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

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Study in St. Petersburg

By Sabrina Collier

Updated July 28, 2021 Updated July 28, 2021

St Petersburg for students

Falling six places in the Best Student Cities ranking this year, St. Petersburg is noted for being at the forefront of much political and social change during its 300-year history.

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 second highest ranking university.

Best universities in St Petersburg - QS Best Student Cities ranking: =72nd

Rank University
=242 Saint-Petersburg State University
=365 ITMO University
=393 Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University
1001-1200 Saint-Petersburg Mining University

More about St Petersburg

Unsurprisingly given the size of the city, the student population in St Petersburg makes up a small fraction of what the city has to offer. Despite its slight fall in this year's rankings, it's still within the top 20 most affordable cities overall.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Top ranked institution

Saint-Petersburg State University (=242nd 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 Saviour on Spilled Blood museum, the city offers many baroque style palaces and grand cathedrals and royal gardens to enjoy.

It’s affordable

Despite a slight increase in tuition and living costs in recent years, St Petersburg remains an attractive option for students on a budget, ranked 14th in the world for affordability.

Cost of studying in St Petersburg

International students at St Petersburg will pay around $4,400 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$538 per month for living costs and US$537 per month for rent.

Life & culture in St Petersburg

St. Petersburg is probably Russia’s most westernised 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 Saviour 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 July 2021

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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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