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QS Best Student Cities ranking: joint 18th with Auckland

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Brisbane has climbed five places in this year’s QS Best Student Cities ranking. With three major universities in a city of just over two million, this Australian metropolis has one of the highest student ratios of any city in the index – but this doesn’t mean it is just a student bubble.

An up-and-coming city that has seen rapid growth in recent years following the Australian ‘resources boom’, Brisbane is the third-largest city in Australia and the largest economy between Sydney and Singapore. It is also a popular tourist destination, due in part to its location next to the Gold Coast, which includes some of the world’s most famous beaches.

Like many Australian cities, Brisbane offers an ideal mix for students seeking a balance between urban and outdoor lifestyles. Stunning beaches, a sunny climate and a sporting culture coexist with a cosmopolitan down-town area offering a trendy nightlife and arts scene.

This appealing environment is reflected in very high scores in the “student mix” and “desirability” categories of the QS Best Student Cities index. On the other hand, as is the case for the nation’s other cities, high international tuition fees mean Brisbane has a relatively low score for affordability.

With the University of Queensland ranking among the top 50 universities in the world, and two more universities in Brisbane ranked within the top 330, the city offers top-notch education in a wide range of disciplines. 

Find out more about studying in Australia >

QS ranked universities


More about Brisbane

Number of universities ranked by QS


Top ranked institution

University of Queensland (joint 46th in the world)



Students (% of total population)

3.9% (based on ranked institutions)

International students

21.0% (of students at ranked institutions)

Average tuition fees


Global Liveability Ranking

18th (out of 140)

Mercer Cost of Living rank

66th (out of 214)

Cost of a Big Mac


Cost of an iPad


Numbeo safety rank

173rd (out of 446)

Numbeo pollution rank

266th  (out of 300)

Transparency International score

9th  (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).

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