Universities in Seoul - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities
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Study in Seoul

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Aisha Khan

Updated Aug 15, 2023
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Seoul for students

Seoul is considered one of the best student cities in the world, ranked as the third-best city for students in the world behind London and Tokyo.

South Korea’s capital scores well in a number of indicators used to compile the ranking, including employer activity where it ranks ninth – 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 20 universities in Seoul are featured in the QS World University Rankings® 2024, of which the highest-ranked is Seoul National University, at 41st in the world.

To share your own experience of Seoul or another city, take the survey.

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

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. However, it still has some work to do to impress every prospective student, having fallen 17 places in the 'affordability' indicator.

Number of universities ranked by QS

20

Highest-ranked institution

Seoul National University (SNU) (41st in the world)

Population

9,963,000

Average international fees (at ranked unis)

US$6,300

Desirability rank

39th

Employer Activity rank

9th

Affordability rank

68th

Student Mix rank

46th

Student View rank

=41st

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 joint 41st 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.

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.

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