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Small but densely populated, Singapore's reputation as a center of educational excellence has flourished in recent years. The National University of Singapore (NUS)  now ranks 22nd in the world, according to the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15, and the young but upwardly mobile Nanyang Technological University (NTU) currently stands at 39th, thanks in part to its success in attracting top international academics and students.

Alongside increasing prominence in the global higher education sector, Singapore remains renowned for its prosperity and low levels of crime and unemployment. In keeping with the city’s clean-cut, corporate reputation, Singaporean graduates are much sought-after by international employers, especially throughout Asia.

The downside to Singapore's high standard of living? Correspondingly high prices. Singapore is ranked the 4th most expensive out of 214 cities in Mercer’s 2014 Cost of Living Survey, and tuition fees have also increased over the past year, particularly for international students.

On the plus side, one thing you certainly won't need to shell out for in Singapore is central heating; its position next to the equator means it is equally scorching all year round. And if you fancy exchanging the concrete jungle for the real thing, Singapore is surrounded by tropical scenery, both throughout adjacent Malaysia, and in nearby exotic destinations such as Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Philippines.

QS ranked universities

More about Singapore

Number of universities ranked by QS


Top ranked institution



Students (% of total population)

1.2% (based on ranked institutions)

International students

31.0% (of students at ranked institutions)

Average tuition fees


Global Liveability Ranking

52nd  (out of 140)

Mercer Cost of Living rank

4th  (out of 214)

Cost of a Big Mac


Cost of an iPad


Numbeo safety rank

7th  (out of 372)

Numbeo pollution rank

187th  (out of 299)

Transparency International score

5th  (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.

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