Tuition fees and living costs will account for most of the cost of your Masters. But you may also need to budget for other postgraduate degree expenses.
We’ve picked a few to be aware of, below.
You won’t normally need extra health insurance to study a Masters in your home country. Instead you’ll be covered by any existing public or private healthcare. Or you may not need a policy at all.
The situation is likely to be different if you’re studying abroad though.
Unless you’re part of a reciprocal scheme such as the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) you’ll probably need to purchase insurance to cover you during your Masters.
Basic insurance won’t usually be too expensive. Your university may provide extra details, or even be able to sell you a suitable policy.
Most countries charge a fee for processing your visa application and issuing the required documents.
Needless to say, you’ll only need to pay visa fees if you’re studying abroad. But studying abroad won’t necessarily mean that you have to pay visa fees. Some groups of countries (such as the European Union) don’t require student visas for their members’ citizens.
Our guides to postgraduate study abroad provide information on student visa requirements and costs in different countries, including popular destinations like the UK and USA.
Some universities charge a small amount to process Masters applications. Others accept students through postgraduate application portals that charge their own administrative fees.
This won’t always be the case. In the UK, for example, there is no centralised system for postgraduate admissions and most universities don’t charge application fees for Masters degrees.
Your university will be able to provide detailed information about any administrative fees it charges. Our guides to Masters study abroad also explain postgraduate application fees in specific countries.
Some courses require students to complete graduate admissions tests in order to gain a place on their Masters programmes.
These are separate to standard admissions fees: they cover the cost of sitting the test and receiving a score, not the cost of processing your overall application. Fees vary depending on the test you’re taking.
The most widely accepted admissions tests for Masters study are the GRE (Graduate Records Examination) and the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test).
Both are more common in the USA than elsewhere, but universities in other countries may use them. The GMAT, in particular, is popular with prestigious business schools assessing applicants to their MBA programmes.
If you’re studying abroad in a second language, you may need to submit a score from a recognised language test.
This won’t always be the case: existing experience studying in a language will usually suffice instead of a test score. So will other relevant evidence of your language skills (such as having lived and worked abroad).
However, studying at postgraduate level may sometimes require a more advanced test or higher score than would be requested for an undergraduate degree. Check with your university if in doubt.
Different countries have their own preferred language tests, though many universities will accept more than one. See our guides to international language tests for postgraduate study, for more information.
Travel costs are easy to overlook, but they can add up quickly. Unless you’re living in university accommodation you’ll need a way of getting to and from your postgraduate classes.
It’s a good idea to look at typical costs for busses, trams or trains in your university city and factor these expenses into your budgeting.
And remember: if you’re studying abroad you’ll also need to travel to your destination country – and be able to get home once you’ve finished your Masters.
The next step: funding
Once you know how much a Masters is likely to cost, the next thing to do is work out how you'll meet that cost! Our guides to postgraduate funding can help.