successful composers with a stellar 50-year career in film, television and theatre, was named a patron of the Junior Conservatoire of Music.
  • Acting alumnus Ncuti Gatwa lit up the big screen in box office smash Barbie and stepped into the iconic shoes of TV icon Doctor Who.
  • RCS and Scottish Opera announced a new partnership to nurture the next generation of international opera talent. RCS is introducing a new one-year Artist Diploma in Opera in September 2025 to offer a highly specialised combination of vocal, movement and acting training, with students performing with Scottish Opera in Glasgow and Edinburgh as a culmination of their studies.
  • The launch of an alumni Ambassadors programme, featuring leading lights in the performing and production arts, who will help amplify and enhance the work of RCS across the globe. Ambassadors include multi-instrumental musical duo The Ayoub Sisters; jazz saxophonist Matt Carmichael; actors Jeremy Crawford and Emma Mullen; ballet dancer Bethany Kingsley-Garner and jazz pianist Fergus McCreadie.
  • PhD composer and pianist Rakhat-Bi Tolegenuly Abdyssagin, from Kazakhstan, premiered a new opera written for the 750th anniversary of the birth of Robert the Bruce in four landmark Scottish churches – Glasgow Cathedral, St Giles’ Cathedral, Edinburgh, The University of St Andrews, St Salvator’s Chapel and Dunfermline Abbey.

Images © RCS/Alistair Devine