Montréal takes top ranking as best city in the world for students

published on February 21, 2017
What's New in Montréal

You’ve probably noticed what an important year it is for Montréal, and we’ve been apologizing profusely to our neighbours for making so much noise about it. There’s been some big numbers to celebrate: 375 years as a city, coupled with Canada’s 150th anniversary as a nation. But there’s another number worth getting excited over, and it’s a rather small one. It’s the number 1 – Montréal’s ranking as the world’s best city for students.


Each year, Quacquarelli Symonds ranks the world’s top universities and cities in which to study, and this year Montréal leaps up from ranking in 7th place in 2016 to taking the top spot crown from Paris. It would be typically Canadian to extend our celebratory sorry to France’s beloved capital, but we’ve worked long and hard on this one so it’s time for a proud study break.


Home to four major university institutions, namely McGill (presently ranked in 30th place on QS’ world ranking of universities), Université de Montréal (ranked 126th), Concordia and the Université du Québec à Montréal, a vibrant student scene has always been a definitive part of the city. And we don’t tuck them away on some far-off campus. Montréal’s city centre is one filled with our universities’ halls of learning and libraries, students a visible part of the social fabric.


Let’s break it down piece by piece. QS’ six-tiered ranking system gave Montréal stellar marks throughout, particularly when it comes to the city’s international mix of population and lifestyle. The city gains bonus marks due to our multilingual nature, with internationally respected degrees available in both English and French.

Student Mix: Ranked 4th place internationally and 1st in North America, Montréal is home to over 32,000 higher education students from more than 250 countries around the world. The Chambre de commerce du Montréal métropolitain counted over 155,000 students in the greater Montréal area in 2016, with foreign students accounting for nearly 30%.


Desirability: Montréal takes 9th place as the world’s most desirable city in which to live, a category considering safety, cost, cleanliness and standard of living.


Employer Activity: Taking into account student transition into post-graduation employment, Montréal ranks 16th. Don’t go! Stay awhile!


Affordability: Based on affordable tuition and living costs, Montréal takes the top spot in North America, and 39th worldwide.


Student View: Based on the city’s welcoming nature (we are just two months into a year-long party to which everyone’s been invited), exciting cultural scene, diverse population and affordability, Montréal grabs 5th place.

And all that adds up to yet another reason to celebrate in 2017 – even if it’s a school night.