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Top Three Reasons Students Are Going to Europe for Graduate School

Did you know that there are thousands of graduate school programs in Europe that cost a lot less than US grad Europe for Graduate School school tuition? In 2015, I stumbled on the existence of English-taught full degree programs held at European universities. My kids were teenagers and I had a number of concerns about higher education in the US-from ever increasing cost to opaque admissions process to varying quality- so I decided to explore whether to keep this possibility on our radar. Prior to this, I assumed that an international student would have to know a foreign language to study in Europe. I certainly had no idea that, in non-Anglophone countries in Europe, there are over 700 accredited universities offering almost 8,000 full bachelor’s and master’s degree programs conducted entirely in English—no foreign language skills needed. Everything from the courses to the readings to the assignments are in English, plus English is widely spoken as a second language in many countries.

Budapest, Hungary parliament at night

The cost savings alone made me realize that many other families would also be interested in learning more.  I spent a year researching, visiting schools in Europe, meeting with administrators and talking to American students who were already studying in Europe in order to start Beyond the States.  Until now, we focused on helping families learn about and navigate the European bachelor’s degree options. As I’ve visited schools, I’ve learned about the incredible master’s degree programs and, by popular demand, we have begun to offer resources around these options as well.

Interested in learning why so many Americans are excited about getting their master’s degree in Europe?

1) Lower Cost

According to FinAid.org, the average cost for master’s degree programs in the US ranges from $30,000 – $120,000 which depends on whether a student is paying in-statue tuition, out of state or private tuition. Given that the average student completes their bachelor’s degree with $33,310 of debt, taking on the expense of graduate school can be financially devastating, especially if, as most do, master’s students also carry debt from their bachelor’s degree.

English-taught master’s degree programs in Europe are much more affordable.  Their average tuition for the more than 5,000 English-taught programs is at $9,000 per year.  That average includes the higher priced programs, like MBAs, so it is significant to note that there are over 1,800 options under $3,500 per year and more than 700 that are tuition free-even for international students.

There’s a false perception that the cost of living in Europe is much greater than in the US, and that cost of living, along with increased travel expenses, erase the savings provided by lower tuition. Let’s look at a couple of comparisons around this.  My son, Sam, is in the International Studies bachelor’s program at Leiden University.  Students in this program choose a region and related language and then study politics, economics, international relations, culture and such as it pertains to that area. For the sake of this example, we will look at related master’s degrees in Europe and compare them to the costs of attendance in our state of North Carolina.

UNC Chapel Hill offers a master’s degree in Global Studies.  In state tuition is $10,552 per year while out of state Europe for Graduate School students pay $28,278 in tuition a year. Duke University offers a Political Science master’s degree program for $60,727 per year.  Both of these programs take two years to complete. The cost of living in Durham and Chapel Hill is similar, estimated by the schools to cost about $2,000 per month, so $18,000 for an academic year thus, the total cost of attendance for in state at UNC Chapel Hill is $59,104, out of state is 94,556, and private is $242,908.

Five years ago, those numbers would have seemed normal to me….Now though, they do not. I know that there are other options. Groningen University, in the Netherlands, is one of many universities that offers one year master’s degree programs, and has a Middle Eastern Studies master’s program.  The tuition is $14,241 and cost of living estimates are $14,437. The total cost of attendance is $28,679. Even budgeting for two flights home during the year, it’s still half of what we would pay overall for in state, a third of what we would pay for out of state, and just over a tenth of what we would pay for private US universities.

There are also countries with a much lower cost of living to explore.  Charles University, in Prague, Czech Republic, offers a two year International Relations program for $6,835 per year.  The estimated cost of living for the year is even lower than tuition at $5,481. The entire two year degree, then, is $24,633. Note that both of these schools are highly reputable, globally ranked universities.

Even factoring in the cost of living and 2 flights home per year, we would save anywhere between $28,000-$214,275 using these examples!

