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Study in Seoul

By Staff Writer

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

Seoul for students

Seoul has continued to climb up our ranking of the best student cities in the world, moving up seven places to now be considered the third-best city for students in the world alongside Tokyo.

South Korea’s capital scores well in a number of indicators used to compile the ranking, including employer activity where it ranks third – reflecting the strong reputation of universities in Seoul among both domestic and international employers.

The city also comes out on top in the rankings indicator, a reflection of the impressive fact that no fewer than 21 universities in Seoul are featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2022, of which the highest-ranked is Seoul National University, at 36th in the world.

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Best universities in Seoul - QS Best Student Cities ranking: =3rd

Rank University
36 Seoul National University (SNU)
74 Korea University
=79 Yonsei University
97 Sungkyunkwan University
156 Hanyang University
=264 Kyung Hee University
=362 Ewha Womans University
=414 Chung-Ang University
=445 Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
=482 The Catholic University of Korea
=494 Sogang University
=494 Dongguk University
561-570 Inha University
601-650 Sejong University
601-650 Konkuk University
751-800 Dankook University
801-1000 University of Seoul
1001-1200 Kookmin University
1001-1200 Sookmyung Women's University
1001-1200 Seoul National University of Science and Technology
1200+ Hongik University

More about Seoul

Seoul's impressive rise in the QS Best Student Cities ranking has been due to improvement across almost every indicator we measure, with the biggest increase coming in desirability. However, it still has some work to do to impress every prospective student, having fallen six places in the 'student view' indicator, which is based on responses to our global student survey.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

Seoul National University (SNU) (36th in the world)



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 Seoul?

A city that never sleeps

Seoul is a 24/7 city in which life is never dull. Whether it’s the sounds of night-market sellers, the atmosphere of the all-night tea houses or the cries of gamers at a ‘PC bang’ (gaming center), Seoul is as alive at 3am as it is at 5pm. The magic of this city is that boredom is impossible, with culture, history and creativity everywhere you turn.

The perfect place to unwind and relax

If you need some more restful down-time from your studies, Seoul also offers many opportunities to find your inner Zen, whether at one of many Buddhist temples or in a traditional sauna or spa. Further tranquility can be found less than one hour outside of the city walls, where you can explore South Korea’s mountainous landscape and charming, historic villages.

A safe, diverse, thriving city

Students and graduates of the city certainly rate their experience highly – Seoul comes 38th in the student view indicator, and one respondent to our student survey said: “The diverse culture makes for a great experience, and everything is so convenient,” while another described it as “a city which has the possibilities of a truly metropolitan city without almost any danger”.

Cost of studying in Seoul

While the average tuition fees for an international student in Seoul are a reasonable $6,300 per year, the city is far from one of the most affordable study destinations in our ranking. However, things look a lot better when you compare Seoul with another leading Asian student city, Tokyo. On average, rent prices are about 20 percent lower in Seoul according to Numbeo.

Typical monthly costs for one person living in Seoul are $1,083 without factoring in rent, while a one-bedroom city centre apartment will cost around £939 per month in rent.

Life & culture in Seoul

A densely populated city, Seoul has plenty for you to discover when not in the classroom. The downtown area of Joseon is the traditional heart of the city and is home to plenty of outdoor markets and historic temples. You can learn more about the city's history by visiting one of its 115 museums, in particular the National Museum of Korea and the National Folk Museum. 

If you need to get away from the crowds and enjoy some open, green space then you'll be relieved to hear Seoul is full of public parks for you to unwind in. Namsan is probably the most famous and offers amazing views of the Seoul skyline. 

Careers in Seoul

As well as being home to over a dozen Fortune Global 500 companies, Seoul is also a high-tech hub for innovation, with technology companies clustered in two main locations: Gangnam and Digital Media City. One of the most financially competitive cities in the world, Seoul is also home to some of the largest wholesale, retail and electronics markets in South Korea.

As its employer activity rank shows, few cities in the world are better placed to provide graduates with a smooth transition into a successful career.

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

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