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QS Best Student Cities ranking: 2nd

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The 2016 edition of the QS Best Student Cities index sees Melbourne hold onto second place, thanks to its good selection of universities, and strong scores in the “student mix”, “employer activity” and “desirability” categories.

Seven universities in Melbourne are featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16, the highest-ranked of which is the University of Melbourne at 42nd in the world – second only to Australian National University on the Australian leaderboard.

Known as Australia’s cultural capital, Melbourne regularly tops lists of the world’s most liveable cities, and is full of all the attractions that make the Australian lifestyle so appealing – including beautiful beaches, nightlife and a fair proportion of sunny days.

If you’re a genuine culture sponge, you’ll be pleased to know that Melbourne’s range of museums is world class, and the city’s cultural calendar is full all year round. If you’re into comedy or live music, Melbourne also has much to offer, from world-famous annual comedy festivals to grungy gig venues packed with students looking for a good time. To wind down, the city offers cool rooftop bars, chic cafés and tasty restaurants serving world cuisine.

Within the QS Best Student Cities index, Melbourne boasts the highest score in the “student mix” category, which is calculated based on the relative size and diversity of each city’s student population, as well as levels of social inclusion and tolerance. Melbourne also scores very highly for “employer activity” and “desirability”, categories which respectively look at the city’s institutions from the point of view of employers and the overall quality of living to be had in the city.

The only factor Australian cities tend to stumble on is affordability, due to relatively high tuition fees and high living costs, and this applies to Melbourne alongside its country-mates. But for high standards of living and incredible natural surroundings, Melbourne is a tough city to beat.

Read a student's guide to Melbourne >


QS ranked universities


More about Melbourne

Number of universities ranked by QS


Top ranked institution

University of Melbourne (42nd in the world)



Students (% of total population)

5.0% (based on ranked institutions)

International students

30.0% (of students at ranked institutions)

Average tuition fees


Global Liveability Ranking

1st  (out of 140)

Mercer Cost of Living rank

47th (out of 214)

Cost of a Big Mac


Cost of an iPad


Numbeo safety rank

185th  (out of 446)

Numbeo pollution rank

263rd  (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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Written by QS Staff Writer

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