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List of the Best Countries for Masters

Best country for Masters

India, being the second-largest contributor to the international student populace, is a bequest to this particular demography. The number of Indian students seeking admission typically to the postgraduate courses abroad is only expected to grow given the country’s growing cohort of qualified graduates.

Following is an attempt to analyse reasons that prompt students to pursue their postgraduate education from overseas locations. One can also gain an insight into the best way to select a suitable country for masters alongside the top destinations to pursue a degree in their choice of discipline.

Why Do Students Go Abroad for Masters?

The following factors sum up the reasons that make overseas destinations a popular choice for students to pursue their masters –

  1. Improved job opportunities– Students who have completed their masters from a top-rated international university can gain access to better job opportunities globally. It is primarily because of their increased exposure to borderless job markets.
  2. Enhanced interpersonal skills– Studying in an educational institution abroad, say in Europe or North America allows students to improve their communicative and interpersonal skills, making them more presentable.
  3. Wider scope to pursue the desired discipline– Overseas universities offer diversity in the disciplines of master’s degree courses. Students also enhance their chances of pursuing doctoral research from the best institutions based on their specialisation.
  4. Enhanced CV weightage in the job market – A postgraduate degree from a globally recognised university also enhances one’s impression through the CV, thus helping him/her get a desired job.
  5. State-of-the-art educational facilities–Universities located in destinations like the US, the UK, Canada, Italy, etc., also come with state-of-the-art facilities to help students enhance their expertise.
  6. Increased opportunities for vocational exposure–Most international postgraduate degree programs integrate vocational training, allowing students to gain on-hand experience of the discipline being pursued. It thus enhances their cognitive skills, making them more employable.

How to Choose the Country for Your Master’s Degree?

Students can select a suitable country to pursue their postgraduate degree by considering the following factors.

  • Extent of the scope of one’s chosen discipline: Before zeroing in on a country to pursue their masters’ degree, students must consider whether the universities offer a specialisation in their chosen field or discipline of study.
  • Cost of living and education – The expenses involved in pursuing overseas education are of paramount importance. Students must, therefore, consider both average tuition fees as well as living expenses for the selected country.
  • Ranking of universities – University rankings are based on the overall quality of education imparted, global exposure, opportunities for vocational training, facilities available, ease of admission, and such other factors. It is thus crucial to consider whether the universities in a given country rank among the top educational institutions globally.
  • Options to stay back – Students must also explore the options to stay back in the country for employment after the completion of their course.
  • Job opportunities during and post-completion–Existing employment opportunities during and after completing a particular course also acquire significant weightage among factors that make an international destination suitable for academic pursuit.

Other peripheral factors that are essential include the suitability of academic structure in a given country, one’s eligibility for visa, academic qualification, language proficiency, etc.

Top Countries for a Master’s Degree

Check out the top picks of countries that make it to the list of destinations suitable for pursuing a master’s degree.

  1. The United Kingdom

As compared to masters in other countries, the postgraduate courses in the UK come with a shorter duration, enabling completion of the degree early. The courses are also high-quality and vocation-intensive. Many of UK’s universities also qualify for the top 100 rankings globally. With a few of its universities dating back to the 12th and 13th centuries, its roots for learning and higher education remain commendable.

  • Overall expenses in the UK (The tuition fees and cost of living)

The tuition fees for pursuing a master’s degree in the UK range between INR 10 Lakh and INR 40 Lakh. Further, while the living costs are high, students need to maintain a monthly budget of approximately INR 1.25 Lakh or otherwise when living in London. Outside London, such budgeting reduces to INR 1 Lakh per month.

