Top Performing Arts Schools in 2017 | Top Universities

Top Performing Arts Schools in 2017

By Sabrina Collier

Updated March 26, 2020 Updated March 26, 2020

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

Since last year, the QS World University Rankings by Subject has included a ranking of the world’s 100 top performing arts schools, a combination of comprehensive universities and dedicated institutions which specialize in this field.

Read on for an overview of the most prestigious institutions for performing arts in different world regions, or click here to view the full interactive table.

Top 10 Performing Arts Schools in 2017

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2017


Juilliard School

United States


Royal College of Music

United Kingdom


Royal Academy of Music



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



University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna 



Royal College of Music in Stockholm



Indiana University Bloomington



Curtis Institute of Music



Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP)



Sibelius Academy


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


Top performing arts schools in the US and Canada

The US is home to an impressive 28 representatives in this ranking, with Juilliard School retaining its position as the best in the world for performing arts. Two other US institutions join it in the top 10, listed above. Just missing out on a spot in the top 10 is Harvard University (11th), while other high-placing US institutions for this subject include New York University (NYU) (=14th), as well as University of California, Berkeley (UCB) and Yale University, which share 16th place for performing arts.

Neighboring Canada is home to four top performing arts schools, with McGill University its highest ranked at joint 48th.

Top performing arts schools in Europe

Europe is home to 43 of the world’s top universities for performing arts, 21 of which are in the UK. As well as three institutions in the top 10, high-ranking UK universities for performing arts include the University of Cambridge (12th), the University of Oxford (13th) and Royal Holloway University of London (=14th).

A further seven top performing arts schools are found within Germany, with Hochschule für Musik und Theater München the highest-ranked at joint 44th.

France also performs well with three entrants, with Conservatoire de Paris (CNSMDP) climbing three places to rank in the top 10, and Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Lyon ranked 34th, up from 51-100.

Heading to the Nordic countries, Sweden and Finland’s sole entrants are in the top 10, while Denmark has two representatives, including The Royal Danish Academy of Music at 29th, and Norway enters the ranking this year with one institution: the Norwegian Academy of Music (ranked 51-100).

Switzerland and the Netherlands have two top performing arts schools each, with the Dutch University of Amsterdam the highest ranked at 49th.

Lastly, Austria, Italy and Russia have one representative in the performing arts ranking each – of these, Austria’s University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna is in the top 10, while Italy’s Conservatorio Santa Cecilia and Russia’s Moscow P. I. Tchaikovsky Conservatory are both featured in the top 50 for performing arts.

Top performing arts schools in Asia

In Asia, Indonesia performs well, with four institutions ranked among the world’s best for performing arts, including the highest ranked in the region, Indonesia Institute of the Arts Yogyakarta, which climbed from 51-100 to 24th this year.

Also with four representatives is South Korea, three of which are making their first ever appearance in this ranking. Elsewhere, Hong Kong’s two featured institutions are both in the top 50: Hong Kong Academy of Performing Arts and the University of Hong Kong.

Japan enters the performing arts ranking with two representatives, including the University of Tokyo at joint 38th.  Also in the top 50 is Singapore’s sole entrant, National University of Singapore (NUS) (43rd).

Top performing arts schools in Australia & New Zealand

Australia claims eight top universities for performing arts this year, including three in the top 50 which all improve their positions from last year: the University of Melbourne (26th),  the University of Western Australia (33rd) and Griffith University (46th).

Two more top universities for performing arts can be found in New Zealand, both ranked 51-100: the University of Otago and Victoria University of Wellington.

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This article was originally published in March 2017 . It was last updated in March 2020

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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