QS Best Student Cities Ranking: 2

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Perhaps only Boston can rival London's credentials as a nerve-center of global academia, with the city's UCL and Imperial College London both ranked among the world's top five universities, and LSE second in the world for social sciences. 

World-class facilities such as The British Library, which constitutes one of the most extensive and significant collections of books and manuscripts in the world, make London a magnet for students and researchers from all over the planet.

Yet the UK's capital also offers far more to students as a city. As well as being a hub of academia, it’s also one of the world's great centers of culture and creativity, famed for its nightlife and diversity; there aren't many things you could hanker for as a student that aren't on offer in abundance in London.

London is also one of the world's most important financial centers, making it particularly attractive for corporate-minded graduates, as well as being among the world’s leading places to find work in media and the arts, as well as a host of other industries.

When it comes to affordability, the picture is not quite so bright. For international students, tuition fees at London's top universities approach those charged in the US, while home and EU undergraduate students are now feeling the impact of major fee increases implemented in 2012. And that's before you even start thinking about rent and living costs, which are significantly higher in London compared to the rest of the UK.

Yet for many, the concentration of world-class universities and facilities, the professional and social opportunities, and a mind-boggling cultural confluence that mixes the corporate and the alternative, the historical and the cutting-edge, still makes studying in London worth every penny.

Discover London’s top 10 universities >

QS ranked universities*:

UCL (University College London) ; Imperial College London ; King's College London (KCL) ; London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ; Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) ; Royal Holloway University of London ; SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London ; City University London ;  ; Brunel University ;  Birkbeck College, University of London ; Goldsmiths, University of London ; Kingston University, London ; Middlesex University ; London Metropolitan University ; University of Greenwich ; University of East London ; London Business School ; London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

More about London

Number of universities ranked by QS*


Top ranked institution

UCL (4th 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 >