✨ Top 8 Student Cities in the UK ✨

icon-time 28 August 2018
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The Best Student Cities index assesses many indicators, including ‘student mix’, ‘rankings’ and ‘employer activity’, which UK universities perform particularly well in. As you might expect, UK cities’ weakest spot is affordability, with the UK known as an expensive place to study abroad.

Below are the eight best student cities in the UK according to the QS Best Student Cities index.


1. London, England (Ranked 1st worldwide)

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The UK capital is ranked as the best student city in the world this year and achieves the strongest score in the index for the ‘university rankings’ category, with an impressive 19 London-based universities currently ranking among the top 800 in the QS World University Rankings®. London does falter when it comes to affordability, but nonetheless remains a highly attractive proposition.

Discover the top 10 universities in London >

2. Edinburgh, Scotland (Ranked 18th worldwide)

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For the next of our best UK cities for students, the Scottish capital, Edinburgh, is ranked 18th in the Best Student Cities index this year. Known for its striking castle, historic old town and massive annual events such as the Edinburgh International Festival and New Year’s Hogmanay street party, the city is also home to several of the best universities in the UK.

One drawback is that average fees for international students at Edinburgh’s leading universities are slightly higher compared to the other UK cities listed here.

3. Manchester, England (Ranked 23rd worldwide)

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Ranked 23rd in the Best Student Cities index, Manchester offers world-class universities and a fun-packed student culture that gives even London a run for its money. Located in the North West of England, Manchester is especially well known for its music scene.

4. Glasgow, Scotland (Ranked 34th worldwide)

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Scotland’s largest and most populous city, Glasgow is ranked 34th worldwide and is home to two universities in the top 250 of the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16: the University of Glasgow, and the University of Strathclyde.

5. Coventry, England (Ranked 39th worldwide)

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Although it’s a slightly less well-known option in our list of the best UK cities for students, Coventry should not be underestimated. Ranking at 39th in the Best Student Cities index, this West Midlands city is propelled to this position largely due to the close proximity of the University of Warwick. Meanwhile the city center is home to the highly reputed Coventry University

6. Nottingham, England (Ranked 43rd worldwide)

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Next in our list of the best UK cities for students is Nottingham – famous for its connection to the Robin Hood legend. Nottingham is affectionately referred to as the ‘Queen of the Midlands’. Not only does the city have a large international student population; its highest ranked university, the University of Nottingham, has branch campuses in Malaysia and China, and has been praised for its international approach to higher education.

7. Birmimgham, England (Ranked 51st worldwide)

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Birmingham is located in the heart of England and home to 3.7 million people. It’s the UK’s largest center of higher education outside London, with five universities, two of which rank among the top 350 universities in the QS World University Rankings®. As you’d expect from a city of Birmingham’s size, there is plenty of culture and nightlife to be enjoyed.


8. Newcastle, England (Ranked 56th worldwide)

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The UK’s final representative in the Best Student Cities index is hot on the heels of Birmingham in 56th place, and is the largest city in North-East England. It’s diverse, vibrant and welcoming. Newcastle is reknowned for it’s manufacturing and engineering, with award-winning structures such as the Gateshead Millennium Bridge.