With three universities in the QS World University Rankings® 2016-2017, Malaysia’s capital is up 12 places in this year’s QS Best Student Cities index, and is quickly establishing itself as one of Southeast Asia’s leading study destinations. The rapidly improving reputation of Malaysia’s higher education sector, headed by Universiti Malaya (now ranked joint 133rd in the world) reflects the wider coming to prominence of the country itself on the world stage.
Kuala Lumpur is very much a manifestation of this. This city of gleaming skyscrapers, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers (the world’s tallest buildings until 2004), is as perfect a representation of the changing balance of power in the 21st century world as you could hope to find.
However, it is by no means a soulless imitation of a Western city. Alongside air-conditioned malls and familiar multinational corporations, you can still find mosques and temples, street vendors and markets, and the rich multicultural mix which has always characterized this part of the world.
Kuala Lumpur also gets the highest score in the Affordability category of the index, with the ideal combination of low living costs and relatively low tuition fees. Considering the multicultural, exciting student lifestyle on offer, it’s unsurprising that Kuala Lumpur has proved popular with students, placing 30th in the new Student View category. When asked to name the best things about studying in Kuala Lumpur are, one survey respondent said: “The tolerance of different views and religions in addition to its high affordability” while another mentioned the city’s “Diversity in terms of culture, food and people.”
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Internationally ranked universities in Kuala Lumpur
More about Kuala Lumpur
Number of universities ranked by QS
Universiti Malaya (UM; joint 133rd)
Average international fees (at ranked unis)
Employer Activity rank
Student Experience rank
To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.