Study in Europe
Best Countries in Europe to Do Your Economics Master’s Degree
With vaccination programs well underway, horizons will soon begin broaden (we promise), and students will, once again, be able to be students. In preparation for this reality, let's dream a little and remind ourselves what will be possible once this pandemic passes and the world reopens.
Studying abroad: the majority who've done it say they loved it, that it was a great decision, and that although it wasn't without its difficulties the experience was unforgettable and one they're glad they embraced. It makes sense, too, for little can replicate the excitement of moving abroad, embracing a foreign culture, and meeting people you would in other circumstances never have met. The exposure to new ideas, conversations, and ways of life is thrilling, healthy, and a great thing to do while studying. Is it challenging? Well, yes, but the worthwhile things in life tend to be, and if you’re already considering a Master’s you're made of stern stuff and will likely be fine.
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Find the prospect appealing? Interest piqued? The obvious first question then is where? It’s, perhaps, the hardest one, too. Europe’s a big place, and the options are intimidatingly endless. You needn't worry though, to assist you with this momentous decision - as, in the past, we have done with thousands of previous INOMICS users - we’ve compiled a list of the best European countries where you can do your economics Master’s, paying particular attention to the costs, and what the country has to offer.
So to kick off: the Netherlands. For Dutch students, and those from EU/EEA countries, Switzerland or Surinam, most of the cost of studying at Dutch universities is covered by the government. That being said, all students are required to contribute a statutory tuition fee, also known as ‘collegegeld’, which typically comes to around 2.000 euros. For non-EU/EEA students these costs are higher and dependent on your prospective institution, course, etc. English speakers may be interested to know that Dutch higher education institutions offer more courses taught in English than any other European country. And if diversity is what you’re after that’s checked too: the Netherlands’ international student population hail from over 190 countries.
In many respects, the prospect of living in Italy sells itself. Few places can match its natural beauty, architecture, historical sites, gastronomy, wine, and seductively slow way of life. If that wasn't enough, it’s super affordable too, with living costs averaging between €700-1000 per month, and the average tuition for Master's degrees is between €850-1000 per year. Fancy some of la dolce vita? Yes of course you do.
France has long been a favourite of the adventurous international student, for good reason. Paris sets the country’s tone, boasting exquisite art, fashion and food. If the city of love is little too pricey - living costs can reach an eye-watering €1,800 per month - there’s also the gastronomic capital Lyon, hub of the wine-growing region, Bordeaux, and the Spain-bordering Toulouse, which are all far more affordable. English speakers will be pleased to note that there are over 1,300 programs taught in your lovely language. Very generous. Still, we politely remind you that this is no excuse not to at least attempt to learn a little French - the locals will appreciate it. For EU/EEA citizens a Master's degree will cost you around €260 per year. If you’re an international student, however, owing to a recent change in the rules, it’ll cost you €3,770. Yep, it's rather steep.
As a country, Spain is pretty spoilt. Great weather, diverse landscapes, fascinating history, delicious wine, and a friendly, passionate people. Yes, the reasons to live there are many. Now onto the study stuff. Set by the government, and calculated using the slightly unusual pay-per-credit format, a typical Master's degree costs between €900-3,000 per year - so there is quite a range. In terms of getting by, Spanish is supposed to be an ‘easy’ language to learn, and is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world, sandwiched between Hindustani and Arabic in 4th place.
Despite being one of the most expensive places to study on the list, the UK shouldn’t be discounted on price alone, for it houses some of the oldest and most esteemed educational institutions in the world: the Universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Glasgow and Edinburgh, take your pick. Graduate from one of these educational giants, and doors will open for you, that’s guaranteed. Interestingly, one in four world leaders studied in the UK at one time or another, so if its power you’re after, well, look no further. As mentioned, enjoying this privilege will cost you a pretty penny. On average, a taught Master’s degree in the UK is £11,000. Unfortunately, Brexit has disrupted many of the scholarship programs that were available to EU and international students. There are still some out there, but they are in dwindling supply... Better get saving.
