Best Countries for Grad School Abroad

Going to grad school abroad is a monumental step that can affect your future personal and career path. Choosing this colossal leap to attend grad school in a new, foreign country may seem overwhelming, but the perks of doing so will undoubtedly outweigh any downsides.

Pursuing and completing a grad school program from abroad, especially from a reputable institution, holds extreme value when combined with international work experience. Furthermore, you will experience vibrant cultures, build a global network, and learn or build your language skills.

Regardless of the reason, grad school is among the few instances when you have total control of choosing your preferred institution and going for a graduate degree abroad should be on top of your bucket list. We have highlighted the best countries for grad school to help you kickstart your education adventure abroad.

Read on to learn more.

1. England (Best for Easy Transition)

Average monthly cost of living: $1,500 (1,300£)

Average master’s degree tuition: $1,850 (1,600£)

If you’re looking for an easy transition for your grad school, England is a well-fitting destination country. England is one of the most popular countries for grad school abroad, and the hassle-free transition is one of the top reasons.

This transition is because English is the language of instruction in most top institutions in England. It makes it an excellent choice for international students who are either proficient in the language or want to enhance their English skills.

Also, England is home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world, including the University of Cambridge and Oxford. These institutions are popular for their research opportunity, academic excellence, and high-quality instruction.

The institutions in the country offer a range of world-class graduate programs across various fields, from business to humanities, science, and engineering. These options make it easy to search and find a program that matches your academic interests and career objectives.

Finally, England has a diverse cultural heritage, long history, and diverse population. Going to grad school in England gives you an easy time to blend in and the opportunity to immerse in the rich British culture and explore historical destinations in the country.

However, should you choose to attend grad school, there are more top-notch and affordable institutions for your needs besides the traditional prestigious universities. Consider securing admission to exceptional programs in Bristol, Manchester, Liverpool, and Leeds.

Top Universities in England

  • University of Oxford
  • University of Cambridge
  • Imperial College London
  • The University of Manchester

Top Courses in England

  • Natural Science: It’s emerging as a top graduate field globally, and the trend remains the same in England. Natural Science is popular among international grad school students in the country, and Oxford and Cambridge are the top universities offering it
  • Law: A law degree from England is highly valued, with international students gaining competitive transferable legal and thinking skills that are appreciated globally. Top universities such as the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, and University College London offer graduate programs in law.

2. Spain (Best for Low-Cost Student Life)

Average monthly cost of living: $1,200 (1,200€)

Average master’s degree tuition in public university: $3,000 (3,500€)

Considering our language convenience criteria for England, Spain may seem like a strange addition to the best grad school destinations. The native language in this country is Spanish, and it boasts a relatively distinct cultural scene and academic system. However, Spain still receives many international students yearly, making it a top grad school destination.

The relatively cost-friendly student life makes Spain stand out from the rest of European academic destinations. The county offers some of the lowest grad school tuition fees in Europe. Therefore, you can get high-quality education without breaking the bank.

Also, the cost of living in Spain is relatively affordable than most European countries. Students’ accommodation, commuting, food, and other relevant living expenses are typically less costly than other top study-abroad destinations.   

Spain provides various scholarship and funding opportunities, helping you cover your tuition, living, and other academic expenses. You can explore the Spanish government scholarships, financial aid, university-specific scholarships, and other private funding programs eligible for international students in Spain to cut costs.

Lastly, Spain is well-known for its dynamic culture and lifestyle, which draws students globally. The urge to explore historic cities, experience different lifestyles, and break the language barrier can be the driving force to unlock your graduate education potential.

Top Universities in Spain

  • University of Barcelona
  • University of Navarra
  • Pompeu Fabra University
  • Universität Ramon Llull

Top Courses in Spain

  • Architecture: Spain is renowned for its distinctive architecture and design, with prominent universities providing graduate degrees in Architecture, Urban Planning, and Design, such as the Polytechnic University of Catalonia and the University of Navarra.
  • Masters in Business Administration: MBA is regarded as an excellent program for international students wishing to obtain a graduate degree in Spain. An MBA is an umbrella course that covers many subjects, including Finance, Management, and Marketing. Spain features some of the top business schools in Europe, including ESADE Business School, IE Business School, and IESE Business School.

3. Germany (Best for Business Degrees)

Average monthly cost of living: $1,500 (1,500€)

Average master’s degree tuition: $1,500 (1,500€)

Germany is a great European destination for international students looking for a wide range of grad school courses offered in English. It is especially ideal if you want to expand your academic horizons in the international business and field.