  • Top universities within the UK for masters

The best universities in the UK for a postgraduate degree include –

  • University of Birmingham – One of the most popular universities in the UK, it imparts learning to over 14,000 postgraduate students across 5 academic institutions.
  • University of Salford – A well-known public institution for higher studies, the university regulates 7 academic schools as well as language centres, imparting learning across diverse disciplines.
  • University of Oxford – One of the oldest known universities, it enrols more than 10,000 postgraduate pupils and boasts of an alumni base of 3.5 Lakh students. It is also among the top 6 universities ranked globally for disciplines like Humanities, Social Sciences, Arts etc.
  • Top courses or disciplines to pursue

Some of the most-enrolled disciplines you can opt for include –

  • Social sciences: Over 100 courses are available under the discipline, including Region-Wise Development Programs, Communications Engineering, Development Policy and Politics, etc.
  • Computer Science: A master’s degree in Computer Science paves the way for various interdisciplinary studies like AI, Cloud Computing, Web Technologies, etc.
  • Business Administration: With some of the top business schools situated in the UK, pursuing masters in Business Administration can be the key to gaining insight into corporate policies, resource allocation, etc.
  • Psychology: Acquire a master’s degree in Psychology across sub-disciplines like Organisational Psychology, Psychotherapy, etc.

 

  • Option to stay back

Once they have completed their degree courses in the UK, international students can opt to stay back in the country for a maximum duration of two years. As the stay-back option was extended from 4 months to 2 years in 2019 for the enrolment year 2021 and onwards, master’s degree holders can either opt for internships initially, or take full-time jobs that most employers are now ready to offer to qualified international students due to an extended period of stay.

  • Job prospects

While the job prospects remain high in the UK, the limited stay of 2 years after the completion of a postgraduate degree narrows it down. Nevertheless, with proper planning, qualified postgraduate students can obtain jobs in diverse fields.

With good employment prospects, the UK remains a hotbed for reputable jobs in the fields of investment banking, business management consultancy, architecture, financial analysis, etc. Such jobs come with an annual salary of 20,800 pounds or more.

  • Process and cost of Visa

Students planning to pursue a postgraduate degree in the UK can apply for Tier 4 (General) Visa for students with a payment of INR 33,000 approximately. Students need to submit all the required documents along with the Visa application form and make online or offline payment of the fees to complete the process.

  1. The United States of America

Given the expansive and high-quality educational pedagogy that USA has to offer, it easily remains among the top countries for higher education. The universities here are well-known for curricular flexibility, a variety of disciplines on offer, and generous funding options.

  • Overall expenses in the USA (The tuition fees and cost of living)

Cost of pursuing a master’s degree in the US can range anywhere between INR 6 Lakh and INR 50 Lakh for the 2-year course duration, depending on the discipline and university selected. On the other hand, the living expenses can go up to a range of INR 60,000 and INR 1.2 Lakh on a monthly basis.

  • Top universities in the USA for masters

Some of the best universities for a postgraduate degree in the US are –

  • Harvard University – The 375-year old university imparts its degree education via 12 schools of learning. Students enrolled with Harvard University are spread across 50 states, including those in the Harvard Extension Schools.
  • Southern Illinois University – Better known as a research-oriented university, this US institution offers its masters degrees across 73 programs and PhD across 36 programs.
  • Stanford University–Situated in the San Francisco Peninsula, Stanford enrols students from across all 48 states in the US and also from 77 other countries, and imparts education through 18 schools spanning across disciplines.

 

  • Top courses and disciplines to pursue

The top disciplines and courses to pursue a master’s degree in the US are –

  • Computer Science: Students can pursue sub-specialisations under Computer Science from top universities in the US. Some of them include Computational Geometry, Data Mining, Robotics, etc.
  • Life Sciences: International students can pursue post-graduation across various Life Science disciplines like Biotechnology and Molecular Biology.
  • Management Information Systems: Pursuing the discipline, students can go for sub-specialisations like Business Analysis, Digital Business Systems, Data or Knowledge Management, etc.
  • Embedded Systems: Students with an Electrical and Electronics background can pursue a master’s degree in the specialised discipline of Embedded Systems.

 

  • Option to stay back

Students willing to stay back in the US after studies can choose an OPT, a temporary employment permission to gain practical experience for a maximum period of up to 12 months.

  • Job prospects

The employment opportunities for students who have completed their masters in the US remain high, with the best prospects remaining in the technical and mechanical field.

