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QS Best Student Cities ranking: 16th

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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)

International students

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 RankingsGlobal 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).

Laura Bridgestock's profile image
Written by Laura Bridgestock

The lead writer for, Laura oversees the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edits the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributes to market research reports including Students Online: Global Trends.

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how do i get a scholarship to do my master in Germany? Double master program a scholarship covering all my expenses.

Hi Martin, you can look here for a range of German scholarships (for all degree levels) - - or, alternatively, you could find a German university you'd like to study at first - - and then visit their own website to see if they offer any funding to students. If you have any queries about programs, contact the university directly. Good luck! Laura


Hi Adewumi, the answer hopefully is 'easily!' To get started, take a look at our Study in Germany FAQ and if there's anything we haven't answered, please let us know in the comments. As for finding universities in Berlin, I'd advise looking at this article. Thanks, Laura


I am doing the British curriculum the A levels and I am currently in year 12 doing the AS level. My subjects are Biology, Chemistry, Maths and Arabic. I want to study medicine in Germany. Can I apply now or do I have to do year 13 to achieve the full A levels? What are the entry requirements?

Hi Saleh, in most cases universities in Germany require applicants to have completed their A levels before undertaking a degree. If you are interested in a particular university, you can contact them directly for exact information on entry requirements. To find the top universities in Germany for medicine, visit our latest subject rankings. Thanks! Laura

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