The European powerhouse boasts a long-standing reputation for providing world-class education. The institutions in the country are internationally recognized for their rigorous graduate programs and emphasis on innovation and research. Many German institutions have outstanding business schools offering industry-leading undergraduate and graduate degrees.

Moreover, Germany is Europe’s largest economy and hosts some of the world’s biggest companies, including BMW, Deutsche Bank, and Siemens. This economic dynamic gives graduates of business programs considerable job prospects in the country or other global markets.

Besides, German Universities often have strong connections, which can provide students with internships, networking, and work experience opportunities. 

However, the country isn’t limited to business courses – you and professors can explore other fields in Germany. Be sure to check out the countless scholarship opportunities in Germany via DAAD.

Top Universities in Germany

  • Technical University of Munich
  • Heidelberg University
  • University of Freiburg
  • RWTH Aachen University

Top Courses in Germany

  • Masters in Business Administration: Business Management is among German institutions’ biggest grad school fields – only second to engineering, which is the country’s trademark. Some top universities offering this course include the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management, WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management, and the Mannheim Business School.
  • Engineering: Germany is well-known for its outstanding engineering programs, with a stunning population of over 140,000 international students.  Most top universities in the country, like the Technical University of Munich and RWTH Aachen University, provide graduate degrees in Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Automotive Engineering, and Electrical Engineering. 

4. Italy (Best for Art and Design Degree)

Average monthly cost of living: $1,300 (1,300€)

Average master’s degree tuition: $4,000 (4,000€)

Italy is one of the best destinations for international graduate students pursuing arts and design. Italy has a long history of art and design, and it is home to several prestigious universities and institutions that provide world-class graduate programs in these disciplines.

The country is home to some of the world’s best art and design schools, including the Academy of Fine Arts of Florence, Politecnico di Milano, and the Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia. These institutions offer graduate courses in the arts and design fields, from Fashion Design to Industrial Design, Graphic design, and Visual Arts.

Also, Italy boasts a thriving arts and culture space, with several museums, galleries, and festivals highlighting the country’s diverse artistic legacy. International students in Italian grad school institutions can immerse themselves in the culture, acquiring vital insights and inspiration for their future artistic works.

Italy offers an ideal environment for hassle-free blending for international students. The country has a welcoming and inclusive culture, a top-ranking requirement on every international student’s wish list. You will meet a large international student population, and many institutions provide support services and resources to help you adjust to Italian life.

Finally, Italy offers more top graduate courses besides Art and Design to explore. There are various prestigious universities in the country offering high-quality education in a range of fields. Most of these institutions offer reputable programs that draw students worldwide.

Top Universities in Italy

  • University of Bologna
  • Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies – Pisa
  • Sapienza University of Rome
  • University of Padua

Top Courses in Italy

  • Masters in Fashion Design: Italy is synonymous with fashion, represented in the country’s most popular grad courses. Most top universities in the country have world-leading design schools, with Fashion Design being a favorite field among international students in the schools. Some of Italy’s top universities for design include Politecnico di Milano and Domus Academy.
  • Architecture: Italy’s architectural heritage has significantly impacted the design and construction of buildings globally. With such a rich history in architecture, many universities in Italy offer graduate programs in the field, notably the Politecnico di Milano and the Sapienza University of Rome.

5. Ireland (Best for Health-Related Program)

Average monthly cost of living: $2,100 (2,100€)

Average master’s degree tuition: $19,000 (19,000€)

One of the primary reasons that international graduate students choose to study in Ireland is because it is an ideal location for anybody seeking a world-class education. Especially in a dynamic, inventive country with excellent professional opportunities.

Ireland hosts multiple world-renowned institutions that provide high-quality education and research expertise in various fields, especially health-related programs. Most Irish universities have cutting-edge healthcare facilities, including state-of-the-art laboratories, clinical training facilities, and simulation centers. Such facilities give you hands-on experience and prepare you for careers in healthcare.

Also, Irish universities often establish collaborations with hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare institutions, which can offer students practical work experience. This experience is precious for those wishing to enter the healthcare workforce.

If you come from an English-speaking country, you won’t have any challenges integrating into the Irish culture and education system. Ireland is an English-speaking country, a great grad school destination for international students who want to study in an English-speaking environment or seek a degree abroad to sharpen their English language skills.

