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Masters Fees and Living Costs in Europe 2023

Written by Ben Taylor

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.

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) 947 Variable
Belgium (Wallonia) 836 Up to 4,175
Czech Republic None** None**
Denmark None*** 6,000-16,000
Estonia 1,660-7,500 1,660-7,500
Finland None 4,000-18,000
France 243 3,770
Germany None None****
Greece Up to 7,500 Variable
Hungary 1,689 (avg) Variable
Iceland 459 459
Ireland 4,400-10,000 9,950-34,500
Italy 1,628 (avg) 1,628 (avg)
Netherlands 2,143 8,000-20,000
Norway None None
Poland None 2,000-3,000
Portugal 697 (avg) Variable
Romania 1,904 (avg) Variable
Russia 3,190-3,440 3,190-3,440
Spain 762-2,680 Variable
Sweden None 12,900 (avg)
Switzerland 930-3,718 Variable
Turkey 15-296 120-705
*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

Following the completion of Brexit on 1 January 2021, new British students are now classed as international students when studying in EU countries. Exceptions may be made for students who were already settled in the EU prior to 31 December 2020.

Note that Brexit doesn't necessarily mean you'll pay higher fees to study in Europe as a UK student: as you can see from the table above, many countries charge very little to international students (and some charge no fees at all).

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:

Masters living costs in Europe (€ per month)
Country Rent Utilities Travel Total
Austria 452 70 50 555
Belgium 385 45 50 480
Czech Republic 305 55 20 380
Denmark 570 55 60 685
Estonia 250 60 25 335
Finland 425 35 55 515
France 450 50 55 555
Germany 470 75 70 615
Greece 190 50 30 270
Hungary 195 45 25 265
Iceland 610 35 90 735
Ireland 630 50 110 790
Italy 340 50 35 425
Netherlands 560 55 90 705
Norway 530 55 75 660
Poland 315 60 25 400
Portugal 340 35 40 415
Romania 170 35 15 220
Russia 245 30 25 300
Spain 335 40 40 415
Sweden 420 25 75 525
Switzerland 880 60 80 1,020
Turkey 90 10 15 115
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.

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Last updated: 06 December 2021