Universities in Sydney - QS Best Student Cities Ranking | Top Universities

Study in Sydney

By Aisha Khan

Updated October 25, 2023 Updated October 25, 2023

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 7th

Although Melbourne takes the crown as Australia’s leading student city, Sydney remains a very strong rival, finishing in seventh place in the QS Best Student Cities ranking, up from two places last year.

Sydney comes just one spot behind Melbourne for the student mix indicator, thanks to its large, diverse and inclusive student community. It also ranks third in the world for desirability, reflecting the all-round high quality of life in the city, as well as its popularity among prospective students.

Sydney also ranks 27th worldwide for employer activity, highlighting the excellent reputation of its graduates. There are also lots of opportunities available for Sydney graduates who want to work in Australia after graduation.  

In common with other Australian study hubs, Sydney’s weakest score by far is for affordability, due to the combination of relatively high international tuition fees and substantial living costs, but it’s easy to see why so many international students find ways to cover the costs. After all, the combination of education and lifestyle Sydney offers makes for a highly attractive proposition.

As well as being Australia’s financial and economic hub, Sydney is known for the stunning panorama of its harbour, iconic opera house, large selection of green spaces within the city, and proximity to beaches which are among the most beautiful not just in Australia but anywhere in the world. It’s also been ranked one of the 10 most livable cities on the planet by both Mercer and The Economist.

Sydney currently has five universities included in the QS World University Rankings®, with both the University of Sydney and the University of New South Wales featuring in the global top 50. 

Does Sydney get your vote? Have your say.

Internationally ranked universities in Sydney

World ranking University
=19 University of Sydney
=19 University of New South Wales (UNSW)
90 University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)
=130 Macquarie University
=375 Western Sydney University

More about Sydney

Sydney performed well in all ranking indicators apart from affordability. This is a trend that is reflected across all Australian cities in the ranking, as the country's living costs are higher compared with those in most European or Asian cities. Nevertheless, Sydney remains a highly desirable place to study in thanks to its friendliness, great graduate opportunities and excellent quality of life.

To find out how each of the above categories is calculated, view the methodology.

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Sydney and University of New South Wales (UNSW) (both =19th)



Average international fees (at ranked unis)


Desirability rank


Employer Activity rank


Affordability rank


Student Voice rank


Why study in Sydney?

Enjoy the outdoors

Sydney offers student a great climate with mild winters and warm summers, ideal for swimming and exploring. 

From surfing in Bondi Beach or Manly to taking day trips to the beautiful Blue Mountains and surrounding parks and natural reserves, Sydney has a lot to offer to those with a love for the outdoors.

Embrace diversity

It's not by chance that Sydney earned a top five spot for student mix for yet another year. In fact, the city is one of the most diverse and welcoming in the world, allowing students from a wide range of countries to enjoy the Australian way of life. If you're an international student, you're guaranteed to find a home in Sydney.

Vibrant city life

Sydney ranks third in the world for desirability. This reflects just how well perceived the city is in the eyes of prospective students - and for a good reason! 

Sydney offers students a vibrant lifestyle with plenty of opportunities to socialise and enjoy the great weather. From bars to restaurants, markets and events - all brought together by a great public transportation system - it's nearly impossible to get bored in the city. 

Cost of living in Sydney

Much like other Australian cities, Sydney might not appear as affordable as study destinations in other continents. For example, consumer prices and rent in Sydney are 12 percent higher than in Munich.

Nevertheless, for many students prices are justified by the high quality of education and excellent lifestyle. 

Life & culture in Sydney

Life is Sydney is extremely busy, but also vibrant.

The city is home to some of the Asia-Pacific's most famous attractions, such as Bondi Beach, the Sydney Harbour, the Sydney Opera House, The Rocks and the Blue Mountains, which students can enjoy on a regular basis.

Moreover, Sydney's excellent transportation system allows locals to move around with ease, from stunning beaches to the city's shopping and hospitality hub - the CBD. 

Careers in Sydney

Sydney is not only home to some of the world's best universities, it's also one of Asia-Pacific biggest business hubs.

Some of the most profitable industries include the services sector, tourism, industry, agriculture, healthcare, science and technology. 

In Sydney, graduates can find jobs at top global firms such as Google, Apple, Deloitte, KPMG, Microsoft and EY, as well as at a plethora of local firms.

This article was originally published in December 2015 . It was last updated in October 2023

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