2) Employability After Master’s Degree Programs in Europe

I’m often asked if the degree will be “good” here in the US.  First of all, all the programs we list are fully accredited and the degrees are internationally recognized.  Usually, this question pertains to employment though.  Good news on that front!  A recent study by the Institute of International Education found that studying abroad for longer periods of time has a high impact on job offers, as well as job advancement.

The experience of living outside of one’s home country help students gain the soft skills that employers are looking for-and find lacking in US graduates. Students who have studied outside of their home country are immersed in a different culture and cultivate awareness of and appreciation for cultural differences. The emphasis on group work in European schools gives students the opportunity to work with people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. These graduates are often flexible, adaptable, and experienced in navigating unfamiliar circumstances, all of which are the soft skills that lead to success in the workplace.

Multinational companies recognize the skills what these students bring and partner with many of the European universities to recruit students and/or offer opportunities for hands on experience during studies. These companies include Google, BP, JP Morgan, Accenture, Deloitte, Cisco and many more. There are a number of countries that offer English-taught programs as a way to address their labor shortage. Denmark, for instance, focuses their English taught programs on the employment needs of their country so international students have many opportunities for employment after graduating.

3) Life Changing International Experiences

International experiences are in no way confined to living in the country of your university. The English-taught programs in Europe are developed to attract students from around the world. Thus, friendships are made with others from around the world. Cultural differences are recognized, openly discussed, and valued. Though there are differences in background, there are meaningful common experiences and values among international students. They are all experiencing living outside of their home country, which is a significant and life-changing experience. Further, most of these students do have the values associated with global citizenship, which connects them on a very deep level.

In addition to experiencing the world by studying in a different country, students studying in Europe have many other opportunities for international exposure. The EU’s Erasmus+ program, for instance, is an umbrella organization for the many programs that encourage mobility among young people. The student mobility program is one that all degree-seeking students attending European universities can participate in—even international students! In addition to offering opportunities for study and internships in different countries, Erasmus + also funds Erasmus Mundus programs. These really interesting and often integrated programs are developed and implemented by a consortium of higher education institutions in at least two different countries. Students study in at least two countries and receive a joint degree from the universities of the consortium.  There are more than 100 of these programs that are conducted entirely in English. There are options for just about every field of study that you can think of: Agriculture, Arts, Design, Humanities, Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Computer Science and Technology, Business, and more. These programs are relevant to today’s issues and often involve professionals from related companies which helps students understand how to apply the knowledge – not to mention network! Though the tuition for these programs is generally 9,000 Euros per year, students can apply for scholarships which fund everything from tuition to food and housing to travel costs.

Of course, there are abundant travel opportunities that are more exotic than Cancun or Florida. Europe is compact, making it easy to spend the weekends exploring by train or through inexpensive flights. This may include visiting the hometowns of your new friends, or trips organized by the university or international organizations.  I recently met with a group of students who were spending a weekend in Montenegro, organized by their schools international student organization.  The cost for travel, lodging, food, etc. was just 200 Euros!

These options aren’t for everyone.  They are for students who don’t confine themselves to the status quo, who are interested in other cultures, who love to travel, and want to explore the world, who are open-minded, and eager to have new and different academic and life experiences.  For these students, these options would be worth exploring – even if the potential savings were not so dramatic.

Interested in learning about specific schools in Europe?   Click here to receive a free guide I put together about ten great graduate school options in Europe.

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GI Bill: Can It Be Used for College in Europe?

Josh is a former US Marine from Florida who now studies International Relations at the University of Warsaw in Poland.  His first international exposure came during his years of overseas duty. His posting to the Marine Corps Embassy Security Group  really increased his interest in higher education and stoked a desire for continued international experiences.  He also met his now-wife while serving at the US Embassy in Warsaw.  Josh’s studies are financed through the GI Bill which, until recently, I didn’t realize could be used to fund college in Europe (more info here)!

Why Are Veterans So Well Suited for College or Grad School in Europe?

