Universities in New York - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in New York

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Holly Hemmings

Updated Jun 21, 2024



New York City is one of the top destinations for students in the US

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 18th

From architecture and arts to finance and innovation, New York City is a world leader across a number of fields – including higher education.

Students have a large selection of prestigious universities located in and around the city to choose from, and because of this, it’s long been a magnet for international students looking for quality education – not to mention the chance to live in the iconic and dynamic metropolis.

The main factor preventing NYC from getting a higher overall position in the index is its low score for affordability; top-dollar tuition fees combined with relatively high overall living costs makes this one of the world’s more expensive study options.

But if the cost won't act as a deterrent, New York offers a virtually inexhaustible supply of things to see and do. Home to many of the most important movers and shakers in world culture, business, finance and the media, and pulsating with energy 24/7, the Big Apple will keep throwing up enough surprises and new experiences to keep you going for an entire lifetime, let alone the duration of your degree program.

In the student survey, the words “opportunity” and “diversity” recur in students’ descriptions of life in NYC. One respondent sums up the appeal: “There is such a richness of academic, cultural and industry diversity here. Something for everyone.”

Best universities in New York

More about New York

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Columbia University (=34th)



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.

Why study in New York?

An academic hotspot

New York boasts an impressive 12 universities for prospective students coming to the 'Big Apple' to choose from - with two of these making their way into the top 50 globally.

Career opportunities

It may come as no surprise to you that one of the world's leading financial, start-up, and fashion hubs has landed a top 10 spot for employability in this year's ranking - with New York ranked 10th for employer activity.

Graduates could land internships or earn a full-time role at a number of impressive organisations in New York including: ESPN; Barclays; FDM Group; ABC News, and so much more.

Free culture

Although New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world to live in for students, that doesn't mean there isn't a wealth of free things for you to do and enjoy while you're there.

Central Park spans 863 acres and approximately 3.5 square kilometers in the middle of Manhattan. The park is free for all to enjoy, so pop in and explore all of its lush nooks and crannies. You could stroll across the romantic Bow Bridge or enjoy a run around the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir with the NY skyline serving as a backdrop.

Did you know the New York Public Library is the second-largest public library in the US and third-largest in the world? So, if you're a bookworm, why not visit the main branch of the library next to Bryant Park to take in the majestic Rose Main Reading Room.

But if you really want a taste on NYC, which not make a visit to the Brooklyn Brewery taproom in Williamsburg. You can purchase affordable tokens to sample the products or take a tour to find out how the hops come to be.

Food and coffee

If you are an avid foodie, NYC is the place for you. You can order every cuisine at any hour of the day (or night), with the city that never sleeps producing ALL the goods (and delivery). From Michelin star restaurants, to dive bars and Chinese takeaway at 3am, you are sure to be satisfied with the culinary options the city has to offer.

Perhaps you like to spend your Sunday mornings sipping a latte in a trendy cafe? Well, you probably wouldn’t be able to hit all of the coffee spots that this city has in store for you even if you tried.

Cost of studying in New York

Of course, New York isn't exactly a cheap option for domestic and international students alike. In addition, rent and living costs are significantly higher in New York compared to other locations in North America. 

The average tuition fee for students in New York is around US$46,000, which, whilst high, is significantly lower than many US institutions - with international students in Los Angeles paying around US$50,000 on average in tuition.

Careers in New York

New York is a global hub for many industries, most notably finance, with the like of the New York Stock Exchange, The New York Times company, and IBM all calling the city home. And let's not forget the fact that NY paves the way in the healthcare industry too!

The city comes 10th in the rankings for employer activity, showing just how sought-after graduates from NY universities are by employers.

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