Universities in London - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in London

By Niamh O

Updated September 13, 2022 Updated September 13, 2022

A diverse and culturally-rich city, London offers its students everything from world-renowned museums and nightlife to delicious multicultural food offerings.

London for students 

London has been ranked as one of the world’s top five student cities. With improved scores for the desirability and student view indicators, London once again reigns supreme in this year's QS Best Cities Ranking 2023.

London is home to a huge 18 universities featured in the QS World University Rankings 2023, with two of these making it into the global top 10: Imperial College London in joint sixth place, and University College London (UCL) in 8th.

Best universities in London – QS Best Student Cities Ranking: 1st

Imperial College London (=6th); UCL (University College London) (8th);  King's College London (KCL) (37th); London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) (56th); Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL) (=125th); Birkbeck College, University of London (=332nd); City University London (=355th); Royal Holloway University of London (=402nd); Brunel University (=412nd); SOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London (=443rd); Goldsmiths, University of London (511-520); Kingston University, London (601-650); Middlesex University (751-800); University of Westminster (701-750); University of Greenwich (801-1000); London Metropolitan University (801-1000); London South Bank University (801-1000); University of East London (801-1000)

More about London

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Imperial College London (6th in the world)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student Mix rank


Student Voice rank


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

Why study in London?

An academic hotspot

London has by far the most universities of any UK city, with three of these making it into the top 50 globally. There are 18 universities featured under the University of London banner, with the largest number of university students in the UK. 

A large international community

London is one of the most diverse cities in the world, with citizens and students from all over the globe – so if you’re feeling homesick, you’re sure to be able to find others who share your culture (and most importantly, home foods!)

Free culture!

The city is home to some of the best museums in the world, including the Natural History Museum, the British Museum, the Imperial War Museum and the Victoria and Albert Museum. The best part? They’re all free to get in, so you can easily get your culture fix as a broke student.

Buzzing nightlife

London has some of the best nightlife in Europe, with people coming from all over the UK to experience nights out in places such as Shoreditch, Brixton and Mayfair (if you're able to splash the cash, that is).

Greenery everywhere

Nearly half of London is classified as ‘green space’ – 47 percent of the city is made up of parks, commons, outdoor athletics spaces, and more. So whilst you’re in a big city, you can still have a great connection to the natural world.

Cost of Studying in London

Of course, London is not exactly a cheap option for international students, home and EU students alike. In addition, rent and living costs are significantly higher in London compared to the rest of the UK. 

The average tuition fee for international students in London is around US$21,200, which, whilst high, is significantly lower than many US institutions. Domestic students in London can expect to pay £9,000 a year in tuition.

The London School of Economics (LSE) recommend that students budget around £1,100 to £1,300 per month (approx. US$1,470-1,740) for living expenses, including accommodation, bills, travel and socialising.

Life and Culture in London

London is a truly global city, with 36.7 percent of its residents born outside the UK. This means that many areas of London offer carry a distinct flavour of other cultures, such as the Bangladeshi population of Tower Hamlets (and the curry houses of Brick Lane).

Despite having a huge student population of around 276,400 students, the city itself is so large that you won’t simply be living in a ‘student bubble’ – it’s a great city for students and graduates alike. 

Careers in London 

London is the European and global hub for many industries, most notably finance, with the headquarters of major banks like Barclays and the Bank of England located in the City of London. 

The city comes fourth in the rankings for employer activity, showing just how sought-after graduates from London universities are by employers. Many international companies recruit in London, such as Google, Amazon and Unilever.

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

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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