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Study in Kuala Lumpur

By Staff Writer

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Kuala Lumpur for students 

With five universities featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2022Malaysia’s capital ranks 31st this year’s QS Best Student Cities ranking 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 65th in the world) reflects the wider coming to prominence of the country itself on the world stage.


Considering the multicultural, exciting student lifestyle on offer, it’s unsurprising that Kuala Lumpur has proved popular with students.


When asked to name the best things about studying in Kuala Lumpur, one survey respondent said: The tolerance of different views and religions in addition to its affordability” while another described the city asa melting pot of cultures."


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Best universities in Kuala Lumpur - QS Best Student Cities Ranking: 31st

World Ranking



Universiti Malaya (UM)


Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM)


UCSI University


International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM)

801-1000 Universiti Kuala Lumpur (UniKL)

More about Kuala Lumpur

Home to five ranked universities, Kuala Lumpur earns its highest score this year in the affordability indicator, where it places first in the world after rising one position.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Universiti Malaya (UM) (ranked 65th)



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 Kuala Lumpur?

Top quality education

Kuala Lumpur is home to five top universities, including Universiti Malaya (UM) which ranks 65th in the world this year.

It’s affordable

Kuala Lumpur is the best student city in the world for affordability this year, due to low tuition fees and inexpensive living costs. 

An interesting history

Kuala Lumpur is proud of its history. Many museums dedicated to the lives and art of Malaysia’s people have been established all around the city.

It’s well connected

Kuala Lumpur offers some of the best transportation in the world. Its extensive train lines and bus routes make it easy to get around the city.

Cost of studying in Kuala Lumpur

For a second year running, Kuala Lumpur is ranked second in the world for affordability – its top score this year. The city has the ideal combination of low living costs and relatively low tuition fees.

Tuition fees in the city average at around US$2,500 per year for international students. The cost of living is also low, with Numbeo estimating a single person living in the city would need approximately US$510 per month for general living costs and an additional US$485 for rent.

Life and culture in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is a city of gleaming skyscrapers, including the iconic Petronas Twin Towers (the world’s tallest buildings until 2004), the Telekom Tower and the Exchange 106 building.

However, Kuala Lumpur 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 characterised this part of the world.

The local food in the city is definitely worth a try. Kuala Lumpur offers a range of foods from all around Asia. Local foods include kwey teow (rice noodles with egg, beansprouts, prawns and cockles) and rotu canai (flatbread with dhal).

There’s plenty to do in the city. Take a relaxing boat ride on the Selangor River, explore the traditional Malay houses in the Kampung Baru neighbourhood or see a comedy show at the Crackhouse Comedy Club. There’s something for all tastes in Kuala Lumpur. 

Careers in Kuala Lumpur

In recent years Kuala Lumpur has become a popular destination for expats and students staying after graduation. This is due to a high quality of life and plenty of job opportunities. The city ranks 35th for employer activity this year in the QS Best Student Cities index. 

Key industries hiring graduates are IT, financial services, construction, tourism and electronics.

Competition for jobs can be high and Kuala Lumpur has restrictions for the number of foreign employees companies can hire. This means you really need to make sure your application stands out.

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

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