  • They have gained international exposure through their service.
  • They tend to be older and more mature than typical students in the US.
  • Their benefits really are confined to state schools in which they live or have residency, since $23,672 won’t go very far for towards out of state or private school tuition.
  • Their experience in the military has taught the skills needed to deal with bureaucratic processes that are often involved in studying abroad.

What Are the Benefits Under the GI Bill?

Benefits under the Post 9/11 GI bill vary based on the amount of time served after 9/11/01. Those who had active duty for 3 months get 40% of benefits up to those who served for 3 years who get 100% of benefits.

100% of benefits include:

  • Full tuition for in state and up to $23,672 for out of state or private or international (veterans can get in state tuition where they live or have official residence).
  • $1,000 per year for books.
  • $1,650 monthly living allowance

What are the Options in Europe?

GI bill
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There are 735 universities in continental Europe that offer English-taught bachelor’s and/or master’s degree programs.  More than 220 of these schools accept the GI Bill. The only countries that don’t have any schools that accept the GI Bill are Monaco and Slovenia.  All the others countries have options! In fact, more than half of the bachelor’s and master’s degree programs in our database accept the GI Bill!

Of these 4,300+ English taught bachelor’s and master’s degree programs that accept the GI Bill, only 177 have tuition that is greater than the max benefts.  Most of these more expensive programs are either MBA programs, Fine/Performing Arts programs in Sweden, or programs held at American schools with a European campus (surprise…).

Here are just a few examples of universities that offer programs of interests and are fully covered by the GI Bill (assuming the student has 100% benefits) :

 

Tallinn University of Technology, Tallinn, Estonia

What better place to study cyber security than Estonia?

On my first visit there, I was surprised to learn about all their technological advances, their focus on internet connectivity (including free WiFi throughout Tallinn), e-society (CNBC Story), electronic voting, and unique cyber-security programs. This from a country that was under Soviet rule until just 1991! Tal Tech offers both a bachelor’s and master’s degree program in Cyber Security.

The curriculum is designed to provide higher education in the extremely hot field of Cyber Security, integrating software development and IT systems administration. Graduates of this curriculum will be able to independently design, operate and manage secure IT systems. Cyber security personnel are in high demand right now. The unemployment rate in the field is 0% and there are estimates that there will be 3.5 million unfilled positions in 2021.

The university offers a total of 20 English-taught bachelor’s and master’s degree programs, primarily in the fields of business, engineering, technology and computer science. Tuition ranges from 2,300-6,000 euros per year.

 

University of Groningen, Groningen, Netherlands

The city of Groningen has a tremendous amount to offer students. It is the youngest city in the Netherlands, with half of the population under the age of 35. Further 25% of the residents are students. The decentralized campus means that the various university buildings are located throughout the city, which makes the city and university feel very connected-like the town is serving as one big campus. Though it’s a city with a population of more than 200,000, it retains a community feel. Groningen is also a world cycling city and residents say that the city center is busy but quiet, since there are so few cars. Truly an incredible student city!

The University of Groningen is one of the oldest in Europe, founded in 1614. They have a strong international student body, at 20%, representing 120 different countries. I don’t think I could even name 120 countries!

The university offer 34 bachelor’s and 116 master’s program, all 100% English taught. Not only are there programs representing most study disciplines, but most of them are multidisciplinary in nature. For instance, the Internal Law program includes courses in politics science, economics and international relations.  The Life Science and Technology program covers biology, pharmacy, physics, chemistry, and engineering. There is really something for almost everyone here! Tuition ranging from 8,900 to 15,500 EUR per year, all well under the GI Bill spending limit.

 

University of Bocconi, Milan, Italy

gi billBocconi just about has it all-triple crown accreditation,  a centralized campus in the incredible city of Milan, a truly international approach to education-and, of course, Italian food! They ensure that class size is conducive to interactions and the classroom layout is intentionally designed to create an interactive environment.

