Universities in Los Angeles - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in Los Angeles

By Staff Writer

Updated June 30, 2022 Updated June 30, 2022

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 30th

Rising one place in the QS Best Student Cities ranking this year, Los Angeles is undoubtedly somewhere students want to be. Home to three universities ranked within the world’s top 150, Los Angeles achieves particularly strong scores in the student voice and employer activity indicators of the QS Best Student Cities ranking. The latter reflects the views of local and international employers, who clearly view the city as a key hub from which to recruit bright new talents. Certainly it’s no surprise to find that graduates of the world-renowned University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),  California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and other top ranked universities in the city are in high demand.

Home to the Hollywood film industry and absolutely packed with galleries, museums, theaters and all kinds of performance venues, LA is often touted as the ‘Creative Capital of the World’. In addition to its large comprehensive state universities, the city also has numerous private universities and colleges, many specialising in fields relating to the creative arts.

Whatever your field of interest, LA is likely to have a strong offering – whether it’s business, science, fashion, medicine, sports or technology. It is, after all, the second-largest metropolitan area in the US (after New York). And the southern Californian climate is an added bonus, with sunshine guaranteed pretty much year-round.

Los Angeles is highly rated by many students, with one survey respondent commenting in our student survey: “It is perfectly located, near beaches, mountains, forests. It has the charms of a big city and the size of a sprawling suburb. There is a lot to do here. The weather is great.”

Are you studying in Los Angeles? Share your experience.

Internationally ranked universities in Los Angeles

World rank University
=6 California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
44 University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
134 University of Southern California
1201-1400 California State University - Los Angeles

More about Los Angeles

Sunny Los Angeles is one of the top student cities in both the US and the world in the QS Best Cities Ranking. This is likely due to its great scores in the employer activity and student voice indicators, which represent how much of a diverse and career-filled hub the city really is.

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

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

California Institute of Technology (Caltech) (ranked =6th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student Voice rank



Why study in Los Angeles?

Never get bored

Los Angeles ranks high for student voice and desirability - and for a good reason. The city is known for being dynamic and ever-changing, and as a student you'll never be short of things to do. Whether it's going out to eat in West Hollywood, hiking across the canyons or swimming down Venice Beach, you'll never get bored in LA.

High quality education

Every year, thousands of students - local and international - relocate to the LA area to attend the colleges and universities in the area. Two of those are top ranked worldwide in the QS World University Rankings 2023: the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA).

A diverse environment

Los Angeles is one of the most diverse cities in the United States. No matter which neighbourhood you are - whether in Bel Air, Beverly Hills, West Hollywood or Downtown - you'll hear people different languages and experience a wide range of cultures. This diversity is what makes LA a truly special place to study and enrich yourself. 

Cost of studying in Los Angeles

Los Angeles, despite its many perks, doesn't perform too well for affordability, ranking 138th in the world. The city is in fact one of the most expensive in the United States. 

A single person estimated monthly costs are US$1,063, with an extra US$2,217 to be added for rent within the city center. 

Nevertheless, as a student you'll gain access to loans and scholarship programmes to help you manage costs.

Life & culture in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of the most vibrant cities in the world. The heat, the sunshine and the glamour provide a perfect backdrop for a stimulating student lifestyle, no matter what your choice of degree might be. 

It would be impossible to list every activity or amenity available for students in LA, but some of the most popular locations include Rodeo Drive, Venice Beach, Santa Monica, The Grove, Beverly Center and Hollywood & Highland. For a day in the great outdoors, take a drive down to Malibu or a hike across the amazing canyons that surround the city. 

Music and nightlife are also key parts of life in LA. The city is home to many of the world's biggest label records, as well as some of the best venues for live shows. 

Careers in Los Angeles

Los Angeles is one of America's (and the world's) biggest business hubs and a great place to kick-start your graduate career. 

Some of the biggest industries include entertainment (of course!), tech, trade, design and tourism.

This article was originally published in November 2015 . It was last updated in June 2022

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