You are here


Seoul main image

Back to the full ranking >

Long since labelled as an up-and-coming Asian city, Seoul is South Korea’s capital and one of its most exciting study destinations. In the QS Best Student Cities 2015, Seoul has climbed a total of four places, nudging into the world’s top 10 cities for students.

The city’s continual improvement comes from its high scores in a number of indicators, most notably in the “employer activity” category, which reflects the reputation of universities in Seoul amongst domestic and international employers. The city also scores brilliantly within the “university rankings” category, gaining the highest score in the top 10 outside of Paris and London. This score is explained by the impressive fact that there are 14 universities in Seoul that feature within the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15, the highest ranked of which is Seoul National University, at 31st in the world.

But it’s not all about superb rankings and reputation. Seoul is a 24/7 city in which things are never dull. Whether it’s the sounds of night-market sellers, the atmosphere of the all-night tea houses or the cries of gamers at a ‘PC bang’ (gaming center), Seoul is as alive at 3am as it is at 5pm. The magic of this city is that boredom is an impossibility, with culture, history and creativity anywhere you turn.

For some down-time from your studies, Seoul offers many opportunities to find your inner Zen, whether at one of many Buddhist temples or in a traditional sauna or spa. Further tranquility can be found less than one hour outside of the city walls, where you can explore South Korea’s mountainous landscape and charming, historic villages.

QS ranked universities

More about Seoul

Number of universities ranked by QS


Top ranked institution

Seoul National University (31st in the world)



Students (% of total population)

1.1% (based on ranked institutions)

International students

12.0% (of students at ranked institutions)

Average tuition fees


Global Liveability Ranking

58th  (out of 140)

Mercer Cost of Living rank

14th  (out of 214)

Cost of a Big Mac


Cost of an iPad


Numbeo safety rank

30th  (out of 372)

Numbeo pollution rank

87th  (out of 299)

Transparency International score

46th  (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).

Written by Laura Bridgestock

The editor of, Laura oversees the site's editorial content and student forums. She also edits the QS Top Grad School Guide and contributes to market research reports including Students Online: Global Trends.

See related categories:

Login from the top right-hand corner or click here to register to post comments
How are you today?
If you are not registered yet, click here to join.