International scholarships for Performing Arts students to study in top 10 universities

International scholarships for Performing Arts students to study in top 10 universities

In this piece, we take a look at the many financial aid opportunities offered by the ten most prestigious institutions for performing arts. These opportunities may come from the schools themselves or from other organizations.

Please note that this page is updated yearly, and because the sponsors or institutions that open these scholarships may often change the period in which they accept applications, we may not keep up with these updates due to the volume of scholarships we publish here. Therefore, this page is basically intended to show you the endless opportunities you have to get a scholarship to study anywhere in the world. Simply click on the link to the scholarship you want to check the deadline for on the official website. Or click here to access our list of current scholarships. 

10. Harvard University

Performing arts students at Harvard benefit from the university’s excellent facilities, such as the Harvard Theatre Collection, one of the largest and oldest performing arts collections in the world.

Performing arts scholarships at Harvard include Artist Development Fellowships offered by its Office for the Arts (OFA), awarded to promising student artists and creators with an unusual opportunity for artistic growth and transformation.

Also, Harvard is one of the few US universities that are need-blind to all students, both domestic and international, meaning it won’t consider your ability to pay when deciding whether to admit you. It, therefore, awards scholarships based on financial need.

9. New York University (NYU)

NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts was established in 1965 and is known as a highly reputable training ground for artists, scholars of the arts, and filmmakers.

Tisch School of Arts offers need-based financial aid to undergraduate students – to apply, freshmen will need to file the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and the CSS Profile.

At the graduate level, financial aid is awarded by your academic department, and there are also scholarships available such as the Phyllis Lamhut Tisch Dance Scholarship Fund, which helps cover the cost of a Master of Fine Arts in Dance at Tisch.

8. Curtis Institute of Music

The Philadelphia-based Curtis Institute of Music continues to rank eighth among the world’s top-performing arts schools in 2018. Curtis is a specialized and highly competitive conservatory that offers admission to only around four percent of applicants each year. The total number of students at the institute is about 175.

In terms of financial assistance, Curtis maintains an all-scholarship policy, providing merit-based, full-tuition scholarships to all students, regardless of their financial situation. This means that talent and artistic promise are the only considerations for admission. However, before turning to Curtis for supplemental financial aid, students should seek funding from other sources – you can view a range of scholarships to study in the US here.

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

Based in France, the Conservatoire national supérieur de musique et de danse de Paris (CNSMDP), known as Conservatoire de Paris for short, is up two places to rank seventh in the world for performing arts this year. Conservatoire de Paris was established in 1795 and currently has around 1,300 students in nine departments, with courses organized around a main discipline enhanced with complimentary optional courses.

International students looking to study at Conservatoire de Paris could apply for scholarships from the French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs, which are mainly available for postgraduate students and awarded based on academic merit. The conservatoire also offers its own scholarships offered by individual departments.

6. Sibelius Academy

Finland’s Sibelius Academy is part of the University of the Arts Helsinki and is the only university-level music institution in the country. Established in 1882, it’s currently made up of a creative community of 1,500 students and 1,000 members of staff.

While EU/EEA students study for free, non-EU students at Sibelius pay tuition fees of €5,000 (~US$6,160) per year. The university offers tuition fee waiver scholarships covering 50 to 100 percent of the tuition fee amount, which students need to apply for during their main application. Scholarships are awarded based on the strength of your application and your financial need.

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

The first UK-based institution in our list of top performing arts schools is the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland (RCS), formerly known as the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama. Ranked fifth in the world for performing arts this year, RCS is located in Glasgow and offers a range of specialized and intensive education in dance, drama, music, production, and film. It’s also one of the busiest and most historic performing arts venues in Scotland.

RCS offers around £1.3 million in performing arts scholarships every year, with all accepted students automatically considered for a scholarship. One such option at RCS is the James McAvoy Drama Scholarship, offered by actor James McAvoy to Scottish students studying drama.

Only a very small number of full-tuition scholarships are available, so it’s important to find funding from other sources (you can view a range of scholarships to study in the UK here).

4. The University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna

Up one place in this year’s performing arts ranking, Austria’s University of Music and Performing Arts Vienna (MDW) was established in 1817 and is now one of the world’s largest and most prestigious performing arts schools, with around 3,000 students enrolled from over 70 countries. The university has an excellent student/faculty ratio of 4.7 students per instructor and is Austria’s largest cultural events organizer.

MDW offers a good selection of scholarships, including the Individual Scholarship which is aimed at non-EU students, as well as advancement scholarships, research grants, doctoral scholarships, and scholarships awarded based on academic excellence.

3. Royal Academy of Music

Ranked third for performing arts, the UK’s Royal Academy of Music is the oldest conservatoire in the UK, having been founded in 1822. It’s educated a large number of distinguished musicians in its history, such as Sir Elton John, Katherine Jenkins, Annie Lennox, and Sir Harrison Birtwistle, the latter of whom is now also a visiting professor.

Performing arts scholarships at the Royal Academy of Music include Entrance Scholarships, awarded based on merit following the academy’s advertised audition sessions. It also has a range of specific scholarships such as the Julian Bream Trust Scholarships, awarded to exceptional classical guitarists and lutenists, and bursaries awarded based on financial need.

2. Royal College of Music

Established by royal charter in 1882, RCM has established itself as one of the world’s strongest conservatoires, having been awarded Gold in the 2017 Teaching Excellence Framework.

All students applying for one of RCM’s performance or composition courses are automatically considered for merit-based scholarships, which are awarded based on the strength of students’ audition performance (or the strength of their portfolio/interview for composers).

1. Julliard School

In 2019, Julliard is set to expand by opening a branch campus in Tianjin, China, offering US-accredited Master of Music (MM) degrees.

Performing arts scholarships at Julliard are awarded based on decisions by the Juilliard Scholarship Committee upon admission, with consideration for students’ financial needs and artistic merit. It isn’t possible to estimate exactly how much you might receive, but you can estimate your potential need amount using the school’s Net Price Calculator.


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