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QS Best Student Cities ranking: 18th

Up 15 places this year, Edinburgh has been ranked as the UK’s second-best student city after London for the third time in a row, beating the other six UK ranked universities in the QS Best Student Cities: ManchesterCoventryNottingham, GlasgowBirmingham and Newcastle.

With a relatively small population compared to many of the cities in the index, the Scottish capital has a large student community proportionate to its overall size, meaning it scores especially well in the Student Mix category. Notably, 39% of students at ranked universities in Edinburgh are international, providing a diverse and inclusive atmosphere.

Known for its striking castle, historic old town and massive annual events such as the Edinburgh International Festival and New Year’s Hogmanay street party, the city is also home to several of the best universities in the UK. The University of Edinburgh is ranked 19th in the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017 – the fifth-highest UK entry.

Average fees for international students are a little higher than in cities such as London or Manchester. However, for undergraduate students from within the EU (except those from England, Wales or Northern Ireland), university fees are entirely subsidized by the Student Awards Agency for Scotland (SAAS). So depending on where you’re from, Edinburgh could be one of the most affordable options in the list.

Edinburgh achieves its highest score (12th) in the new Student View indicator, showing that students in the city are undoubtedly enjoying their experience, and are often keen to stay after graduation. One survey respondent commented, “Edinburgh is the best city in the world. Not just the beautiful architecture and setting, the people make it great. Friendly and always accepting, I will never forget my time in Edinburgh.

Are studying in Edinburgh? Share your experience.

Internationally ranked universities in Edinburgh


More about Edinburgh

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Population (including wider metropolitan area)


Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student Experience rank



To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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