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

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Study in Barcelona

By Staff Writer

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Barcelona for students 

Down 14 places from the latest ranking, Barcelona comes in at 34th in the QS Best Student Cities 2022.

The city is home to two of Spain’s most prestigious universities: the University of Barcelona (UB) and Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona, both of which rank in the global top 200 of the QS World University Rankings® 2022, as well as several other internationally esteemed institutions, giving it Spain’s best score for the rankings indicator in the Best Student Cities ranking.

Barcelona scores well for desirability and student mix, reflecting its reputation as one of Europe’s most happening cities, and most appealing destinations for international students and graduates alike.

In our student survey, one respondent summed up the city’s appeal: The weather, the food, there's always something to do”.

Are you studying in Barcelona? Rate your experience.

Best universities in Barcelona - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 34th

World ranking University
=168th University of Barcelona (UB)
=209th Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona
=248th Universitat Pompeu Fabra
=319th Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
601-650 Universitat Ramon Llull

More about Barcelona

Barcelona is home to five top universities. This year, the top university once again is the University of Barcelona, in joint 168th. The city's best score this year is for the employer activity indicator, for which it ranks joint 29th.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Barcelona (joint 168th)



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 Barcelona? 

Top universities

Barcelona is home to five universities ranked in the QS World University Rankings, including University of Barcelona, which places in joint 168th globally.

Good employment prospects

Barcelona enjoys a great reputation amongst employers and ranks 29th in the employer activity indicator. 

Delicious food 

In Barcelona you'll find restaurants with typical Spanish and Catalan dishes, such as tapas, croquetas and anchoas. 

Beautiful beaches

Studying in Barcelona you'll get the best of both worlds: bustling city life and a peaceful, golden beaches.

Cost of studying in Barcelona

This year, Barcelona ranks 59th in the world for affordability. Expatistan estimates that a single person living in Barcelona will need around $1,806 (~£1,550) per month for general expenses. Tuition fees in Barcelona cost around US$7,200 on average. 

Life & culture in Barcelona 

Barcelona offers one of Europe’s most appealing environments in which to live and study – sunny climate, beaches, renowned cuisine, a rich artistic and cultural legacy, cosmopolitan city centre and of course, a legendary party scene.

Barcelona is a great place to live, with two golden beaches located right in the heart of the city.  In the winter, ski resorts in the Pyrenees are only two hours away. 

The city also has its fair share of tourist attractions, such as the Gaudi designed Sagrada Familia, Saint Eulalia Cathedral and the Castell dels Tres Dragons.

Career in Barcelona

The city’s second-highest score is for employer activity where it comes joint 29th worldwide. If you're from the EU or the EEA (European Economic Area) or Switzerland, you can work in Barcelona without requiring a work permit. However, if you're from outside these countries, you'll need a Spanish Visa.

Popular sectors for graduates working in Barcelona include tourism, trade, logistics, transport and pharmaceuticals.

This article was originally published in November 2015 . It was last updated in July 2021

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