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

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Study in Birmingham

By Staff Writer

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Birmingham for students

Birmingham continues to climb up the QS Best Student Cities ranking this year, moving up three places to rank joint 46th.

Birmingham is the UK’s second-largest city, located in the heart of the country. It’s also the UK’s largest centre of higher education outside London, home to five universities, two of which rank among the top 500 in the QS World University Rankings®.

Are you studying in Birmingham? Share your experience.

Best universities in Birmingham - QS Best Student Cities ranking: Joint 46th

World ranking Institution
90th University of Birmingham
=485th Aston University

More about Birmingham

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Birmingham (90th)



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 Birmingham?

Excellent education institutions

Birmingham is home to two globally renowned universities: the University of Birmingham and Aston University. 

Low cost of living 

Despite having high international tuition fees, Birmingham on of the more affordable English universities; with monthly costs of around £640, compared to £850 in London

Cultural hotspot

With art galleries, museums, nightclubs, bars, restaurants and theatres; there's plenty of culture to soak up and enjoy in Birmingham. 

Cost of studying in Birmingham

Birmingham ranks 72nd in the world for affordability this year. This low score is due to its high tuition fees and relatively expensive cost of living (although this is lower than other UK cities). On average, tuition fees for universities in Birmingham will set international students back around US$22,700. 

According to Numbeo, a single person living in Birmingham will need around £640 for monthly costs, plus an additional £757 for a one bedroom apartment in the city centre.

Life and culture in Birmingham

Birmingham’s ongoing ‘Big City Plan’ has seen the development of a new state-of-the-art £189 million library, revitalised public transport, beautifully restored Victorian buildings and more.

Away from these developments, the city also boasts internationally renowned arts institutions such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Also well worth visiting is the up-and-coming Jewellery Quarter, one of the oldest areas of the city, which has been described by English Heritage as ‘a national treasure’ and produces 40 percent of the jewellery made in the UK.

Another area popular with students is Digbeth. Widely considered ‘Birmingham’s Shoreditch’, it’s fast becoming known as one of the city’s main creative centres and is home to the Custard Factory, an excellent independent shopping spot.

As you’d expect from a city of Birmingham’s size, there is plenty of culture and nightlife to be enjoyed, and its status as one of the UK’s most multicultural cities adds to its diversity and the range of experiences on offer. Birmingham also has the youngest population of any major city in Europe (nearly 40 percent of the population are under 25), which adds to its energy.

Careers in Birmingham

Nicknamed the ‘City of a Thousand Trades’ for its proud and varied industrial heritage (and colloquially known as ‘Brum’), Birmingham has become a thriving commercial and financial centre. It earns an impressive score of 69th in the employer activity indicator this year. 

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

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