Universities in St. Petersburg - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

St. Petersburg

By Sabrina Collier

Updated October 22, 2020 Updated October 22, 2020

St Petersburg for students

Up 10 places in the Best Student Cities ranking this year, Russia’s second-largest city, St. Petersburg, is noted for being at the forefront of much political and social change during its 300-year history. It’s been known as Petrograd and Leningrad, and home to many major events and historical figures.

Known for its longstanding tradition in literature, the city is also home to a number of Russia’s most prestigious universities. Saint-Petersburg State University is the oldest and one of the largest universities in the country as well as being Russia’s third highest ranking university.

Best universities in St Petersburg - QS Best Student Cities ranking: 66th

Saint-Petersburg State University (225th); ITMO University (=360th); Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University (=401st).

More about St Petersburg

Number of universities ranked by QS


Top ranked institution

Saint-Petersburg State University (225th 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 St Petersburg

Plenty of career opportunities

Although graduates will need to obtain a work visa to stay in Russia after graduation, St. Petersburg offers many job opportunities, particularly in the IT and technology industries.

Great nightlife

The city boasts sophisticated live-music joints, dance clubs and English or Irish-style pubs.

The architecture

In addition to the world-famous Savior on Spilled Blood museum, the city offers many baroque style palaces and grand cathedrals and royal gardens to enjoy.

It’s affordable

St. Petersburg is one of the most affordable cities for students. It ranks joint fourth in the world this year for affordability.

Cost of studying in St Petersburg

It’s also ranked in the top five of the Best Student Cities ranking for affordability (up seven places this year) with low tuition fees and fairly affordable living costs.

International students at St Petersburg will pay around $2,600 per year for tuition, which is significantly lower than many other student cities, particularly in the UK and the US.

The cost of living is also surprisingly low. Numbeo estimates that a single person living in St Petersburg will need an average of US$480 per month for living costs and US$478 per month for rent.

Life & culture in St Petersburg

St. Petersburg is probably Russia’s most westernized city and is also considered one of the most attractive cities in Europe.

Nicknamed “The Venice of the North”, the city’s northern location means that it experiences the ‘White Nights’ phenomenon, in which the sun barely dips below the horizon (peaking in mid-June), giving its name to the annual White Nights of St. Petersburg music festival.

Many students will be keen to visit iconic sights such as the Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood (pictured above), the Winter Palace (the official residence of Russian monarchs from 1732 to 1917), which holds the Hermitage Museum (one of the largest art museums in the world).

The city’s beautiful cathedrals are also worth a visit, such as the impressive Kazan Cathedral, which is dedicated to Our Lady of Kazan, one of the most venerated icons in Russia.

Other cultural activities you could enjoy in St. Petersburg include opera and ballet shows at the historic Mariinsky Theatre and visits to one of its 200 museums.

Career in St Petersburg

After graduation, you will need a work visa to stay in St. Petersburg. Luckily the city offers plenty of opportunities for graduates looking to get a job there.

Russia’s biggest trade port, St. Petersburg helps with trade and communication between Russia and the rest of the world. The city also has strong IT and technology industries, which account for a significant portion of the Russia’s GDP.

There are also plenty of large firms with offices in St Petersburg, including Coca-Cola, Wrigley, General Motors, Unilever and Gillette.

This article was originally published in February 2017 . It was last updated in October 2020

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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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