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It should hardly be a surprise to find Washington DC, the federal capital of the world’s most popular study destination, on a list of the globe’s best student cities. This year Washington DC is ranked as the 42nd best student city in the world and 7th in the US.

The city’s position as a leading student city is helped by the five universities based in and close to Washington DC that feature within the QS World University Rankings® 2014/15. These are the University of Maryland, College Park at 122nd in the world, followed by Georgetown University, George Washington University, American University and Howard University.

And of course, studying in Washington DC means being right at the heart of US history and politics – the White House, Supreme Court and national monuments and memorials are all located here. When not seeking study advice from statues of presidents past, you may enjoy spending time in the pretty and vibrant old port area of Georgetown, seeing an exhibition at one of the 19 museums in the Smithsonian group, or engaging in the traditional local pastime of debating politics over a good meal.

Read more about studying in the US >

QS ranked universities

More about Washington

Number of universities ranked by QS


Top ranked institution



Students (% of total population)

1.5% (based on ranked institutions)

International students

13.0% (of students at ranked institutions)

Average tuition fees


Global Liveability Ranking

34th  (out of 140)

Mercer Cost of Living rank

92nd  (out of 214)

Cost of a Big Mac


Cost of an iPad


Numbeo safety rank

316th  (out of 372)

Numbeo pollution rank

242nd  (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).

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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