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Kuala Lumpur

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QS Best Student Cities ranking: =29th

With three universities in the QS World University Rankings® 2020Malaysia’s capital is up eight places in 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 70th in the world) reflects the wider coming to prominence of the country itself on the world stage. It is no surprise then that Kuala Lumpur has earned its largest increase this year in the employer activity indicator, improving by an incredible 20 places.

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.

For a second year running, Kuala Lumpur is ranked second in the world for affordability this year, 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. 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 high affordability” while another described the city as “a melting pot of cultures."

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Internationally ranked universities in Kuala Lumpur

More about Kuala Lumpur

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Universiti Malaya (UM) (ranked 70th)



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.

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Darija R, Ghazalie T & 5 others saved this
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Written by QS Staff Writer

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