QS Staff Writer

Updated July 29, 2021 Updated July 29

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 8th

Maintaining its position in eighth place this year in the QS Best Student Cities ranking, Zurich is renowned for its prosperity, orderliness and low taxes, which may make it sound more like a place for millionaires than international students. However, look a little closer and you’ll see it certainly deserves its place among the world’s top student cities.

Currently ranked sixth in the world, after rising four places in the table,  ETH Zurich is the highest-ranked university in continental Europe – and the best performing university from outside the US and UK. The University of Zurich is also ranked within the top 100 in the QS World University Rankings® 2020 in 76th place.

An international hub, Zurich is the largest city in Switzerland and among the wealthiest in Europe – which brings both pros and cons for international students. On the one hand, its affluence means Zurich is clean, safe and immaculately maintained, frequently ranking among the world’s most liveable cities. But on the other hand, living expenses can be eye-wateringly high.

That said, while rent and socializing may cost a packet, international tuition fees in Switzerland are relatively low, so the overall costs of studying in Zurich are likely to be considerably lower compared to cities in the UK, US or Australia, for example.

And it’s certainly tough to beat Zurich when it comes to scenery. Situated on the banks of picturesque Lake Zurich and with the stunning Swiss Alps within day-trip reach, this city would suit those who want to combine the attractions of city life with close proximity to some of Europe’s most beautiful natural landscapes.

Zurich enjoys an improved score in the desirability indicator this year, beaten by only three other cities. Zurich certainly gained plenty of acclaim in our student survey, with one student pointing out its “natural beauty and high standard of living” while another praised its “perfect combination of city life and nature”.

Would Zurich get your vote? Tell us why.

Internationally ranked universities in Zurich

ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) ; University of Zurich (UZH)

More about Zurich

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

ETH Zurich (6th 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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