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

Study in Manchester

By Niamh O

Updated October 12, 2022 Updated October 12, 2022

Why study in Manchester to earn your degree? The culture, music scene, and student-friendly feel within the city are just a few popular reasons.

Along with Glasgow, Manchester is the UK’s third-best student city after London and Edinburgh, with both cities ranked joint 25th in the QS Best Student Cities 2023. This strong position is due largely to the world-class universities in Manchester, as well as a fun-packed student culture that gives London a run for its money.

Located in the north-west of England, Manchester is especially well known for its music scene, which has produced big-name bands such as The Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis. Today its numerous venues continue to be a central part of the UK music circuit, welcoming globally successfully acts and nurturing new talent. More generally, arts, culture and excellent nightlife are all very much in good supply, as are opportunities to explore the rich history of this part of the UK. Manchester played a central role in the industrial revolution – and this can be seen today in the imposing old textile factories and warehouses still dotted around the city.

Three universities in Manchester feature in the QS World University Rankings® 2023, the most notable of which is the University of Manchester, which is ranked 28th in the world.

Manchester’s lively student scene earned it a score in the top 50 for student voice, reflecting the great student experience on offer. One respondent to our student survey commented: “It's a big enough city with plenty to see and do, but small and inclusive enough that there is still a sense of community among everyone. It's very multicultural and welcomes anyone and everyone.” Another summed up: “The city is wonderful, I don't want to leave. Plus the people are so friendly and the nightlife is amazing: best city I’ve been to.”

Are you studying in Manchester? Rate your experience.

Best universities in Manchester: QS Best Student Cities ranking: =25th


More about Manchester

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Manchester (28th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student Voice rank



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

Why study in Manchester?

It's a fun and friendly city

Named as one of the top 30 best cities to live in in the world this year, Manchester is a thriving, music filled choice for any student looking to have a university experience they will never forget.

For example, the music scene. Oasis, The Happy Mondays and Joy Division are just a few of the Manchester bands famous for their musical influence.

Or you could enjoy the culture that the city has to offer. Take a walk around Manchester and you‘ll see how chilled out the city is.

You could become all artsy at the Whitworth Gallery or similarly Manchester Museum, taking in the latest exhibitions for the month. There are plenty of parades held in the city centre during the year (in non-covid times), ranging from Chinese New Year to Manchester Day and also the biggest event for the LGBTQ+ community, Manchester Pride.

Cost of living in Manchester

Manchester ranks 93rd in the world for affordability this year, making it cheaper than some other European cities.

According to Numbeo, a one-bedroom apartment in Manchester’s city centre costs around US$1,172, meaning rent in Manchester is 53.61 percent lower than in London on average. A single person's estimated monthly costs are US$947 without rent.

Career in Manchester

Manchester ranked 37th in the world for employability this year. Graduates leaving universities in the city will have received one of the world's best educations and will be in good stead to compete in a competitive job market.

The majority of graduate schemes are offered by larger organisations ranging from multinational companies to opportunities in the NHS, civil service, and local government. Some sites list graduate schemes and internships by deadline or do a review of the forthcoming year.

Some opportunities do exist within smaller organisations including; advertising agencies, management consultancies, the not-for-profit sector including Cancer Research and Teach First.

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