QS Best Student Cities 2024 | Results and Analysis

QS has released its Best Student Cities 2024 Rankings, highlighting the best study destinations. Learn about which cities host top universities and offer students an enriching cultural and social environment.

In short

QS Best Student Cities 2024: Top Ten

Are you considering studying in a new city? Choosing the most suitable city for your master’s program is a decision that shapes your experiences during a master’s program

The QS Best Student Cities 2024 ranking is a helpful resource, spotlighting the globe’s most accommodating cities for students. The cities that made it into the top ten are:

1. London, United Kingdom
2. Tokyo, Japan
3. Seoul, South Korea
4. Melbourne, Australia
5. Munich, Germany
6. Paris, France
7. Sydney, Australia
8. Berlin, Germany
8. Zurich, Switzerland
10. Boston, United States

What are the Criteria for the QS Best Student Cities Ranking?

QS’ Best Student Cities ranking is grounded in a comprehensive methodology that considers various indicators, categorized into six areas. To qualify for this ranking, a city must meet two key criteria. 

Population Requirements: The city must have a population of over 250,000. This standard guarantees that the cities in question have a significant urban setting, providing various experiences and prospects for students.

Educational Criteria: The city should host at least two universities listed in the recent QS World University Rankings. This criterion highlights the city’s dedication to advanced education and guarantees that students can benefit from high-quality educational facilities.

The Six Pillars of Evaluation

The ranking system delves into six key categories, each representing a different aspect of what makes a city ideal for students.

  1. University rankings: The number and quality of universities in each city.
  2. Student mix: The student population’s diversity and inclusiveness.
  3. Desirability: Factors like safety, pollution levels, and overall attractiveness of the city.
  4. Employer activity: The city’s reputation among employers and the employability of recent graduates.
  5. Affordability: This includes tuition costs and general living expenses.
  6. Student voice: Student ratings on friendliness, sustainability, and diversity are included.


By examining each element in detail, the QS Best Student Cities ranking provides a well-rounded view of the educational and lifestyle opportunities available in cities worldwide.

Analysis of QS Best Student Cities 2024 List

The QS Best Student Cities 2024 rankings present diverse global cities, each offering unique attributes that make them ideal for students. 

London maintains its top position from last year with a perfect score of 100. With its rich blend of culture, history, and vibrant student life, coupled with unparalleled access to global businesses, the city excels in student view (98.4), student mix (94.7), and employer activity (91.7). These were enough to overcome its low affordability score (26.2). 

Tokyo follows closely with its unique combination of traditional heritage and modern innovation, with an overall score of 98. It stands out for its employer activity (95.9) and desirability (94), alongside a more favorable affordability score (48.4).

Seoul’s vibrant youth culture and strong academic environment make it an attractive destination. It ranks third, descending one spot from last year, with a score of 97.6, balancing affordability (51.8) with a strong employer activity score (91.6). 

Melbourne, in fourth place, scores high in student view (98.4) and desirability (96.7). Melbourne’s lively arts scene and high-quality living standards are ideal for students seeking a dynamic balance of study and city life. 

Munich, known for its rich history and strong economic presence in Europe, dropped from second place to fifth with a 97.1. Still, it impresses with high marks in student view (95.8) and student mix (93.6), indicating a diverse and inclusive student body. 

Paris, with its iconic landmarks and world-renowned cuisine, is also a hub for academic excellence. Scoring 96.3 it is also noted for its vigorous employer activity (94.5) and desirability (89.4), catering well to students’ career aspirations and lifestyle preferences.

An overall score of 96.2 brings Sydney to 7th place, where it shines in desirability (98.4) and student view (96.2), reflecting its appealing lifestyle and student satisfaction. Sydney’s stunning beaches and outdoor lifestyle make it a desirable location for students who value quality of life alongside education.

Berlin Berlin’s creative spirit and rich history, along with Zurich’s high living standards and focus on sustainability, provide unique European experiences. They tied for eight with a score of 95. Berlin excels in student view (100) and Zurich in desirability (99), with both cities having balanced scores across other categories.

Boston closes the top ten as a newcomer, replacing Edinburgh, which dropped to 16th place. The city of Boston has great historical significance and a rich academic environment. It is notable for its high employer activity (97.3) and student view (96.6), although its affordability (20.6) is less favorable.

How to Use the Ranking to Choose the Best City for Your Master Program

Obviously, it should take more than this ranking to decide where you should study. 

First and foremost, identify your priorities. For example, is it the city’s cultural diversity or the affordability that matters? Understanding what you value the most will guide your decision-making process.

Next, go beyond the rankings. Dive into researching the real-life student experiences, the lifestyle, and the unique opportunities each city offers. 

Also, consider the long-term prospects of studying in a particular city. Evaluate the employment opportunities available after graduation and the overall quality of life you can expect. Thinking about how a city can contribute to your professional and personal growth in the long run is essential.

Each city offers a unique blend of educational excellence and life experiences. It’s about what you study and where the best experiences and opportunities can be encountered to meet your objectives.

To get a more personal perspective and detailed information about studying (abroad) in these cities, reach out to an ambassador today! 

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