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New Ranking of the World’s Top Performing Arts Schools

By Laura Bridgestock

Updated June 9, 2021 Updated June 9, 2021

Discover the top performing arts schools based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2020.

As part of the continued expansion of the QS World University Rankings by Subject, this year sees the addition of a new ranking dedicated to the world’s top 100 performing arts schools. The ranking features a mixture of dedicated performing arts institutions and comprehensive universities with a strong offering in this field.

The ranking is topped by the US’s Juilliard School, followed by Austria’s University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna and the UK’s Royal College of Music. Also featured in the top 10 is Finland’s Sibelius Academy (7th).

Half of the ranked institutions are based in either the US or UK, which claim 26 and 24 representatives respectively. There are also five representatives apiece from Australia, Brazil and Germany, and four each from Canada and France. A total of 27 countries have at least one leading performing arts school in the list.

Top 10 Performing Arts Schools in 2016

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016


Juilliard School

United States


University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna 



Royal College of Music

United Kingdom


University of Oxford

United Kingdom


Royal Academy of Music

United Kingdom


Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (Formerly Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama)

United Kingdom


Sibelius Academy



University of California, Berkeley

United States


Guildhall School of Music and Drama

United Kingdom


Indiana University Bloomington

United States

See the full ranking of the world’s top performing arts schools >


Narrowly missing out on a spot in the top 10 are the Swedish Royal College of Music in Stockholm (11th), and the French Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (12th). Germany’s Hochschule für Musik und Theater München and Hochschule für Musik Hanns Eisler Berlin place 16th and 20th respectively, while Switzerland’s Conservatoire de musique de Genève is 19th.

Russia makes an appearance in 27th place with Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory, while Hungary’s Liszt Academy of Music is in 30th position, and Belgium’s Conservatoire royal de Bruxelles is 41st. Other European countries with at least one representative in the ranking include the Czech Republic, Italy, Spain, Denmark, Ukraine, Poland, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Though there are no Asian representatives at the very top of the ranking, the region does have five representatives in the list. Three of these are in Indonesia, with one entry each for South Korea and Hong Kong. The leading Asian performing arts schools are the Indonesia Institute of the Arts Surakarta (joint 43rd) and Korea National University of Arts (46th).

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This article was originally published in March 2016 . It was last updated in June 2021

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Written by

The former editor of, Laura oversaw the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edited the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributed to market research reports, including 'How Do Students Use Rankings?'

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