UK music colleges – Surrey University beats all conservatoires

UK music colleges – Surrey University beats all conservatoires


norman lebrecht

May 16, 2017

The Guardian newspaper has published its annual list of best places to study music.

Oxford comes top.

Then, unexpectedly, the University of Surrey – perhaps because it offers seven different music courses, including one paired with mathematics and another with acting.

The national conservatoires then follow, but not all of them.

Scotland is shockingly ranked 50th.

Read here.


  • Steven Holloway says:

    I’m not inclined to put much stock in university listings of any kind. I’m retired from a highly-ranked History department and have no personal beef with such rankings. It is simply that the methodology is always disputable and always is disputed for good reason. Anyway, I’m surprised that the RCS ranks 50th. although it is 6th. re ‘career after six months’ — I do, of course, assume that is a career in music.

  • Will Duffay says:

    Surrey has the Tonmeister course, the Music and Sound Recording degree. Hard to get on to, and highly regarded.

  • Thomas Tompkins says:

    Surrey is for academics, not musicians. There is a difference. Those who talk, as opposed to those who perform! And believe me, we hear a lot of talkers in the concert halls, but strangely silent when they have to actually perform….

    • Una says:

      Academics? You want to see the course Manchester’s RNCM offers! Surrey has turned out some very fine and good musicians who have actually got well paid jobs at the end of their course, not join the unemployment queue. It’s not all about being more Lang Langs in life! There are always the snobs who will poo-poo Surrey – or Sah-ree as they call it!

    • Halldor says:

      As if performance is the be-all and end-all, and as if record producers, sound technicians, teachers, composers, arrangers and editors are not themselves highly-skilled musicians.

      The architectural profession wouldn’t get very far if it only trained bricklayers.

  • chris says:

    These reports are always a massive con! What is it based on? If it is student satisfaction, as they so often are, it really means very little. Simply if they are enjoying the course, like the professors, and the environment they work and live in.
    If it is employability, its even more of a con. Unis and Conservatoires both claim anybody in ANY employment count, so if you have a job in a coffee shop, they will claim you are employed and add you to their stats. Also if you go on to study further academically, they can again claim you into these stats.
    The only true result of employability is the question ‘What percentage of students who left last year (or the last 5 years) are in employment that links directly to their degree course?’
    Very few are willing to give you an answer! That is the table that we all would want to see when choosing a University of Conservatoire.