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

Study in Barcelona

By Staff Writer

Updated June 30, 2022 Updated June 30, 2022

Barcelona for students 

Gaining 3 places from last year's ranking, Barcelona comes in at joint 31st in the QS Best Student Cities 2023.

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® 2023, 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: =31st

World ranking University
184th University of Barcelona (UB)
178th Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona
=233rd Universitat Pompeu Fabra
=343rd Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya
651-700 Universitat Ramon Llull

More about Barcelona

Barcelona is home to five top universities. This year, the top university is the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, in 178th. The city's best score this year is for the desirability indicator, for which it ranks 17th.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (178th)



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 184th globally.

Good employment prospects

Barcelona enjoys a great reputation amongst employers and ranks 39th 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 87th 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 39th 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 June 2022

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