What’s the best place to study? Higher education data experts QS have compiled a league table based on factors including affordability, desirability, academic standards and job prospects

10. Seoul, South Korea Those who haven’t heard of Seoul will at least know of the wealthy Gangnam district that it houses. The K-pop hit “Gangnam Style” was the first YouTube video to rack up a billion views. Seoul makes it into the top 10 because of its range of strong universities and high “employer activity” score, but students may also be interested to know that McDonald’s in Seoul runs a 24-hour delivery service.

  1. Seoul, South Korea

Those who haven’t heard of Seoul will at least know of the wealthy Gangnam district that it houses. The K-pop hit “Gangnam Style” was the first YouTube video to rack up a billion views. Seoul makes it into the top 10 because of its range of strong universities and high “employer activity” score, but students may also be interested to know that McDonald’s in Seoul runs a 24-hour delivery service.
Photograph: Petri Artturi Asikainen/Getty Images

9. Toronto, Canada Canadians hold more degrees than anyone else, and Toronto is where they are going to get them; it’s home to the University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson University Toronto rises four places on last year’s ranking to enter the top 10, largely due to a high score for “desirability” and its diverse mix of students.
9. Toronto, Canada

Canadians hold more degrees than anyone else, and Toronto is where they are going to get them; it’s home to the University of Toronto, York University and Ryerson University Toronto rises four places on last year’s ranking to enter the top 10, largely due to a high score for “desirability” and its diverse mix of students.
Photograph: Agnieszka Gaul/Getty Images

8. Montreal, Canada Montreal is sometimes said to be two cities in one, due to the 19 miles of underground tunnels beneath it. They house all kinds of student fare, such as cinemas, bars and shopping malls.  Montreal has the second highest score for student mix and moves up from 9th position last year.
8. Montreal, Canada

Montreal is sometimes said to be two cities in one, due to the 19 miles of underground tunnels beneath it. They house all kinds of student fare, such as cinemas, bars and shopping malls. Montreal has the second highest score for student mix and moves up from 9th position last year.
Photograph: Getty Images

7. Tokyo, Japan Tokyo is the most populous area in the world, with over 13 million inhabitants.  Despite a very low score for student mix, its “desirability” and “employer activity” see Tokyo surge up from 17th in last year’s table.
7. Tokyo, Japan

Tokyo is the most populous area in the world, with over 13 million inhabitants. Despite a very low score for student mix, its “desirability” and “employer activity” see Tokyo surge up from 17th in last year’s table.
Photograph: Tom Bonaventure/Getty Images

6. Boston, US “I have just returned from Boston. It is the only sane thing to do if you find yourself up there,” wrote Fred Allen in a letter to Groucho Marx. But that was back in 1953 – they have a Starbucks there now.  Boston gets the full 100 points for “employer activity” and benefits from proximity to top universities such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

  1. Boston, US

“I have just returned from Boston. It is the only sane thing to do if you find yourself up there,” wrote Fred Allen in a letter to Groucho Marx. But that was back in 1953 – they have a Starbucks there now. Boston gets the full 100 points for “employer activity” and benefits from proximity to top universities such as Harvard and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Getty Images
Photograph: Getty Images

5. Hong Kong Hong Kong is home to more skyscrapers than any other city, boasts 24 country parks and even has its own Disneyland. No wonder it scores so well for student desirability. Hong Kong also gets the highest score for affordability of any of the top 10 cities, and QS has consistently ranked Hong Kong University in the top three higher education institutions in Asia.
5. Hong Kong

Hong Kong is home to more skyscrapers than any other city, boasts 24 country parks and even has its own Disneyland. No wonder it scores so well for student desirability. Hong Kong also gets the highest score for affordability of any of the top 10 cities, and QS has consistently ranked Hong Kong University in the top three higher education institutions in Asia.
Photograph: Andi Andreas/Getty Images/Flickr Select

4. Sydney, Australia If Paris is the city of lights, Sydney is the city of fireworks,” said Baz Luhrmann. That probably isn’t true – you can’t buy fireworks in Sydney without a license. But you can still trust him on the sunscreen. Sydney doesn’t fair well on affordability, but its strong showing on the “desirability” and “employer activity” metrics propel it to fourth in the list.
4. Sydney, Australia

If Paris is the city of lights, Sydney is the city of fireworks,” said Baz Luhrmann. That probably isn’t true – you can’t buy fireworks in Sydney without a license. But you can still trust him on the sunscreen. Sydney doesn’t fair well on affordability, but its strong showing on the “desirability” and “employer activity” metrics propel it to fourth in the list.
Photograph: Image Source/Getty Images/Image Source

3. London, England “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” said Samuel Johnson. When a student is tired of London, they might finally get started on their dissertation. London scores very well for its mix of students, “employer activity” and range of strong universities, but falls from last year’s number two position because of its high cost of living.
3. London, England

“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” said Samuel Johnson. When a student is tired of London, they might finally get started on their dissertation. London scores very well for its mix of students, “employer activity” and range of strong universities, but falls from last year’s number two position because of its high cost of living.
Photograph: Jason Hawkes/Getty Images

2. Melbourne, Australia Up from fifth in last year’s table, Melbourne is perhaps an unlikely runner-up.  Its success is down to scoring full marks for its mix of students and a strong showing across the range of metrics – giving Australia two of the top five cities in the list. Melbourne prides itself on inclusivity, and claims to have started the first gay and lesbian radio station in the world.

  1. Melbourne, Australia

Up from fifth in last year’s table, Melbourne is perhaps an unlikely runner-up. Its success is down to scoring full marks for its mix of students and a strong showing across the range of metrics – giving Australia two of the top five cities in the list. Melbourne prides itself on inclusivity, and claims to have started the first gay and lesbian radio station in the world.
Photograph: Alamy

1. Paris, France “To study in Paris is to be born in Paris.” Victor Hugo, Les Misérables.  Paris retains the top spot this year because of its strong choice of universities and a good showing across the metrics.  Vive la différence!
1. Paris, France “To study in Paris is to be born in Paris.” Victor Hugo, Les Misérables. Paris retains the top spot this year because of its strong choice of universities and a good showing across the metrics. Vive la différence!

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