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QS Best Student Cities ranking: Joint 28th

Adjacent to California's famed tech innovation hub Silicon Valley, San Francisco is within striking distance of two of the world's most prestigious universities, Stanford University and the University of California, Berkeley, currently ranked 2nd and 28th in the world respectively.

Made famous in the 1960s as the home of “flower power”, San Francisco remains one of the United States' most iconic and frequently visited cities. With its famously laid-back coastal lifestyle and sunny climate, it’s known for its high quality of life, without the expensive living costs associated with cities like New York (though of course university fees are still as high as you’d expect from top US universities).

Today, the city’s bohemian heritage and relaxed beach style blend with more cutting-edge and competitive dynamics. One of the world's leading 10 financial centers, the San Francisco Bay Area is home to hundreds of innovative companies, particularly in the technology sector, including the likes of Apple, Facebook and IBM, adding to its attraction for ambitious students and graduates.

This, combined with the high caliber of its institutions, gives San Francisco its strongest score in the Employer Activity category of the QS Best Student Cities. This is based on surveys of local and international employers, who are asked to identify the cities they perceive as producing the most talented and employable graduates.

Are you currently studying in San Francisco? Rate your experience.

Internationally ranked universities in San Francisco


More about San Francisco

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


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Employer Activity rank


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Student Experience rank



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

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Written by QS Staff Writer

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