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Beijing for students

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 32nd

Home to two of the world’s top 25 universities, and several others in the top 500, Mainland China’s capital is a good showcase for the country’s growing higher education strengths.

In the QS World University Rankings® 2021, China’s two highest entries are Tsinghua University (15th) and Peking University (23rd) – both based in Beijing. Also within the world’s top 600 are the city's Beijing Normal UniversityUniversity of Science and Technology BeijingBeihang University,  and Renmin (People’s) University of China.

Beijing still has a little way to go before its universities catch up with Singapore’s NUS (ranked 11th in the world), but its leading institution does beat Hong Kong’s highest-ranked university, the University of Hong Kong (22nd), consolidating its place among Asia’s hottest study-abroad destinations.

Beijing also received praise in our student survey, with one respondent commenting: “This city is research-oriented and everywhere you will see science and ideas.” Another said, “I can meet different people coming near and afar. They have the best quality education faculty and facilities here.”

Would Beijing get your vote? Tell us why.

Best universities in Beijing - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 32nd

 More about Beijing

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution



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 Beijing? 

It’s affordable

Although Beijing ranks 80th for affordability this year, it is not as expensive as it might seem. Despite tuition fees seeming quite high, there are plenty of scholarships and grants available and the cost of living in the city is relatively low. 

The mouthwatering cuisine

Beijing combines traditional Chinese food with international influences. From noodles to Peking duck to dumplings, students living in Beijing will never be short on delicious new foods to try.

Plenty of places to explore

There’s plenty to do after lectures. Walk around the art district, take a boat out on the lake, visit one of the many tourist attractions or visit the Olympic park.

Excellent career prospects

The city receives its highest scores in the rankings and employer activity indicators of the QS Best Student Cities ranking, reflecting its strength as a recruitment ground for graduate employers.

International community

With 25,600 international students and a total population of over 24 million, Beijing has a strong international outlook.

Cost of studying in Beijing

Tuition fees for the universities in the city average around US$10,100 per year. This is slightly higher than the tuition fees for universities in other cities in China, such as Shanghai, where tuition fees cost around US$9,200 per year.

However, the general cost of living in Beijing is significantly cheaper than Shanghai, with a one-bedroom apartment in Beijing’s city costing around ¥7,500 (approximately US$1,080) according to Numbeo. This is around eight percent lower than rent in Shanghai.

If you need help with funding while studying in Beijing, take a look at these scholarships to study in China.

Life and culture in Beijing

Beijing is certainly not a destination for those looking for a ‘small-town’ feel. Full of history and culture, Beijing is one of the world’s largest metropolitan centers.

The city offers a vibrant nightlife, great shopping opportunities, lots of art galleries and delicious local dining.

For day trips, you can visit the Mutianyu Great Wall or take a trip to the Palace Museum in the Forbidden City. Beihai Park is also worth a visit, with its secret paths, traditional architecture and a large lake, the area is extremely tranquil and relaxing.

Careers in Beijing

With notably strong ratings from domestic and international employers, Beijing’s universities produce graduates who are highly valued in the workplace - proven by the city’s score of fourth worldwide in the employer activity indicator.

If you like the idea of studying in a city with strong international career opportunities, while living in of one of the world’s fastest-developing countries, then Beijing might be for you. 

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Silvina Y, Naralasetti S & 22 others saved this
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Written by QS Staff Writer

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