Universities in Sao Paulo - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

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Study in Sao Paulo

By Staff Writer

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

São Paulo for students

With six institutions in the QS World University Rankings® 2022, São Paulo has strong credentials as a study abroad destination. Leading the pack is Universidade de São Paulo, ranked joint 121st in the world.

São Paulo is also Brazil’s cultural and financial capital and its generous smattering of world-class universities mean it’s firmly at the centre of the Brazilian academic world.

Are you studying in São Paulo? Rate your experience!

Best universities in Sao Paulo - QS Best Student Cities ranking: =80th

Rank University
=121 Universidade de São Paulo (USP)
219 Universidade Estadual de Campinas (Unicamp)
=434 Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP)
=492 UNESP
801-1000 Pontificia Universidade Católica de São Paulo (PUC-SP)
801-1000 Universidade Federal de São Carlos

More about São Paulo

A large and thriving city, São Paulo's student population is largely made up of Brazilian students, with just three percent of enrolled students at the above six universities classified as international. Its two greatest strengths as a study destination are its prominent place in the Latin American economy, with many job opportunities for graduates, and its affordability compared to other student cities.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Universidade de São Paulo (USP) (=121st)



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 São Paulo?

The low cost of living

Placing 22nd in the affordability indicator this year, São Paulo’s cost of living is significantly lower than other student cities.

It’s a global city

The blend of culture from its ethnically diverse population makes São Paulo a truly international city.

The culture

Containing hundreds of museums, cinemas and art galleries, São Paulo has plenty to entertain students after lectures.

The food

São Paulo offers a rich street food culture. The Municipal Market is a popular food market in the city and sells a wide range of food, including fresh fruits, vegetables and spices.

Cost of studying in São Paulo

Sao Paulo is ranked 22nd in the world for affordability this year, with tuition fees costing around US$1,700 per year on average.

The cost of living in São Paulo is very low, with Numbeo estimating that a single person would need around US$539 for living costs as well as US$455 for rent on a one bedroom apartment in the city center.

Life & culture in São Paulo

The largest city in the southern hemisphere, São Paulo is vibrant and quite full-on. It’s safe to say, there’s no shortage of the Brazilian joie de vivre in this sprawling metropolis.

Carnivals usually take place through the year and the city’s nightlife is known for its intensity.

São Paulo has more than 100 museums and 300 cinemas and hosts an international film festival each year which attracts people from all over Brazil.

São Paulo has one of the most ethnically diverse populations in Brazil. It’s a melting pot of different cultures, with large Italian, Arab and Japanese communities. Even the food in São Paulo is famed for both diversity and quality.

Careers in São Paulo

The city scores particularly well in the employer activity indicator of the QS Best Student Cities ranking, showing that its graduates are in high demand.

Many people working in São Paulo are employed in the service and technology sectors. The main employers in the city are the IT, commerce, finance, automotive and pharmaceutical industries.

In the student survey, when asked what they liked most about the city, students frequently referred to the “many different job opportunities available.” 

It’s worth noting, however, that most jobs require you to know at least some Portuguese.

This article was originally published in November 2015 . It was last updated in July 2021

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