QS Staff Writer

Updated July 29, 2021 Updated July 29

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 9th

Although Melbourne takes the crown as Australia’s leading student city, Sydney remains a very strong rival, finishing in ninth place in the QS Best Student Cities ranking for the second year running.

Sydney comes just one spot behind Melbourne for the student mix indicator, thanks to its large, diverse and inclusive student community, and has also climbed two places to be ranked second 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’s most improved score across the six indicators is for employer activity, where it’s climbed four places to rank ninth worldwide, highlighting the excellent reputation of Sydney’s 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 harbor, 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

University of SydneyUniversity of New South Wales (UNSW)University of Technology, Sydney (UTS)Macquarie UniversityWestern Sydney University

More about Sydney

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

The University of New South Wales (UNSW) (42nd)



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 December 2015 . It was last updated in May 2020

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