QS Staff Writer

Updated January 16, 2020 Updated January 16

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 1st

For the second year running, London has been ranked as the world’s number one student city. With improved scores for the desirability and student view indicators, climbing four places to rank ninth worldwide for the latter, London has tightened its grip on the top spot this year. 

Of course, London is not exactly a cheap option for international students, home and EU students alike. In addition, rent and living costs are significantly higher in London compared to the rest of the UK. Yet thanks to the concentration of world-class universities, professional and social opportunities, and a mind-boggling cultural confluence that mixes the corporate and the alternative, the historical and the cutting-edge, studying in London may well be worth every penny.

Few cities in the world can rival London's credentials as a nerve-center of global academia. Among its fleet of internationally ranked universities, the current leaders are UCL (University College London) and Imperial College London, which rank eighth and ninth respectively in the QS World University Rankings® 2020.

King’s College London is also featured in the global top 35, and a whole host of other prestigious institutions are scattered throughout the metropolis – along with world-leading facilities such as the British Library, which constitutes one of the most extensive and significant collections of books and manuscripts in the world.

And of course, the UK's capital is not just an academic hub – it’s an epicenter of international finance and business, culture and creativity, famed for its museums, arts scene, nightlife and diversity. Anything you want to try, see, eat, learn or experience: it’s here.

Are you dreaming of studying in London? Tell us why.

Internationally ranked universities in London

UCL (University College London);  Imperial College London;  King's College London (KCL); London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)Queen Mary, University of London (QMUL)Royal Holloway University of LondonSOAS – School of Oriental and African Studies, University of LondonBirkbeck College, University of LondonCity University LondonBrunel UniversityGoldsmiths, University of LondonKingston University, LondonMiddlesex UniversityLondon Metropolitan UniversityUniversity of East LondonUniversity of GreenwichLondon Business School; London South Bank University

More about London 

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

UCL (University College London) (8th 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.

This article was originally published in November 2014 . It was last updated in January 2020

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