QS Best Student Cities ranking: joint 30th with Chicago
Barcelona offers one of Europe’s most appealing environments in which to live and study – sunny climate, beaches, renowned cuisine, a rich artistic and cultural legacy, cosmopolitan city center and of course, a legendary party scene.
It is also home to two of Spain’s most prestigious universities, the University of Barcelona (UB) and Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, both of which rank in the global top 200 of the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16, as well as several other internationally esteemed institutions.
The city’s highest score in the QS Best Student Cities index is in the “affordability” category –while Barcelona is one of the most popular and visited cities in Europe, living costs remain reasonable compared to cities such as London and Paris. Tuition fees are a little higher than those in fellow Western European countries such as France or Germany, but still relatively low, giving Barcelona an overall affordability rating somewhere in the mid-range.
Barcelona also scores well in the ‘desirability’ and ‘student mix’ categories of the index, reflecting its reputation as one of Europe’s most happening cities, and most appealing destinations for international students.
QS ranked universities
More about Barcelona
Number of universities ranked by QS
Top ranked institution
University of Barcelona (joint 166th in the world)
Students (% of total population)
2.1% (based on ranked institutions)
11.0% (of students at ranked institutions)
Average tuition fees
Global Liveability Ranking
31st (out of 140)
Mercer Cost of Living rank
124th (out of 214)
Cost of a Big Mac
Cost of an iPad
Numbeo safety rank
205th (out of 446)
Numbeo pollution rank
90th (out of 300)
Transparency International score
40th (out of 177)
Sources: QS World University Rankings; Global Liveability Ranking (The Economist’s Intelligence Unit); Big Mac Index (The Economist’s Intelligence Unit); iPad Index (Commsec); Cost of Living Survey (Mercer); Corruption Perceptions Index (Transparency International).