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Home of Ivy League member the University of Pennsylvania, 13th in the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15, as well as the esteemed Drexel University and Temple University, Philadelphia certainly holds its own as an international study destination.

The city has played a key role throughout US history and politics. It was here that the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776, and here that the Liberty Bell – a symbol of US independence – is housed. This rich history, combined with a good selection of museums, galleries and thriving arts, theater and music scenes, makes Philadelphia a popular tourist destination, as well as a pleasant and interesting place to live.

Beyond the tourist trail, the ‘city of brotherly love’ (a nickname based on the Greek meaning of Philadelphia), is a multifaceted modern metropolis. The city’s residents are known for being passionate about sport at both professional and university level. In recent years Philadelphia has also become something of a foodie’s favorite,  though the city’s cuisine will always be associated primarily with the simple pleasures of the steak and cheese submarine sandwich (the ‘Philly cheesesteak’).

QS ranked universities

More about Philadelphia

Number of universities ranked by QS


Top ranked institution

University of Pennsylvania (13th in the world)



Students (% of total population)

1.2% (based on ranked institutions)

International students

12.0% (of students at ranked institutions)

Average tuition fees


Global Liveability Ranking


Mercer Cost of Living rank


Cost of a Big Mac


Cost of an iPad


Numbeo safety rank

323rd  (out of 372)

Numbeo pollution rank

172nd  (out of 299)

Transparency International score

19th  (out of 177)

Sources: QS World University Rankings; Global 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 Tucker's profile image
Written by Laura Tucker

Laura is a staff writer for, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life. View her past articles and blog posts here.

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