With student loans, a competitive job market, and the prospect of even more all-nighters, the idea of graduate school can be a little intimidating. After all, U.S. graduate programs have a reputation for being costly and time-consuming affairs. But, we have good news! If you have a knack for adventure and like challenging yourself, you can snag that master’s degree abroad!
Going to grad school is not as impossible as it sounds. In fact, it’s one of the best options out there! Nowadays, a master’s degree will set you apart as a competitive candidate when applying for other jobs, or continuing your education. Earning your degree abroad in Europe is a great alternative to U.S. grad programs, as master’s degrees in Europe tend to take less time, cost less money, and guarantee more international adventure! Here’s why graduate school in Europe is the right call for students looking to become more competitive in their field of study – and expand their worldview.
The perks of doing graduate school in Europe
1. Save some green
Holla! A lot of grad programs abroad are fully funded or significantly cheaper than programs in the U.S. The difference in cost between programs in the U.S. and programs in Europe could mean tens of thousands of dollars in savings. In Germany, for example, graduate school is fully funded (a.k.a. FREE).
Even better: many universities in Europe are looking for international students, as the cost for international tuition (although cheaper by U.S. standards) is higher than what their citizens pay. And, of course, universities love to bring in a diverse student body, to ensure a thriving learning culture with different perspectives! Because of this, many universities and European governments offer scholarships specifically for international and American students, to encourage them to consider grad school abroad. You can also check out thousands of other scholarships available in the GoAbroad Scholarship Directory. Savings on savings on savings!
2. Save time
Time is money, money is pizza, pizza is power. After finishing four years of undergraduate work, the idea of going back for round two of late-night paper writing, lectures, tuition payments, and ramen for dinner can be…well, exhausting. The good news is that while master’s programs in the U.S. often take two, three, or sometimes even four years to complete, master’s programs in Europe usually only take one year, maybe two if you’re feelin’ really crazy!
That doesn’t mean these programs are any less rigorous! Completing an entire master’s program in one year means that you’ll be consolidating all of that work into a very intense 12 months. Time management and a lot of elbow grease are the keys to getting through that whirlwind year, but at the end of it you’ll have completed an entire master’s degree abroad – worth it!
3. Gain language skills
Yes, of course you could study at a university in the U.K., or on a program that is taught exclusively in English – but where’s the fun in that? (jk – we love you U.K., and all of your scones.)
Completing a master’s degree abroad in Europe is an excellent opportunity to push beyond your comfort zone and attend a university in which classes are taught in a foreign language. Not only will you get a more comprehensive grasp of the subject as it’s taught in a foreign language, you’ll also get to add some sweet language skills to your repertoire! This will make you a more competitive candidate in future employment applications (and you’ll also just earn 10 extra *Cool Points* by becoming a more talented and well-rounded person).
Even if you choose to take courses in English, learning the native language of your host country is always a good idea. You’ll be better able to immerse yourself in the local culture, navigate your new home, and make friends with your fellow students by learning the lingo!
4. Improve your resume
Your resume will never look better. Graduate school is an excellent way to further your education, expand your skillset, and prepare you for whatever future career you’d like to pursue. Graduate school abroad? Even better.
Attending graduate school in Europe adds serious street cred to your resume. It shows your future employers that you are bold and willing to tackle challenges. Having completed your education abroad will also show potential employers that you are capable of handling yourself in a diverse environment, and can work well with people from various backgrounds. All of which are wonderful qualities to have in the workplace!
5. Increased opportunity for adventure
One of the best parts pursuing your master’s degree abroad is all the learning you can do outside of the classroom. And no, we’re not talking extra-credit projects. Living in another country offers you the incredible opportunity to immerse yourself in a new culture, and open your mind to new ways of living and thinking. You might experience a bit of culture shock, but that’s all part of the journey!
In the end, earning a degree abroad will bring you in direct with a world that is completely different from the one you are comfortable with at home. It might sometimes make you uncomfortable, you might occasionally struggle to adjust, but in the end, you will have an expanded worldview, and a deeper appreciation for the world we live in.
Grad schools in Europe you should [already] be applying to
Alright – are you totally convinced? Already packing your bags? Here are a few recommended programs at grad schools in Europe to get you started, but remember – the options are endless!
