Funding a Masters Abroad – 6 Myths |
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Posted on 3 Jul '24

Funding a Masters Abroad – 6 Myths

It's no secret that funding is harder to find for international postgraduates who are studying abroad for their Masters. But it's sometimes possible to over-estimate just how difficult international funding is, or to simply assume there isn't any.

That's just not true, as posts on this blog demonstrate, including our yearly international funding calendar. Meanwhile, studying abroad remains as popular as ever.

This post is here to offer some encouragement to anyone beginning their own international funding search. We'll bust a few myths and (hopefully!) reveal some options you haven't checked yet.

#1 "Masters study in the USA is really expensive"

Let's start with the most popular international study destination.

Sure, 'graduate' study in the USA is very different to 'postgraduate' study in the UK, and one of those differences concerns cost – with higher fees listed for US Masters courses.

But this can be misleading. In fact, few students at American universities pay the full 'ticket price' (the advertised rate) for their courses. If you're good enough to get in to a US graduate programme, chances are high that your university will have some form of financial aid available.

Oh, and public universities in the USA actually charge the same fees to international (non-US) students as they do to American citizens from other US states. So the USA isn't necessarily as expensive as it looks and is actually less 'biased' against overseas students. Perhaps it's worth a(nother) look?

#2 "Only EU students get cheap Masters fees in Europe"

One more on fee and funding restrictions:

You've probably heard that Masters degrees in Europe are often very cheap, or even free. The good news is that it's true. The better news is that some European countries charge exactly the same to EU and non-EU students – even when the amount they charge is €0.

Examples include Germany, and the Czech Republic. Other countries like France and Austria do have international fees, but the amount they charge is far, far lower than most other countries.

#3 "The UK doesn't offer any funding to international students"

It's true that most UK public funding for postgraduate study isn't normally available to international students (except in very specific circumstances), but that doesn't mean the UK doesn't have any funding for international study. In fact, the UK Government directly or indirectly funds some very generous schemes.

Examples include the Chevening Scholarships, Commonwealth Scholarships and lots of others in our full guide to international postgraduate funding.

#4 "You need a full scholarship to get a visa"

Funding can be an important part of your application for a visa (if you need one) as most countries will ask international students to demonstrate that they can support themselves whilst studying.

This is usually done by showing that you have access to a certain amount of money during your course. For example, applicants for a UK Masters visa need to have about £1,023 a month whilst studying (it's slightly more if you're based in London).

Having a full scholarship is by far the simplest way to satisfy this, but it isn't a requirement. You can still apply for a visa if you're combining partial funding with savings or other means of support.

#5 "International students can't work during a Masters"

Actually, international students usually can work some hours during a Masters (and there may be a wider range of jobs available now you're a postgraduate). What you can't (normally) do is rely on earnings during your course to satisfy any minimum support requirement for your visa (see above).

This means that work can't be your sole form source of 'funding, but it can help you top up your support during a Masters.

#6 "Universities don't have funding for international students"

If anything, universities are actually more likely to reserve a certain amount of funding for overseas students, either as a means of encouraging more international applications or as a way of acknowledging the fact that some other means of support aren't available.

It's well worth spending a bit of time exploring the funding sections of university websites. You can find links to these in our guide to Masters degree funding from UK universities, or you can find further information for courses in other countries by following the links in our search.

The reality

It's true that getting funding for a Masters abroad is harder: there's rarely a 'one-stop' solution and most scholarships are competitively awarded to a limited number of students. But, if you're good enough to a Masters, there's no reason you won't be good enough to win funding.

Our guides to Masters study abroad are a good place to start (they all feature sections on funding for international students). You can also stay up to date with funding competitions and new university scholarships by signing up to our free newsletter.

Good luck!

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Last updated: 03 July 2024