Universities in Rio de Janeiro - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Rio de Janeiro

By Sabrina Collier

Updated January 15, 2021 Updated January 15, 2021

Rio de Janeiro for students

Rio de Janeiro (or Rio for short) is Brazil’s second-largest city and is known as the Cidade Maravilhosa (marvelous city). 

Unsurprisingly, the city has proved a hit with students, with one respondent to our student survey saying that it’s “incredible. The culture, art and the people are marvelous.”

Another said “Rio offers amazing opportunities to make friends and enjoy the city as well. If in the right place there are no boundaries for personal and professional growth.”

Rio de Janeiro is home to one of the largest libraries in the world, the Biblioteca Nacional do Brasil (National Library of Brazil) as well as some of Latin America’s most prestigious universities, including the Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro

Best universities in Rio de Janeiro - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 102nd

World ranking



Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro


Pontificia Universidade Católica do Rio de Janeiro - PUC


Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ)


Universidade Federal Fluminense

More about Rio de Janeiro

Home to four universities, Rio de Janeiro ranks 102nd in the most recent Best Student Cities Ranking. Its top scores this year were for the employer activity and affordability indicators –the city ranked 62nd for both.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro (joint 380th)



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 Rio de Janeiro?

Sunny beaches

The city’s beaches, such as Copacabana and Ipanema make Rio de Janeiro a popular tourist spot. Students studying in the city can enjoy these beaches all year long. 

Friendly people

Rio de Janeiro’s locals, known as Cariocas, are exceptionally friendly people. You won’t find it hard to make friends. 

The warm weather

Rio de Janeiro is a tropical city with high levels of humidity all year round. In the summer, temperatures stay at around 35 to 40 degrees Celsius, but most buildings enjoy strong air conditioning to keep you cool. In the winter, temperatures are around 25 degrees Celsius – anything below 20 degrees is considered cold.

Admire the architecture

Rio de Janeiro has been named the first World Capital of Architecture in 2020 by UNESCO. Visit the famous Christ the Redeemer statue, the Belmond Copacabana Palace, or the breath-taking .

Cost of studying in Rio de Janeiro

With low tuition fees and an affordable cost of living, Rio de Janeiro ranks 62nd for affordability this year. Tuition fees for international students cost an average of US$3,600 per year.

Numbeo estimates that a single person living in Rio de Janeiro will need around US$440 per month with an extra US$308 for rent for an apartment in the city center.

Life and culture in Rio de Janeiro

One of Latin America’s most iconic cities, think of Rio and you’ll probably picture the famous Christ the Redeemer statue which overlooks the city atop the peak of the Corcovado Mountain.

Sports fans are likely to feel right at home in Rio, with soccer especially popular. Rio has hosted a number of major sporting events in recent years – it was a host city in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and also hosted the 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

If you’re into the outdoors, Rio’s Tijuca National Park allows you to escape from the city’s hustle and bustle and explore lush tropical rainforest.

Another popular escape for students can be found at one of Rio’s many famous beaches, with the Copacabana beach attracting thousands of revelers for New Year’s Eve celebrations and spectacular fireworks.

As well as sport, the city’s residents (“cariocas”) are also enthusiastic about music and dance, with the annual Rio Carnival (Carnaval) attracting thousands of visitors with its samba floats and euphoric atmosphere. A major tourist destination, Rio is also an important LGBT+ destination, with a million LGBT+ tourists visiting every year.

Careers in Rio de Janeiro

A major trading port, Rio de Janeiro is a largely international city. This year, the city ranks 62nd for employer reputation, indicating that Rio de Janeiro’s graduates are high sought after by employers.

Industries frequently hiring graduates include tourism, sales, communications, technology and engineering. However, it’s worth noting that most companies in Rio will require you to speak Portuguese.

This article was originally published in February 2017 . It was last updated in January 2021

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Written by

The former Assistant Editor of TopUniversities.com, Sabrina wrote and edited articles to guide students from around the world on a wide range of topics. She has a bachelor's degree in English Literature and Creative Writing from Aberystwyth University and grew up in Staffordshire, UK. 

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