Choosing the right university for your Master’s degree abroad is not as easy as you think and might take longer than you expected. Even if you already have an idea or know for sure what you want to do in the future, there are many factors you should consider before deciding which degree you should pursue.
But don't worry! We have a few essential suggestions that will help you narrow down your list of universities and Master's programmes.
1. Choose a university offering your favourite subject
When you know what you want to study, the next step is to see which country is the best choice. If you are interested in majors like Economics, Biology, Engineering, Medicine, and so on, you should do some research and see which are the most popular study destinations for your chosen study programme.
Some destinations are obvious choices for certain disciplines, such as:
- Engineering degrees in Germany
- Arts degrees in Italy
- Psychology degrees in the UK
- Fashion Design degrees in France
- Culinary Arts degrees in France, Italy, and Switzerland
Check out the top destinations for the most popular academic disciplines.
2. Choose a top university based on international rankings
All universities and colleges strive to improve the quality of study programmes and the overall academic environment. However, some institutions offer better courses, have more experienced staff members, or provide better services and support to international students.
Many factors can be used to rank a university, which is why different international rankings focus on different criteria. Some of the most popular university rankings are released every year by:
Rankings that list the overall best universities and colleges are the most popular. But you can also explore rankings which reveal the top universities based on subject/discipline. Here are a few examples:
- Best business schools in the US
- Best law schools in the UK
- Best engineering schools in the world
- Best computer science schools in Europe
- Best environmental science schools in the world
While rankings can help to narrow down your search, they aren’t perfect. Use them to your advantage, but don’t choose a study programme or university only based on data from rankings.
3. Choose a university that fits your budget
The cost of your studies is another factor to consider before making your final decision. Most universities and colleges have tuition fees. If you or your parents can afford them, it is not a problem.
If not, there are ways to fund your studies, such as scholarships, student loans, or student jobs. You can also check out the Studyportals Scholarship to get some help on financing your studies abroad.
Check out some of the most affordable EU countries for international students.
In some countries like Germany, Denmark, Norway, and Sweden, public universities don’t charge tuition fees. However, you still need to take into account living costs, which can be higher in these countries.
Have a look at tuition and living costs in these popular international destinations:
- Tuition fees in Canada
- Tuition fees in France
- Tuition fees in Finland
- Tuition fees in the Netherlands
- Tuition fees in Australia
4. Choose a university based on language requirements
An important aspect you should check is the language proficiency requirements set by your chosen university or college. Mainly, you need to make sure that your language level will allow you to study at that university.
Most universities and schools in non-English speaking countries have a wide offer of English-taught degrees that you didn't even know existed. Here's a list of countries that offer the largest number of English-taught degrees.
IELTS, TOEFL, and PTE are the most popular English language tests for international students. While these exams are similar, there are differences between them, so make sure you know them before making a decision.
Even if you don't have the highest English test score results, it doesn't mean you can't get into a top-quality English-taught Master's. You just have to find the ones that require lower IELTS or TOEFL results, and we have some perfect examples for you:
- Computer Science degrees accepting lower IELTS
- European Business schools accepting lower IELTS
- Engineering degrees accepting lower IELTS
- UK universities accepting lower TOEFL
5. Choose a university that recognises your previous experience
Your Bachelor's degree might not be fully recognised everywhere in the world. Make sure you know if and how you have to validate your previous studies if you want to study in a certain country.
How much of your degree you need to adapt to the new education system also depends on the discipline you plan to study. Here are a few cases in which students may need to undertake a preparation course like a pre-Master's to be accepted at an international university with a different academic system from the one you graduated for your Bachelor's:
- Students from a non-EU country who want to study in the EU. Check out pre-Masters in Europe.
- International students who want to study in the U.S. or Canada. Check out pre-Masters in North America.
- International students who want to study in Australia. Check out pre-Masters in Australia.
If you're a national of an EU/EEA country and want to study in a different European Union state, all your previous qualifications will be recognised. All you need to worry about is finding the right English-taught Master's degree:
- Masters in Germany
- Masters in the Netherlands
- Masters in Denmark
- Masters in Ireland
- Masters in France
- Masters in Spain
- Masters in Italy
6. Choose a university in a big city or a smaller one?
If you go to a university or college in a big city or a metropolis, you’ll benefit from many advantages:
- finding a job easily
- travelling without big inconveniences
- easy access to banks, post offices, and the city centre
- enjoying a lot of cultural activities
You should also consider the nightlife and entertainment opportunities. If you're a party animal, you won't have a lot of fun in smaller cities or more remote locations. Of course, if you’re not a fan of distractions and loud music, this can be an advantage.
Check out great info about smaller, less-known cities:
- Study in Antwerpen, Belgium
- Study in Swansea, the UK
- Study in Uppsala, Sweden
- Study in Tampere, Finland
- Study in Brno, the Czech Republic
Or consider studying in these bustling metropolises: