Germany’s capital city can stake a credible claim to being one of the coolest cities in the world. During the past decade its cultural scene has flourished, turning it into a major center of design, fashion, music and art to rival even New York or London.
Ranked 16th in the world and 2nd in Germany (after Munich) within the QS Best Student Cities 2015, Berlin offers both unbeatable culture and a hot financial market, making the place as perfect for history buffs and art aficionados as it is for budding financiers. But big money is not the case when it comes to tuition fees, thanks to recent legislation making all undergraduate higher education (and some postgraduate programs) free across the nation, even for international students.
Although just slipping out of the overall top 15 in the latest edition of the QS Best Student Cities, Berlin remains the most affordable student city in the world’s top 20 alongside Vienna, thanks to the combination of low living costs and zero tuition fees.
Though the German capital is not an academic hub on the scale of cities like London, Paris or Boston, there are three universities in Berlin featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15. The highest ranked of these is Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin at 134th in the world, followed by Technische Universität Berlin at 192nd.
Berlin is also gaining a growing reputation as a destination for international students due in part to greater provision of courses in English, particularly at graduate level. With a high quality of living, affordability, a liberal atmosphere and a happening party and music scene, the German capital has a huge amount to offer international students of all backgrounds and interests.
Discover the top universities in Germany throughout all regions with this article.
QS ranked universities
More about Berlin
Number of universities ranked by QS
Top ranked institution
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (134th in the world)
Students (% of total population)
2.7% (based on ranked institutions)
14.0% (of students at ranked institutions)
Average tuition fees
Global Liveability Ranking
21st (out of 140)
Mercer Cost of Living rank
68th (out of 214)
Cost of a Big Mac
Cost of an iPad
Numbeo safety rank
73rd (out of 372)
Numbeo pollution rank
254th (out of 299)
Transparency International score
12th (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).