Germany is renowned for its generosity when it comes to higher education. (This writer has personally benefitted). In 15 of its 16 states public universities charge no tuition, regardless of degree or nationality. There is, however, reason for concern. In recent years, the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg introduced fees of €1,500 per semester for international (non-EU) students. And there is now a credible worry that this will set a precedent for other states to follow - we have our fingers crossed this doesn’t develop. Study in Germany and you’ll experience a country with a unique and troubling history, and an unavoidably vibrant culture. Its nickname Das Land der Dichter und Denker (the country of poets and thinkers) is highly apt.
Besides the UK, Ireland is one of the pricier places on the list. But similar to the UK, that should not rule it out of contention, far from it. Ireland boasts some of the best universities in Europe - think Trinity College Dublin and the National University of Ireland, Galway. (Incidentally, Galway is Europe’s cultural capital for 2020). Although widely varied, Master’s students from the EU/EAA tend to pay around €6000 per year, while international students pay upwards of €9000. Steep? A little, but the education you'll get is second to none.
Famed for its neutrality and high gun ownership, Switzerland is also rare for being one of the few countries in the world, and the only one in Europe, with instruments of direct democracy. This gives citizens the right to instigate changes to the constitution and/or ask for referenda to be held on any law voted on at any level of government. Interesting, right? But anyway, back to the studies... Master’s tuition fee ranges between CHF 3,000 to CHF 13,000, with Master’s programs in private institutions generally higher. If you are planning on doing an MBA expect to pay around CHF 24,000, with some reaching as much as CHF 85,000. This may sound a bit expensive (it kind of is) but one should bear in mind, Swiss universities are prestigious and are routinely found in the worldwide top 200 list - the education you will receive will be first-class.
The Portuguese higher-education system has a reputation for being particularly research-oriented. And it is. However, its polytechnics also offer students the chance to study in professional fields like economics. So there’s still plenty of choice. One should expect to pay between €950-1300 in yearly tuition for a Master’s. A strange slightly negative fact about Portugal: bullfighting remains legal. An interesting, more positive one: it houses the largest largest solar energy factory in the world.
Belgium chocolate may be all that’s needed to persuade some. For the others, read on. First, housekeeping: tuition fees for Master's degrees in Belgium can be a little bit confusing, ranging from as little as €800 per year for EU students to as much at €3000 per year for those coming from outside of the European Union. And if you want to do an MBA you should expect to pay even more than that. To help offset that cost, though, the Belgian government has an array of scholarships available, many specifically aimed at international students. And some miscellaneous: Belgium offers great beer, amazing waffles and how could we ever forget, it is the birthplace of the Smurfs.
Fancy doing your Master's degree in the birthplace of Freud, Mozart and Schwazenegger? Although not always the first country to spring to mind, there are numerous reasons to consider the homeland of these three giants. First, the standard of living is high, incredibly high. Consulting agency Mercer has ranked its capital Vienna as the city with the world’s highest quality of life, 10 TIMES IN A ROW. On top of that, If you’re an EU/EEA national, you won’t have to pay any tuition fees, come from outside Europe, and you’ll be obliged to pay a relatively small amount per semester. It’s also at the centre of Europe - quite literally - so for those keen holiday-makers you’ll be spoilt for choice. A quick Flixbus and you can be anywhere.
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Disclaimer: statistics have been taken from a variety of online sources including: Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Campus France, France Expatica, UCAS, DAAD, Education in Ireland, Canapprove, University of Porto, Study in Belgium, Study in Austria
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10 Most Affordable Countries in Europe to Do Your Economics PhD
Fortunately, the UK and the US aren't the only two places in the world with universities great for studying economics, and particularly in Europe, higher education hasn't yet been turned into corporate business, meaning not only are degrees cheap, some are completely free. And paying less (or even nothing) doesn't translate into a lesser experience. To the contrary, many of countries on this list can make legitimate claims to housing some of the most prestigious higher learning institutions in the world.
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