QS Best Student Cities ranking: 23

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A fast-paced, high-rise economic hub, Chicago is also a city that famously knows how to let its hair down. Nicknamed 'The Windy City', Chicago saw an explosion of blues and jazz music during the 20th century which earned it a reputation as the northern US's answer to New Orleans.

Chicago is also home to two of the nation's – and the world’s – most prestigious universities, the University of Chicago (ranked 9th in the world), and Northwestern University (ranked 29th), plus two more universities within the global top 500.

In fact, Chicago ranks among the world’s top 10 for the international prestige of its universities, and also ranks pretty well for quality of living and employer activity. As for other US cities, affordability is its weakest point, driven primarily by high tuition fees charged by leading private institutions such as the University of Chicago.

But for many students the exceptional academic facilities on offer, alongside the myriad social and cultural opportunities offered by this bustling metropolis, will make studying in Chicago more than worth the investment.

Read a student's guide to Chicago >

QS ranked universities*:

University of Chicago; Northwestern University; University of Illinois, Chicago (UIC); Illinois Institute of Technology; Loyola University Chicago

More about Chicago

Number of universities ranked by QS*


Top ranked institution

University of Chicago (9th in the world)



Average university fees


Mercer Quality of Living rank


Mercer Cost of Living rank


Cost of a Big Mac**


Cost of an IPad***


*Universities assessed within the QS World University Rankings®.

**Based on the Big Mac Index, published by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

*** Based on the iPad Index, published by Commsec.

See the full methodology of the QS Best Student Cities here >