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

Study in Madrid

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Craig OCallaghan

Updated Jun 18, 2024



Study in Madrid, one of the top cities for students in Europe

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 34th

Madrid, the central region of Spain and where its capital is located, stands as an academic beacon, offering a world of opportunities for students seeking a transformative educational experience. Nestled in the heart of Europe´s academic tradition with some historic universities, Madrid combines a rich cultural heritage with cutting-edge academic pursuits. 

Why choose Madrid for your studies?

World-class universities: Madrid boasts a constellation of esteemed universities. These institutions consistently rank among the top in global assessments, ensuring a world-class education. 

World ranking University

Universidad Complutense de Madrid (UCM)

=198 Universidad Autónoma de Madrid
=285 Universidad Carlos III de Madrid
=321 Politécnica de Madrid
=544 Comillas Pontifical University
621-630 Universidad de Alcalá
1001-1200 Universidad Rey Juan Carlos
1201-1400 CEU Universities

Diverse range of programmes: With a diverse range of undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral programmes, Madrid caters to a wide spectrum of academic interests. From engineering and sciences to humanities and business, students can explore a multitude of fields, ensuring a personalised educational journey. 

Cutting-edge research opportunities: Madrid stands as a beacon of research excellence. The region is home to ground-breaking research centres such as IMDEAS (Madrid’s Advance Studies Institutes) and CSIC in Madrid (Spanish National Research Council). With this fertile ecosystem Madrid is a crucible of knowledge that fosters integration across disciplines and global collaborations.  

Whether it's advancements in technology, medical breakthroughs, or cultural studies, Madrid is at the forefront of global innovation. 

A global student community: Dive into a vibrant community of scholars hailing from over 100 countries. Madrid's international student body creates a dynamic learning environment, providing invaluable cross-cultural perspectives. Language support services and multicultural events further enhance this enriching experience. 

Internationally recognised faculty: Learn from the best, as Madrid's universities host a distinguished faculty body. Professors bring a wealth of global experience and expertise, often contributing significantly to their respective fields on an international scale. Their mentorship shapes students into global citizens ready to make an impact. 

Life in Madrid

Wondering what to expect from the quality of life as a student in Madrid? Let’s take a closer look at what student life in the city is like. 

Vibrant cultural scene: Madrid pulsates with a cultural vibrancy that is unparalleled. From the historic grandeur of the Royal Palace to the brilliance of art museums like Museo del Prado, students are immersed in a city steeped in history and artistry. Festivals, theatres, and music venues offer endless opportunities for exploration. 

World-class gastronomy: Immerse yourself in Madrid's rich culinary tapestry, where every meal is a journey through centuries of gastronomic artistry. From the mouthwatering tapas lining the bustling streets of La Latina to the comforting cocido madrileño served in historic taverns, Madrid offers a diverse array of flavours, including the richness of  international and fusion cuisine options. 

Indulge in the famed churros con chocolate and savour the exquisite flavours of ‘ibérico’ products. With its vibrant food markets and Michelin-starred restaurants, Madrid is a true paradise for food enthusiasts, inviting you to savour the essence of Spanish culture in every delectable bite. 

Safe and welcoming environment: Safety is paramount in Madrid. The city is known for its low crime rates and welcoming atmosphere, providing students with a secure environment to thrive. From modern and reliable public transportation to comprehensive healthcare, every aspect is carefully curated to ensure a comfortable stay. 

Cost of living in Madrid

Living in Madrid offers an exceptional balance between quality of life and affordability. While it's a vibrant European capital, Madrid offers a relatively affordable cost of living compared to other major European cities.  

While the city of Madrid is generally more expensive than other parts of the region, there are still many affordable options available for students. When you are in Madrid, remember that you can get the University Student Card which comes with several benefits. 

The average monthly expenses for an international student in Madrid range from €800 to €1,200, depending on lifestyle and spending habits. Accommodation options cater to various budgets: being the largest expense for most students, renting a room in a shared apartment in a central location will typically cost between €350 and €600 per month.  

Bills such as gas, electricity, water, and internet are usually shared between roommates and add an additional €50-€100 per month.  

Public transportation is excellent throughout the Region of Madrid. A monthly public transportation pass costs €20 for students under 26. This pass allows students to travel on all forms of public transportation in the region, including buses, trains and metros. Students can also purchase a 10-trip ticket for around €12.30.  

