QS Staff Writer

Updated July 12, 2023 Updated July 12

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 49th

Birmingham continues to climb up the QS Best Student Cities ranking this year, moving up two places to just inside the top 50.

Birmingham is the UK’s second-largest city, located in the heart of the country. Nicknamed the ‘City of a Thousand Trades’ for its proud and varied industrial heritage (and colloquially known as ‘Brum’), Birmingham has become a thriving commercial and financial center. It’s also the UK’s largest center of higher education outside London, home to five universities, two of which rank among the top 500 in the QS World University Rankings®.

Birmingham’s ongoing ‘Big City Plan’ has seen the development of a new state-of-the-art £189 million library, revitalized public transport, beautifully restored Victorian buildings and more.

Away from these developments, the city also boasts internationally renowned arts institutions such as the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra, the Birmingham Royal Ballet, the Birmingham Repertory Theatre, the Library of Birmingham and the Barber Institute of Fine Arts.

Also well worth visiting is the up-and-coming Jewellery Quarter, one of the oldest areas of the city, which has been described by English Heritage as ‘a national treasure’ and produces 40 percent of the jewelry made in the UK.

Another area popular with students is Digbeth. Widely considered ‘Birmingham’s Shoreditch’, it’s fast becoming known as one of the city’s main creative centers and is home to the Custard Factory, an excellent independent shopping spot.

As you’d expect from a city of Birmingham’s size, there is plenty of culture and nightlife to be enjoyed, and its status as one of the UK’s most multicultural cities adds to its diversity and the range of experiences on offer. Birmingham also has the youngest population of any major city in Europe (nearly 40 percent of the population are under 25), which adds to its energy.

Are you studying in Birmingham? Share your experience.

Internationally ranked universities in Birmingham

University of BirminghamAston University

More about Birmingham

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Birmingham (81st)



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.

This article was originally published in November 2015 . It was last updated in July 2023


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