Top 10 Most Expensive Universities in the World

Man holding a mortar board in focus on a autumn day in Oxford

University tuition fees in England are now officially the highest in the world, where the average annual cost is £8,909, followed by the United States at $9,410 (£7,268) per year. In countries like Austria, Belgium, Germany and Italy, universities cost less than £1,000, and in France just £335 – almost 27 times less than tuition fees in England!

But while investing a great deal of money in a degree doesn’t necessarily guarantee a first-class education, it does certainly help – especially if you’re looking to get into a top university where annual tuition fees tend to be a little pricier but can be a great starting point for your career.

Let’s take a look at the price tags of the 10 most expensive universities in the world in 2017!

10. Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Undergraduate: S$17,450 – S$72,100 (£9,953 – £41,125)
Postgraduate: S$16,700 (£9,525)

Consistently ranked among the top best universities in the world in all the major college and university rankings, NTU was established in 1991 after the Nanyang Technology Institute merged with the National Institute of Education.

In the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject, NTU had 19 subjects in the world top 50, including Chemistry, Accounting & Finance, Business & Management Studies and Chemical Engineering. It also ranked first in Electrical & Electronic Engineering and Materials Science.

9. University of Oxford, UK

Undergraduate: £23,105 – £30,540
Postgraduate: £9,391 – £22,356

One-half of ‘Oxbridge’, the University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English-speaking world, dating as far back as 1096. Since then, 27 British Prime Ministers, 1 US President, a minimum of 30 world leaders, as well as 52 Nobel Prize laureates and 167 Olympic medallists have all walked the halls of Oxford – it, therefore, comes as no surprise that it is consistently ranked among the top universities in the UK (and the world).

8. UCL (University College London), UK

Undergraduate: £17,710 – £23,710
Postgraduate: £20,540 – £24,610

Established in 1826 as London University, UCL was the first university institution to be established in London, as well as the first in England to be entirely secular. It’s the third oldest uni in England and the third largest in the UK by total enrolment (behind Open University in England and the University of Manchester).

UCL alumni include Mahatma Gandhi (leader of Indian independence movement), Alexander Graham Bell (inventor of the telephone), Francis Crick (co-discoverer of the structure of DNA) and Chris Martin (singer and frontman of Coldplay).

7. Imperial College London, UK

Undergraduate: £27,750
Postgraduate: £28,200 – £29,000

Founded by Prince Albert, Imperial College London was granted Royal Charter in 1907. The university is organised into the faculties of business, engineering, medicine and science, emphasising on emerging technology and its practical application. Its medical school was ranked the third best in the world in the 2015 Times Higher Education University Rankings, which receives about 2,000 applications each year but only accepts some 20%.

Staff and alumni include 15 Nobel Prize winners (including Sir Alexander Fleming and HG Wells), 2 Fields Medalists, 82 Fellows of the Royal Academy of Engineering and 78 Fellows of the Academy of Medical Sciences.

6. University of Cambridge, UK

Undergraduate: £19,197 – £29,217
Postgraduate: £21,600 – £29,769

The second half of ‘Oxbridge’, Cambridge is the second oldest university in the world, behind Oxford with which it shares many common features. It was founded way back in 1209 and gained a royal charter by King Henry III in 1231.

It’s one of the most difficult universities to get into, with only 33.8% of 16,795 applicants being admitted. But if you do manage to get in – and graduate from – Cambridge, you’ll join the likes of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking (who also attended Oxford), naturalist Charles Darwin, 15 British Prime Ministers (including Robert Walpole) and 9 monarchs (including Charles, Prince of Wales and Queen Margrethe II of Denmark).



5. Harvard University, USA

Undergraduate: $44,990 (£34,757)
Postgraduate: $11,258 – $43,296 (£8,697 – £33,449)

Harvard is perhaps one of the most famous and prestigious universities in the States – and it’s not just because it was a background setting for Legally Blonde. Established way back in 1636, it is the country’s oldest institution of higher learning. The university is organised into 11 separate academic units, including Harvard Business School, Harvard Medical School and Harvard School of Dental Medicine, which is viewed as one of the best dental schools in the world.

Harvard’s alumni include 8 US presidents (including Barack Obama and Theodore Roosevelt), 62 living billionaires (including Mark Zuckerberg, who later dropped out to focus on Facebook), as well as 359 Rhodes Scholars and 242 Marshall Scholars.

4. University of Chicago, USA

Undergraduate: $53,292 (£41,172)
Postgraduate: $47,802 (£36,931)

Established in 1890, the University of Chicago consistently holds top 10 positions in numerous national and international rankings. It is comprised of the College, various graduate programmes and interdisciplinary committees organised into five academic research divisions, and seven professional schools.

A total of 91 Nobel Prize laureates have attended the University, the fourth most of any institution anywhere in the world. Fictional alumni include archaeologist Indiana Jones and long-time X-Men member Kitty Pryde.

3. California Institute of Technology (Caltech), USA

Undergraduate: $48,111 (£37,169) + $1,797 (£1,388) mandatory fees
Postgraduate: $48,111 (£37,169) + $1,605 (£1,239) mandatory fees

Founded as a preparatory and vocational school by Amos G Throop in 1891, Caltech assumed its present name in 1921. Caltech is frequently cited as one of the world’s best universities and is one of the few universities in the States primarily dedicated to the instruction of technical arts and applied sciences.

Beyond its reputation for being a leading university in the fields of science, engineering and education, Caltech is also known for its tradition of practical jokes and pranks. Two of the most famous pranks are the changing of the Hollywood sign to read ‘CALTECH’ in 1987 and the changing of the scoreboard during the 1984 Rose Bowl Game to read ‘Caltech 38, MIT 9’.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA

Undergraduate and Postgraduate: $49,580 (£38,303)

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was founded in 1861 in response to the industrialisation of the USA and is traditionally known for its research and education in the physical sciences and engineering. More recently, it has emerged as a leading university in biology, economics, linguistics and management.

Its alumni, which includes 85 Nobel Prize laureates, 45 Rhodes Scholars and 34 astronauts, have founded companies whose aggregated revenue equals that of the eleventh largest economy in the world.

1. Stanford University, USA

Undergraduate: $15,777 – $48,987 (£12,188 – £37,847)
Postgraduate: $48,987 – $52,188 (£37,847 – £40,320)

Founded in 1885, Stanford University (officially: Leland Stanford Junior University, in memory of founders Leland and Jane Stanford’s only son) is the most expensive university in the world. Due to its close proximity to Silicon Valley, it is also regarded as one of the most prestigious.

It accepted its first students in 1891 as a coeducational and nondenominational school and has since produced 30 living billionaires, 17 astronauts and 20 Turing Award laureates.


Are you considering a first-class (and expensive) education at any of these pricey universities? Join the conversation down below and let us know!

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for ways to make some money while at uni, check out these 10 highest-paying jobs for some inspiration! Also, don’t forget to read our student finance tips!


This list was adapted from data compiled and published by University rankings website Top Universities. Universities are ranked according to annual tuition fees for international students for 2017/2018. Currency conversions are based on rates supplied by on 29 August 2017.


This article was originally published in April 2015.