the home of science, arts and inspiration

South Ken's World Leading Universities

South Kensington is widely recognized as a global center of academic and research excellence, due to the presence of world-renowned educational institutions. In 2023, the area's universities have received top rankings for their exceptional programs in science, engineering, medicine, and business, as well as for being a vibrant hub of artistic exploration and collaboration.

The Royal College of Art (RCA) has been ranked the number 1 university for art & design internationally for the 9th consecutive year, according to the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2023 – the largest world-wide survey of academic and industry opinion. The latest results demonstrate the College’s reputation by scoring 100% for academic reputation, and 93.5% for employer reputation. 

“Dr Paul Thompson, Vice-Chancellor of the Royal College of Art, said: The fact that the RCA has been ranked as the top art and design university in the world for the past nine consecutive years is testament to the talent, flair and skill of our staff and students. In the coming year, we’re more focused than ever before on championing the interdisciplinarity and impact of our research, knowledge exchange, innovation and world-leading teaching in addressing global challenges.”

The RCA started life in 1837 as the Government School of Design. Granted a Royal Charter and university status in 1967, today the RCA remains the most influential postgraduate institution of art and design. It has also invested in research and knowledge exchange that informs and inspires a new generation of visionary practice in the creative industries.

The Royal College of Music has also been ranked as the global No. 1 institution for performing arts in the 2023 QS World University Rankings by Subject, holding this position for the second consecutive year. This follows the RCM’s previous success in these rankings, having been ranked first in the UK consistently since 2016, and first in Europe in five of these years.

Kevin Porter, Acting Director of the Royal College of Music, comments: “Ranked as the global No. 1 institution for performing arts for the second year is testament to our ongoing commitment to music education of the highest quality. We have created an exceptional learning environment for students and I'm enormously proud and thankful to our teaching staff, professors and professional services staff who work with such dedication on behalf of our world-leading institution.” 

The Royal College of Music is a vibrant and inspiring community and has one of the richest artistic programmes of any conservatoire, with over 500 events each year giving students unparalleled performance experience in front of a live audience and enabling them to work with some of today’s finest professional musicians.

In recent years the RCM has transformed its campus, almost doubling the estate’s footprint, adding a new performance hall, a new performance studio, a large café and courtyard area and a new interactive Museum, all of which contribute to an inspirational environment in which students can create, research and perform.  

The Royal College of Music nurtures gifted musicians from all over the world, many of whom are at the forefront of musical life in the UK and across the world as soloists, composers, orchestral performers, musical directors, arrangers, teachers, and artistic leaders.

Imperial College London has risen one place to sixth in the QS World University Rankings for 2023, with an additional certificate of recognition for “internationalisation”, acknowledging the College’s global community and collaborations across the world. 

This follows a series of achievements for the College over the past year, including its best-ever results in the UK’s Research Excellence Framework (REF) and a Queen’s Anniversary Prize in recognition of pioneering work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Imperial was named University of the Year 2022 by the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide and University of the Year for Student Experience 2022 by the Good University Guide, following last year’s highest ever student satisfaction scores in the National Student Survey

Imperial is focused on offering the best possible education, conducting high-quality research and innovating to make the world a better place. Their placing in the rankings is a by-product of their work to nurture an environment where our staff and students are valued and can thrive. 

Professor Alice Gast, former President of Imperial College London, said: "The impact we have on society will always be more important than where we fall on a league table. We excel at teaching and research essential to addressing the global challenges of today and tomorrow. Our successes over the past year - including our outstanding REF results, our University of the Year Award and our Queen’s Anniversary Prize - are a testament to our commitment to excellence."  

The College was also named as University of the Year and University of the Year for Student Experience for 2022 by The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide, after recording an all-time high in student satisfaction following increased investment in learning and teaching, with the development of a world-class hybrid education experience. 

The College’s leading role in the global pandemic response was underlined by a Queen’s Anniversary Prize - the highest national honour awarded in UK further and higher education – in recognition of the rapid and collaborative early response from staff across different disciplines, including crucial modelling, developing treatments, vaccines and tests, and their efforts supporting the international response to COVID-19. 

South Kensington is London's home of arts and science - where world-leading organisations pioneer innovation and learning using their expertise to inspire, innovate and create change. Here we generate and share knowledge and inspire the engineers, designers, scientists, musicians and artists of the future and together we welcome over 20 million visitors each year. This makes it an extraordinary place to visit, live, study and work.

Royal College of Art

Royal College of Music, Credit Chris Christodoulou

Imperial College London Campus, Credit Imperial College London