Groceries are relatively inexpensive in Madrid. Students can expect to spend around €200-€300 per month on food. Eating out can be affordable as well, with ‘menú del día’ (set lunch menus) typically costing around €10-€15. 

Dining out and grocery shopping offer a range of choices to suit different budgets, from affordable tapas bars to gourmet restaurants and local markets.  

Additionally, Madrid provides numerous cultural and recreational activities that won't break the bank. There are many free or low-cost leisure activities available throughout the local region. Students can enjoy free admission to museums on certain days of the week, and there are also many free concerts and festivals throughout the year. Cinema tickets typically cost around €9-€12 

In addition to the above, students will also need to factor in the cost of tuition fees, books, and other study-related expenses. However, the overall cost of living in Madrid is relatively low, making it an attractive option for international students. 

Career opportunities in Madrid

Madrid is not just a hub of education, but also a gateway to the global job market. As a major European business and financial centre, it offers unparalleled opportunities for internships and job placements. Thriving industries in technology, finance, tourism, and more await graduates. 

Graduating in Madrid opens doors to a world of possibilities. Non-EU students can take advantage of the Blue Card, facilitating seamless transition into the workforce. Madrid's vibrant job market welcomes skilled graduates, ensuring a smooth transition from academia to professional success. 

For those with an entrepreneurial spirit, the Community of Madrid offers one of the most attractive environments for talent from elsewhere. For those looking to venture into entrepreneurship, it stands out for the wide range of entities supporting innovative startups (universities and business schools, corporations, R&D centres, accelerators, events, workspaces, etc.), as well as its role as a bridge between European startups and those from other regions like Latin America. 

Additionally, the Community of Madrid ranks fourth in Europe for the number of pre-seed investment opportunities and sixth in the number of high-growth startups. These circumstances, coupled with other advantages in terms of connectivity, human capital, and business-friendly policies, explain why the Community rises to sixth position in Europe for its attractiveness to investment. 

In these reports, you can know more about the innovative entrepreneurial ecosystem and startup investment in the Community of Madrid.  

You can find further information about Community of Madrid’s technology-based entrepreneurial landscape in Madri+d Foundation’s Website

Madrid’s historical and cultural links

Hispano-American connections: The ties between Spain and Hispano-American countries run deep, originating from the colonial era when Spanish explorers ventured across the Atlantic. This historical legacy is embedded in language, traditions, and shared cultural elements.  

Madrid, with its rich tapestry of Hispanic culture, stands as the ideal place for immersive studies. Here, students have the unique opportunity to delve into the linguistic and cultural nuances that connect Spain and Latin America. 

Since 2023, the Community of Madrid has announced that Students from Hispanoamerica will be able to apply to substantial scholarships to study in Madrid. 

European connections: Spain's geographical location and historical significance have positioned it as a cultural crossroads between Europe and Hispano-American countries. Over the centuries, this bridge has facilitated the exchange of ideas, artistic movements, and intellectual pursuits.  

Chinese connections: The historical connections between Spain and China stretch back centuries, marked notably by the pivotal agreement between Philip II of Spain and the Ming Dynasty. This historic pact facilitated the supply of silver from Spanish territories in the Americas to China, leading to the first true globalisation of the world economy.  

This exchange not only transformed economic landscapes but also sparked cultural intermingling, leaving a lasting imprint on both nations. 

Today, these historical ties continue to resonate in modern Madrid. The Silk Road, an ancient trade route linking East and West, serves as a powerful symbol of the enduring connection between Spain and China.  

In contemporary times, Madrid is witnessing a growing influx of Chinese students, further solidifying the cultural exchange between these two nations. This dynamic community contributes to the vibrant tapestry of international perspectives that enriches the academic environment. 

Learn more about studying in Madrid

If you come from foreign education systems, connect with Madrid’s information centre to learn more about studying here. you can find further information in this website:  

For any inquiries or assistance, the University Information and Advice Center (CIAU) is at your disposal. Feel free take an in-person appointment with CIAU personnel here.  

You can also contact us via email

Stay connected through our social media channels (@educacmadrid), for updates, events, and a glimpse into the vibrant life of Madrid. 

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