Technical/Engineering Graduate Programs in Europe
Germany’s universities and economy are well known for their cutting-edge technology and engineering fields. For those looking to get into the world of tech, get a master’s degree from the , or any other German universities, really.
- Pros: German universities have fully-funded graduate programs for in-country and international students, which means that if you’re a competitive candidate, you can receive your Master’s degree for free. Many graduate programs in Germany also offer courses entirely in English, making it an easy transition if you aren’t completely up-to-date on your German vocabulary flashcards. Universities also make a concerted effort to integrate industry and education, exposing you to a great deal of hands-on experience right off the bat.
- Cons: Due to the high-caliber of German education, program admissions are extremely competitive. Come prepared with your best grades and expect to put your best foot forward if you want a good chance of being accepted.
- Related: Check out all master’s programs in Germany here.
Business and Economics Graduate Programs in Europe
As the world’s largest financial center and one of the leading cities in commerce, tourism, arts, entertainment, and media, London is the place to be if you are interested in studying business or economics. Other large cities in the United Kingdom such as Edinburgh and Cardiff certainly have competitive programs in these fields, but universities such as the have exceptional reputations.
- Pros: Living in such a thriving European capital that is one of the strongest political and financial forces in the region will give you a unique perspective into the world of business and economics. U.K. universities are some of the highest-ranked in the world, and the fact that all classes will be taught in English makes learning easier (although not easy – U.K. schools are also known for their challenging coursework).
- Cons: Although there are many scholarships out there for international students, provided by both U.K. universities and the government itself, U.K. programs are not fully funded. Tuition is still cheaper than in the U.S., however the cost of living in large, metropolitan cities such as London can be extremely high, and you should take that into account when making a budget for your master’s degree abroad.
- Related: Look into all programs in the United Kingdom by clicking here.
Arts and Humanities Graduate Programs in Europe
Some of the world’s most influential art and writing have come from centuries of thriving cultures in Europe. For those students looking for incredible graduate programs that will allow them to continue their education in their chosen arts and humanities subjects, Europe is the place for you. Just imagine studying art history in Florence, culinary arts in Barcelona, or history in Amsterdam!
- Pros: You won’t just be studying your favorite subject – you’ll be living it. With an emphasis on daily celebration of culture, surrounded by historic buildings and art, you’ll be completely immersed in the subjects you’re studying just when walking down the street. This also means that you’ll have an incredible wealth of primary sources when writing that thesis!
- Cons: Depending on what field you are hoping to enter, some U.S. employers and academic institutions have very specific prerequisite requirements for their applicants/students’ education levels. Make sure that the degree you’ve chosen to pursue abroad will be recognized when you come back home!
- Related: Browse all arts and humanities graduate programs in western Europe right here.
[Save & compare grad schools in Europe with MyGoAbroad]
More tips for finding grad schools in Europe
Truthfully, finding the right program and applying to graduate school in Europe is a big undertaking. It’s going to take a lot of planning, organization, late night essay-writing, and coffee. Lot’s and lot’s of coffee.
These resources can’t replace good ol’ caffeine, but they can help you find the right program, get organized, and be on track to start applying to graduate school abroad.
- Make a MyGoAbroad account to save and compare your favorite international universities
- Still not sure if you should get your degree abroad or at home?
- Check out the 9 Best International Universities for American Students
- Rock the application process with these: 10 “HOLY SMOKES I’m Applying to Graduate School Abroad” Tips
- Get a jump on that scholarship application grind
- Figure out if you can work while earning your degree abroad
If you’re still a little overwhelmed by the idea of applying to graduate school in Europe, consider reaching out to your alma mater’s alumni relations, career services, or study abroad offices! Many universities will assist you even after you’ve graduated to help you get where you need to go. It’s also always a good idea to reach out to professors, or other students who have earned their degree abroad, to get their advice and support.
Ready for graduate school in Europe?
Unless you have an aversion to incredible food, beautiful vistas, enthralling cultures, and an affordable and valuable education, there is literally no reason for you not to earn your master’s degree abroad. Not only will you be furthering your education in the classroom, you’ll be learning, growing, and expanding your worldview in your daily life abroad as well. This will make you a qualified and competitive candidate for whatever career path you choose! So what are you waiting for?