Many schools SAY say that emphasize internationalism, but Bocconi really backs it up. Every professor that has been hired over the last 15 years has had international experiences themselves-they are either non-Italian or an Italian who received their Ph.D in another country.  Bocconi sees the value of providing international exposure throughout the study period. Bachelor’s students are required to learn two additional languages during their studies and students are strongly encouraged to study abroad (in some cases it is mandatory).

Given that this is a business school, almost all of the programs are related to economics and management.  That said, in addition to pure business programs like Finance and International Management, there are also programs that integrate business with other areas of study.  Examples include:

  • Economics and Management for Arts, Culture, and Communication
  • Green Management, Energy and Corporate Social Responsibility
  • Economics and Data Science
  • Data Science and Business Analysis
  • Economics and Management of Government and International Organizations

Bocconi offers 27 English-taught bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. All except for 8 of the programs are less than the tuition covered by the GI Bill.

How Can Beyond the States Help?

Beyond the States provides information, resources, and a community of like-minded people to help students explore, apply to, and prepare for higher education in Europe.

Interested in Learning More??

If you’re looking for a bachelor’s degree, click here to get our Five Programs Guide.

If you’re more interested in a Master’s degree, click here to get the Ultimate Guide to Grad School.

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Three Reasons Students Are Going To Europe For Graduate School

master’s degree programsIn 2015, I stumbled on the existence of English-taught full degree programs held at European universities. My kids were teenagers and I had a number of concerns about higher education in the US-from ever increasing cost to opaque admissions process to varying quality- so I decided to explore whether to keep this possibility on our radar. Prior to this, I assumed that an international student would have to know a foreign language to study in Europe. I certainly had no idea that, in non-Anglophone countries in Europe, there are over 700 accredited universities offering almost 8,000 full bachelor’s and master’s degree programs conducted entirely in English—no foreign language skills needed. Everything from the courses to the readings to the assignments are in English, plus English is widely spoken as a second language in many countries.

The cost savings alone made master’s degree programsme realize that many other families would also be interested in learning more.  I spent a year researching, visiting schools in Europe, meeting with administrators and talking to American students who were already studying in Europe in order to start Beyond the States.  Until now, we focused on helping families learn about and navigate the European bachelor’s degree options. As I’ve visited schools, I’ve learned about the incredible master’s degree programs and, by popular demand, we have begun to offer resources around these options as well.

Interested in learning why so many Americans are excited about getting their master’s degree in Europe?

1) Lower Cost of Master’s Degree Programs

According to FinAid.org, the average cost for master’s degree programs in the US ranges from $30,000 – $120,000 which depends on whether a student is paying in-statue tuition, out of state or private tuition. Given that the average student completes their bachelor’s degree with $33,310 of debt, taking on the expense of graduate school can be financially devastating, especially if, as most do, master’s students also carry debt from their bachelor’s degree.

English-taught master’s degree programs in Europe are much more affordable.  Their average tuition for the more than 5,000 English-taught programs is at $9,000 per year.  That average includes the higher priced programs, like MBAs, so it is significant to note that there are over 1,800 options under $3,500 per year and more than 700 that are tuition free-even for international students.

There’s a false perception that the cost of living in Europe is much greater than in the US, and that cost of living, along with increased travel expenses, erase the savings provided by lower tuition. Let’s look at a couple of comparisons around this.  My son, Sam, is in the International Studies bachelor’s program at Leiden University.  Students in this program choose a region and related language and then study politics, economics, international relations, culture and such as it pertains to that area. For the sake of this example, we will look at related master’s degrees in Europe and compare them to the costs of attendance in our state of North Carolina.

