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Masters Fees and Living Costs in Europe

Masters fees at European universities can be considerably lower than other popular postgraduate destinations like the UK, USA and Australia. In fact, several countries even offer free Masters programmes!

Tuition fees aren’t the only consideration to take into account when deciding where to study a Masters, however. You’ll also need to think about the cost of living, which differs widely across Europe.

This page will give you an overview of the cost of a Masters in Europe, covering average tuition fees at European universities, as well as an idea of postgraduate student expenses in each major country.

Postgraduate fees in Europe

You’d think that the cost of a Masters would vary quite extensively across individual European countries. And you’d be right.

It’s not quite as complicated as that, though.

For one thing, postgraduate fee caps are much more common in Europe than they are in the UK. For another, it’s actually possible to study a Masters course in some European countries for free.

The following table compares typical Masters tuition fees in Europe, by country:

Masters fees in Europe (€)
Country EU Fees International Fees
Austria None* 1,453
Belgium (Flanders) 920 3,000 (avg)
Belgium (Wallonia) 835 3,000 (avg)
Czech Republic None** None**
Denmark None*** 6,000-16,000
Estonia 1,660-7,500 1,660-7,500
Finland None 8,000-18,000
France 243 3,770
Germany None None****
Greece 3,625 (avg) Variable
Hungary 1,553 Variable
Iceland 550 550
Ireland 4,000 9,000-30,000
Italy 1,520 (avg) Variable
Netherlands 2,143 8,000-20,000
Norway None None
Poland None 2,000-3,000
Portugal 1,250 (avg) Variable
Romania 1,178 Variable
Russia 2,900-3,165 2,900-3,165
Spain 1,781 (avg) Variable
Sweden None 12,215 (avg)
Switzerland 920-3,720 Variable
Turkey 120-705 120-705
*Austrian universities will charge additional fees to students who exceed the maximum study duration for their courses.
**Czech universities will charge additional fees for foreign language programmes.
***Danish universities will charge additional fees for part-time programmes.
****German universities in the state of Baden Württemberg can charge international students up to €1,500 per semester.

EU fees given here are based on figures collected by the European Commission. (They give the typical price for one year of study on a full-time Masters degree. Note that many European Masters programmes last for two years). International fees are based on additional research by FindAMasters.

Masters fees for international students

As you can see in the table above, Masters fees are often considerably lower for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals compared to other international students.

There are several countries that don’t distinguish between European and other nationalities when it comes to Masters tuition fees, however:

  • The Czech Republic offers free tuition to all, as long as the programme is taught in the Czech language.
  • Germany doesn’t have any tuition fees at its public universities – only a small administrative fee charged each semester. The one exception is the southern state of Baden-Württemburg, which charges non-EU students €1,500 per semester.
  • Iceland charges an annual registration fee of €550, regardless of nationality.
  • Norway doesn’t charge any tuition fees whatsoever!

Of course, it’s also worth thinking about places that do charge international students more for Masters study but still have relatively affordable tuition fees.

Austria, Belgium and France have considerably lower fees for non-EU citizens than the UK, for example. In fact, international fees across Europe are usually much cheaper than the equivalent tuition fees at UK universities.

Brexit and Masters fees in Europe

If you’re a UK student thinking about studying a Masters in Europe, you might be concerned about the potential impact of Brexit on the fees you could be charged.

After the UK formally leaves the EU on 31 January 2020, there will be a transition period until 30 December 2020, during which time most fee and funding arrangements for international students will remain the same. This means that if you’re a UK student beginning a Masters in Europe before 30 December, you’ll continue to pay local tuition fees for the duration of your course.

However, it’s less certain what will happen after the transition period ends and British students may eventually be treated as non-EU students by European universities and charged a higher rate.

You can keep up-to-date with the latest Brexit developments by checking out our Brexit FAQ or signing up to our newsletter.

Studying a Masters in Europe

For more detailed information on fees, funding and universities, see our individual guides to Masters study in Europe.

Postgraduate living costs in Europe

Student fees across European countries vary a great deal, so it stands to reason that the cost of student life in different cities within those countries varies even more.

The following table compares the cost of accommodation, travel and utilities across European countries:

Postgraduate living costs in Europe (€)
Country Rent Utilities Travel Total
Austria 440 60 50 550
Belgium 395 45 50 490
Czech Republic 305 55 20 380
Denmark 540 60 55 655
Estonia 255 55 25 335
Finland 415 35 55 505
France 430 45 50 525
Germany 460 75 70 605
Greece 180 50 30 260
Hungary 230 45 30 305
Iceland 705 30 95 830
Ireland 660 50 100 810
Italy 345 50 35 430
Netherlands 545 55 80 680
Norway 550 50 75 675
Poland 250 50 25 325
Portugal 370 30 35 435
Romania 165 30 15 210
Russia 185 30 25 240
Spain 335 40 45 420
Sweden 405 20 75 500
Switzerland 825 60 70 955
Turkey 125 20 30 175
Figures are calculated based on crowdsourced prices for one person's share of rent and utilities in a three-bedroom city centre house, together with a monthly travel pass. Original data published by Numbeo.

You’ll need to use the above information carefully. Actual prices will vary significantly across cities and according to your lifestyle. Note that we haven’t included leisure, groceries and other expenses here – you’ll need to budget for these too!

Cheapest European countries for Masters study

Unfortunately, there isn’t quite a definitive answer as to the cheapest place to study a Masters in Europe.

There are lots of factors to take into account: your fee status, available funding opportunities, the length of the course you want to take and the cost of living in your new country, to name just a handful.

So, while a Masters may be ‘free’ in somewhere like Norway, you’ll still have to budget for that country’s high cost of living – and for the fact you’ll be studying for two years.

By contrast, if you’re an EU student in the Netherlands, you’ll be charged €2,143 for a one-year course. Despite the up-front cost of these tuition fees, the fact that you may only be studying for one year means that the Netherlands could work out cheaper than one of the ‘free’ options.

Similarly, the low cost of living in countries like Estonia, Poland and Greece makes these places worth considering if you’re on a tight budget.

Postgraduate costs in other countries

It’s difficult to produce an accurate comparison of tuition fees and living costs in every study abroad destination, however, our guides to international postgraduate study provide useful information for popular countries outside Europe.

Last updated - 03/02/2020

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