Lastly, Ireland is an excellent choice for international students who want to see breathtaking nature, wonderful seaside and mountain treks, old culture, and architecture. Those who like to spend time indoors will appreciate Ireland’s museums and art galleries, gourmet food, coffee culture, and cozy pubs with traditional live music.

Top Universities in Ireland

  • Trinity College Dublin
  • University of Limerick
  • National University of Ireland, Galway
  • Maynooth University

Top Courses in Ireland

  • Master of Business Administration: Many universities in Ireland offer prestigious MBA programs intended to prepare students for leadership positions in business and management. MBA programs are the most popular among overseas students pursuing master’s courses in Ireland, with Trinity College and Dublin City University being popular destinations.
  • Dentistry: Masters in Dentistry remains a popular choice for international students despite being one of the oldest professions in Ireland. The top universities offering dentistry specializations include Trinity College Dublin and University College Cork.

6. France (Best for Affordable Degree Program)

Average monthly cost of living: $1,500 (1,500€)

Average master’s degree tuition: $300 (300€)

While France is the number one academic destination for international undergraduate students, it attracts significant numbers of international graduate students. The primary drawing factor for grad school courses for international schools is budget-friendliness. The average tuition fee for a master’s program in France is $300, which is stunningly affordable.

The government regulates tuition costs at public universities in France; hence they are often significantly lower than in other European countries. In addition, many international programs here in France provide scholarships and funding to international students, contributing to the cost-effectiveness of going to graduate school in the country.

Furthermore, compared to other European countries, France has a reasonable cost of living, especially regarding transportation and housing. There are also numerous affordable dining options, including local markets and bakeries, and international students can enjoy discounts on cultural events and activities.

Another reason France is the best destination for affordable graduate programs abroad is access to healthcare. International students enjoy the same rights to healthcare coverage as French citizens. Therefore, you can access affordable healthcare services like specialist consultation and hospital treatment.

However, affordable doesn’t mean substandard! France is widely recognized for its elite universities and research institutions, which have a long history of intellectual distinction. Many of its institutions and English-taught graduate courses are ranked among the world’s best.

Top Universities in France

  • PSL Research University Paris
  • University of Paris
  • Sorbonne University
  • Ecole Polytechnique

Top Courses in France

  • Management: The most sought-after graduate programs for international students are management courses. You can choose from various courses at institutions, including Finance, MBA, and other similar courses. France is home to some of the world’s top business and management schools, including HEC Paris, INSEAD, and ESSEC Business School.
  • Engineering: Featuring various top-ranked universities in engineering, such as Ecole Polytechnique and CentraleSupélec, France, holds a stellar reputation in engineering education. Graduate programs in mechanical engineering and electrical engineering are available at these institutions.

7. New Zealand (Best for Nature Lovers)

Average monthly cost of living: $1,650 (NZ$2,850)

Average master’s degree tuition: $21,000 (NZ$36,000)

Prepare to study in one of the world’s most relaxed locations. The New Zealand lifestyle is ideal for international students looking for the ideal combination of academic work and social life. As you dive deep into mother nature, you’ll quickly find time to prioritize yourself in addition to your demanding academics.

Nature lovers will relish attending grad school or study abroad programs in New Zealand for its beautiful sceneries, towering mountains, pristine waters, and charming coastlines. The nation’s varied landscape affords multiple outdoor recreation and exploration opportunities.

Also, New Zealand is famous for its safe and welcoming atmosphere, with a multicultural community and inviting locals. While attending grad school or studying abroad in New Zealand, you can feel at home and appreciate a fascinating and diverse culture.

Top Universities in New Zealand

  • University of Auckland
  • University of Otago
  • University of Canterbury
  • Victoria University of Wellington

Top Courses in New Zealand

  • Computer Science: New Zealand hosts many top-tier computer science programs. The MSc in Computer Science programs at the Universities of Auckland and Canterbury are top-rated among international students.
  • Public Health: The Master in Public Health course in New Zealand emphasizes acquiring the skills and knowledge required to address public health concerns. The University of Auckland and the University of Otago are New Zealand’s best Public Health programs for international students.

Final Thoughts

With our intriguing guide, you’ll be set to explore the best nations for grad school abroad. Other countries provide excellent grad schools besides the seven countries in our selection. Some countries we love but didn’t feature in our compilation include Canada, Australia, and Japan. These destinations can appeal to you for their top-tier education standards. 

Consider multi-country grad school program options, which allow you to study in multiple countries throughout your grad school abroad program. You are only a few steps away from graduation and from expanding your knowledge and realizing your future goals!

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