QS Staff Writer

Updated October 20, 2023 Updated October 20

QS Best Student Cities ranking: 24th

The UK’s third-best student city after London and Edinburgh, Manchester ranks 24th in the QS Best Student Cities 2018. This strong position is due largely to the world-class universities in Manchester, as well as a fun-packed student culture that gives London a run for its money.

Located in the north-west of England, Manchester is especially well known for its music scene, which has produced big-name bands such as The Smiths, Joy Division and Oasis. Today its numerous venues continue to be a central part of the UK music circuit, welcoming globally successfully acts and nurturing new talent. More generally, arts, culture and excellent nightlife are all very much in good supply, as are opportunities to explore the rich history of this part of the UK. Manchester played a central role in the industrial revolution – and this can be seen today in the imposing old textile factories and warehouses still dotted around the city.

Three universities in Manchester feature in the QS World University Rankings® 2018, the most notable of which is the University of Manchester, which stands at 34th in the world.

Manchester’s lively student scene earned it a score in the top 25 in student view, reflecting the great student experience on offer. One respondent to our student survey commented: “It's a big enough city with plenty to see and do, but small and inclusive enough that there is still a sense of community among everyone. It's very multicultural and welcomes anyone and everyone.” Another summed up: “The city is wonderful, I don't want to leave. Plus the people are so friendly and the nightlife is amazing: best city I’ve been to.”

Are you studying in Manchester? Rate your experience.

Internationally ranked universities in Manchester


More about Manchester

Number of universities ranked by QS


Highest-ranked institution

University of Manchester (34th)



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 2015 . It was last updated in October 2023

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