Universities in Cape Town - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in Cape Town

By Sabrina Collier

Updated July 1, 2022 Updated July 1, 2022

If you've got a taste for adventure, love sport, or may want to enjoy beautiful beaches in between classes - perhaps it's time to consider Cape Town for your studies.

Cape Town is one of Africa’s most beautiful, historical and multicultural cities. Studying there will allow you to enjoy a unique and dynamic study abroad experience.

The legislative capital and second-largest city in South Africa, Cape Town has ranked joint 78th this year, and the student view indicator also sees Cape Town come in at 56th worldwide.

The city is home to a well-developed selection of public universities, including University of Cape Town in the top 250 worldwide. It’s unsurprising that so many international students choose to study in Cape Town.

One student told our student survey that the best thing about studying here was “the wide variety of people that study here and, of course, being close to the beach”.

Best universities in Cape Town - QS Best Student Cities ranking: Joint 78th

University of Cape Town (joint 237th); University of the Western Cape (1000-1200)

More about Cape Town

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Cape Town (=237th)



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 Cape Town

It’s affordable

Cape Town offers a high quality of life while having low cost of living and relatively low tuition fees. 

The people

The people of Cape Town are known for being extremely friendly and welcoming. In fact, the 4,618,000 population is made up of 39,500 students in total, of which 4,300 are international students.

The beaches

Cape Town is home to many beautiful beaches to relax on between lectures. 

Its diversity

Cape Town is one of the most multicultural cities in the world and 11 officially recognised languages are spoken there.

What is the cost of studying in Cape Town?

Students studying in Cape Town will enjoy the city’s affordability. It ranks 28th in the world for affordability this year, with tuition fees in the city costing around US$7,300 per year. 

According to Numbeo, a one bedroom apartment in the city centre will cost students an average of US$693.31 and Numbeo estimates that students will need an average of US$106.81 per month to pay for utilities.

Life and Culture in Cape Town

If you’ve got a taste for adventure, Cape Town is the student city for you. You can trek the heights of Table Mountain, explore wildlife reserves, hit the waves and go surfing, or (if you’re brave enough) even go cage-diving with great white sharks.

You’ll probably never get tired of seeing the majestic Table Mountain, Cape Town’s most famous landmark, dominating the horizon at 1,085m above sea level.

A variety of sports are also popular, such as cricket, association football, swimming, and rugby. Cape Town hosted matches during the FIFA World Cup in 2010, enhancing its profile as a major city for sporting events.

The city is well known for its architectural heritage, with the highest density of ‘Cape Dutch’ style buildings in the world, as well as many striking modern buildings, such as the Cape Town International Convention Centre, earning it the title of World Design Capital in 2014.

Cape Town has a Mediterranean-style climate with wet winters (from June to August) and dry, warm summers. The city boasts excellent beaches to enjoy during your spare time with Clifton Beach widely regarded as one of the best in the world.

Careers in Cape Town

Cape Town has a diverse economy and developing infrastructure. Although the unemployment rate in Cape Town is high and local immigration laws make it quite difficult to get jobs as a non-citizen, the city encourages applications from highly skilled graduates.

Cape Town actively encourages entrepreneurs wanting to start businesses in the city, so there may be start-ups looking to hire graduates.

This article was originally published in July 2021 . It was last updated in July 2022

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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