UNC Chapel Hill offers a master’s degree in Global Studies.  In state tuition is $10,552 per year while out of state master’s degree programsstudents pay $28,278 in tuition a year. Duke University offers a Political Science master’s degree program for $60,727 per year.  Both of these programs take two years to complete. The cost of living in Durham and Chapel Hill is similar, estimated by the schools to cost about $2,000 per month, so $18,000 for an academic year thus, the total cost of attendance for in state at UNC Chapel Hill is $59,104, out of state is 94,556, and private is $242,908.

Five years ago, those numbers would have seemed normal to me….Now though, they do not. I know that there are other options. Groningen University, in the Netherlands, is one of many universities that offers one year master’s degree programs, and has a Middle Eastern Studies master’s program.  The tuition is $14,241 and cost of living estimates are $14,437. The total cost of attendance is $28,679. Even budgeting for two flights home during the year, it’s still half of what we would pay overall for in state, a third of what we would pay for out of state, and just over a tenth of what we would pay for private US universities.

There are also countries with a much lower cost of living to explore.  Charles University, in Prague, Czech Republic, offers a two year International Relations program for $6,835 per year.  The estimated cost of living for the year is even lower than tuition at $5,481. The entire two year degree, then, is $24,633. Note that both of these schools are highly reputable, globally ranked universities.

Even factoring in the cost of living and 2 flights home per year, we would save anywhere between $28,000-$214,275 using these examples!

2) Employability After Master’s Degree Programs

I’m often asked if the degree will be “good” here in the US.  First of all, all the programs we list are fully accredited and the degrees are internationally recognized.  Usually, this question pertains to employment though.  Good news on that front!  A recent study by the Institute of International Education found that studying abroad for longer periods of time has a high impact on job offers, as well as job advancement.

The experience of living outside of one’s home country help students gain the soft skills that employers are looking for-and find lacking in US graduates. Students who have studied outside of their home country are immersed in a different culture and cultivate awareness of and appreciation for cultural differences. The emphasis on group work in European schools gives students the opportunity to work with people from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives. These graduates are often flexible, adaptable, and experienced in navigating unfamiliar circumstances, all of which are the soft skills that lead to success in the workplace.

Multinational companies recognize the skills what these students bring and partner with many of the European universities to recruit students and/or offer opportunities for hands on experience during studies. These companies include Google, BP, JP Morgan, Accenture, Deloitte, Cisco and many more. There are a number of countries that offer English-taught programs as a way to address their labor shortage. Denmark, for instance, focuses their English taught programs on the employment needs of their country so international students have many opportunities for employment after graduating.

3) Life Changing International Experiences

International experiences are in no way confined to living in the country of your university. The English-taught programs in Europe are developed to attract students from around the world. Thus, friendships are made with others from around the world. Cultural differences are recognized, openly discussed, and valued. Though there are differences in background, there are meaningful common experiences and values among international students. They are all experiencing living outside of their home country, which is a significant and life-changing experience. Further, most of these students do have the values associated with global citizenship, which connects them on a very deep level.

In addition to experiencing the world by studying in a different country, students studying in Europe have many other opportunities for international exposure. The EU’s Erasmus+ program, for instance, is an umbrella organization for the many programs that encourage mobility among young people. The student mobility program is one that all degree-seeking students attending European universities can participate in—even international students! In addition to offering opportunities for study and internships in different countries, Erasmus + also funds Erasmus Mundus programs. These really interesting and often integrated programs are developed and implemented by a consortium of higher education institutions in at least two different countries. Students study in at least two countries and receive a joint degree from the universities of the consortium.  There are more than 100 of these programs that are conducted entirely in English. There are options for just about every field of study that you can think of: Agriculture, Arts, Design, Humanities, Social Sciences, Health Sciences, Computer Science and Technology, Business, and more. These programs are relevant to today’s issues and often involve professionals from related companies which helps students understand how to apply the knowledge – not to mention network! Though the tuition for these programs is generally 9,000 Euros per year, students can apply for scholarships which fund everything from tuition to food and housing to travel costs.

