Universities in Almaty - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities


By Chloe Lane

Updated January 15, 2021 Updated January 15, 2021

Almaty for students

Formerly known as Alma-Ata, Almaty is the largest city in Kazakhstan. Founded in 1854, this stunning green city is new to the QS Best Student Cities ranking this year, entering the table in 118th place.

Almaty is home to five world leading universities, all featuring in the most recent QS World University Rankings®Al-Farabi Kazakh National University ranks the highest of all Kazakhstan’s universities in 165th place worldwide.

Have you studied in Almaty? Share your experience.

Best universities in Almaty - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 118th

World Ranking



Al-Farabi Kazakh National University


Abai Kazakh National Agrarian University


Kazakh National Pedagogical University


Kazakh-British Technical University


Kazakh Ablai khan University of International Relations and World Languages

More about Almaty          

This year, five of Kazakhstan’s top universities are located in Almaty. The city earns its best score in the employer activity rank this year, placing 74th – a reflection of the strong reputation of its graduates amongst graduate employers in the area.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Al-Farabi Kazakh National University (Ranked 165th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student View rank


To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Why study in Almaty?

Attractive surroundings

The city’s natural beauty alone is a good reason to study in Almaty. The city borders snowy mountains and is situated next to the picturesque Almaty lake.

Low cost of living

With low tuition fees and a relatively cheap cost of living, Almaty is very affordable for students, placing 101st in the affordability indicator this year.

Excellent cuisine

Take a visit to the Green Bazaar, the largest farmer’s market in the city, or try one of Almaty’s many restaurants and experience the delicious local cuisine. In the city you can find any type of food that you crave, from Indian to Russian.

Lots of top universities

Almaty is home to no fewer than five of Kazakhstan’s top universities, with the top ranking Al-Farabi Kazakh National University placing 165th worldwide.

Cost of studying in Almaty

Placing 101st worldwide for affordability this year, Almaty has relatively low tuition fees and an inexpensive cost of living.

This year’s Best Student Cities ranking sees Almaty average US$3,700 for tuition fees for international students – significantly lower than most other student cities.

Numbeo estimates that a single person living in the city will need around US$426 plus an additional US$336 for rent.

Life and culture in Almaty

Almaty is situated in the south-eastern part of Kazakhstan. With the backdrop of the gorgeous Zailiysky Alatau mountains, it’s the perfect place for students looking for a picturesque city to study in.

Almaty has a wide range of different culinary options available, and there are restaurants and cafes on every corner.

If you fancy a taste of the traditional Kazakh cuisine, head over to one of the local restaurants and try the popular dish, ‘beshbarmak’ (a mix of boiled meat, noodles and soup) Alternatively, pick up a tasty kebab on Kirov Street and soak in the culture of the city while you eat. Either way, if you’re a foodie, Almaty is the perfect place for you!

After lectures you can go for a hike in the gorgeous natural areas surrounding Almaty. With routes for beginners, as well as for more experienced hikers, all students can enjoy the stunning backdrop of the city.

In the winter the mountains convert to glorious ski slopes – a perfect opportunity to rent some ski equipment and whizz down those slopes, heading into the city for a bit of après ski in one of the many bars in the area.

If skiing isn’t for you, Almaty has many other attractions, including a zoo, several stadiums (which host a variety of concerts and sport games throughout the year) and botanical gardens, meaning you’ll always be able to find something exciting to do.

Careers in Almaty

With its name literally translating from Kazakh as “grown with apple trees”, Almaty was initially known for its apple trade, and even today Almaty is a major industrial center, with one third of its output still coming from the food industry.

Almaty generates 20 percent of Kazakhstan’s GDP, with the finance industry making up a large proportion of this. The media industry is also growing rapidly in Almaty, with major broadcasting channels and national newspapers based in the city. 

In the Best Student Cities ranking, Almaty scores highest for the ‘employer activity’ indicator, placing 74th worldwide, reflecting the excellent reputation of degrees obtained from Almaty’s universities.

This article was originally published in July 2019 . It was last updated in January 2021

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Written by

A Content Writer for TopUniversities.com, Chloe has a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of Reading and grew up in Leicestershire, UK. She enjoys writing articles about a wide range of topics for a student audience. 

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