Of course, there are abundant travel opportunities that are more exotic than Cancun or Florida. Europe is compact, making it easy to spend the weekends exploring by train or through inexpensive flights. This may include visiting the hometowns of your new friends, or trips organized by the university or international organizations.  I recently met with a group of students who were spending a weekend in Montenegro, organized by their schools international student organization.  The cost for travel, lodging, food, etc. was just 200 Euros!

These options aren’t for everyone.  They are for students who don’t confine themselves to the status quo, who are interested in other cultures, who love to travel, and want to explore the world, who are open-minded, and eager to have new and different academic and life experiences.  For these students, these options would be worth exploring – even if the potential savings were not so dramatic.

Interested in learning about specific schools in Europe?   Click here to receive a free guide I put together about ten great graduate school options in Europe.

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Is Getting a Masters Degree in Europe Right for You?

Did you pass up study abroad opportunities during undergrad or did you study abroad and are eager to go overseas again? If this is you, I have great news: getting a masters degree in Europe is a great way to improve your career prospects while seeing the world.

masters degree in Europe

More and more, US graduates are supplementing their college education with a master’s degree. Why? “Many entry level jobs today now require a master’s and virtually all senior management and senior professional positions require a master’s,” says Brian D. Kelley, chief information officer at Portage County Information Technology Services. Also, having a master’s degree will allow you to increase your annual income to a greater degree than just a bachelor’s. Plus, if a master’s degree isn’t a requirement for your current position, it will likely be for the next position you want. Having a master’s degree will qualify you to apply for positions in management that your bachelor’s degree and experience alone won’t.

So is this is starting to sound like a good idea? A lot of students would love to get a master’s but are concerned about taking on lots of additional debt and that’s a real concern. The average tuition for US graduate schools starts at $30,000 per year (public universities) and goes up from there. Great news! Education costs are much lower in Europe than the US. There are over 5,000 masters programs with an average tuition of under $8,800/yr. More than 700 are tuition free – even for international students.

Did we mention that you really don’t need a second language to attend grad school in Europe? The over 5,000 masters programs we mentioned above are all taught 100% in English. English as a second language is quite high in Europe, so while you learn to speak like a local, you’ll be able to get by in most places.  Here’s a site that shows English proficiency by country.

masters degree in EuropeAnother consideration is the cost of living. There’s a perception that living in Europe is much more expensive than the US, but the reality is different. According to the Independent, here are the 10 most affordable countries to be a student. You can see for yourself. Sites like Expatistan allow you to compare the cost of living in your current city with other cities around the world. For instance, it’s 43% cheaper to live in Tallinn, Estonia than Denver, Colorado.

Here’s another big advantage of getting a masters degree in Europe: the one-year master’s degree. In many instances, you can get a master’s degree in just a year which can be half the time it would take elsewhere. In the Beyond the States database, there are 952 master’s programs that are one year in duration. A truly frugal person would do well to focus the 176 one year programs that offer tuition between 0 and $5,000, then begin looking at places with a low cost of living for students.

Getting a masters degree in Europe will build skills that are desired by employers and help you to stand out in the jobmasters degree in Europe market. Today, employers are looking to hire people with the soft skills who can excel in cross-functional teams with people from different backgrounds. The emphasis on group work at schools in Europe provides experience in working with different perspectives.  The graduates are often flexible, adaptable, and experienced navigating unfamiliar circumstances  – all of which lead to success in the workplace.

Ready to explore your master’s degree options in Europe? When we began researching college in Europe two years ago, we quickly realized there was no single source of objective information, so we decided to create one with Beyond the States. We say objective because we don’t accept advertising money from schools. We also don’t get any monetary compensation from a school if a student we work with goes there versus another school.

We’ve compiled an online database with 5,278 accredited, English-taught master’s programs for you to search. Our searchable database has information like program descriptions, qualifications, country-by-country visa requirements and more. We also have a section called “Jenn Says” with Jenn’s firsthand observations from school visits and expert’s insight. To learn more, visit our master’s membership page.