Other popular as well as high-paying fields of employment include IT management, marketing management, nurse practitioner, etc. The average annual salary for these jobs can range anywhere between the USD equivalent of INR 90 Lakh and INR 110 Lakh.

  • Process and cost of Visa

Students can apply for one of the three types of Visa to pursue their higher education in the US, based on their eligibility. They include F1, J1 and M1 Visas. You can apply for the study visa at a US consulate or an Embassy after receiving the Form I-20.

The charges payable depend on the type of visa applied for. While the SEVIS fees stand at close to INR 23,100, application charges for F, J and M visa types stand at INR 11,500 approximately.

  1. Australia

Universities in Australia are valued and recognised globally for the quality of education imparted. Students can opt to pursue their postgraduate degrees at one of the universities under a Professional Masters Program, a Professional Development Masters Program or a Traditional Academic Masters Program across various disciplines.

  • Overall expenses in Australia (The tuition fees and cost of living)

The approximate total cost of living in Australia can be determined by the financial requirements set by the country’s Department of Immigration and Border Protection. Candidates need to fulfil the financial requirement of close to INR 10.3 Lakh for their first year of study in the country. Similarly, the course fee for a postgraduate degree can go up to INR 17 Lakh.

  • Top universities in Australia for masters

Students can pursue their master’s degree in several Australian universities, some of which are –

  • The University of Sydney–Among the oldest Australian universities, the University of Sydney imparts education and liberal studies, specialisation and professional courses in various disciplines.
  • The University of Adelaide–The 3rd oldest university in the country, it is a centre for open learning with its courses imparted across 4 campuses. Students can enrol for their masters under any of the five faculties that form the university’s curriculum.
  • Charles Darwin University–The University, with a membership of IRU and ASAIHL, imparts educational learning for a range of comprehensive courses through its 5 campuses and 3 training centres. Out of the total of 21,000 students that it enrols, more than 2,000 are of foreign descent.

 

  • Top courses and disciplines to pursue

Opt for a master’s degree course from across the following four disciplines in Australia, among others.

  • Accounting & Finance: It is one of the top streams driving enrolment for the accreditation of courses from global professional accounting bodies.
  • Management: With some educational institutions in Australia featuring in the top 100 Global Business Schools, pursuing an MBA can be the right choice.
  • Engineering and Technology: Enrolling in disciplines like Electronics, Civil and Automation is one of the top curricular choices for international students, thanks to the availability of advanced research facilities.
  • IT & CS: While technological advancements continue to drive student enrolment to IT & CS disciplines, international candidates prefer Australian universities for their masters in these streams particularly for the research support, industry growth, and eligibility relaxations.

 

  • Option to stay back

Students who have completed their 2-year master’s program from a university here can choose to stay back for 18 months for work experience. In this period, they can either opt for internships or take part-time jobs that earn them an experience for high-paying jobs in their field of education. Alongside your master’s specialisation, acquiring language skills can work to your advantage in helping secure a high-paying job.

  • Job prospects

With a high average salary structure for postgraduate degree holders and thriving industries, the job prospects in Australia remain strong. Also, during their course duration, students can take up part-time jobs for a maximum of 20 hours per week. A scope for availing a work visa post-study for a maximum of 3 years also exists.

With sectors like health, hospitality, and technology comprising the platform for new job opportunities, and industry strongholds like mining, manufacturing, agriculture, and farming backing up, job prospects in the country are immense. With average annual salary across sectors ranging between AUD equivalent of INR 20 Lakh and INR 55 Lakh, the employment opportunities here are well-paying too.

  • Process and cost of Visa

Once accepted and enrolled in your selected Australian university, you can proceed to apply for a student visa (subclass 500) via the SSVF depending on your specific situation. Apply with the necessary documents supporting qualification and financial requirements and pay the visa charges, approximately INR 60,500, to complete the process either online or offline.

  1. Canada

With an increasing number of international students enrolling for a master’s degree in Canadian universities, the country has become a hotspot for postgraduate education. Its diverse program specialisations, along with simplified norms and high-quality education, make it a suitable international destination to pursue higher studies.

  • Overall expenses in Canada (The tuition fees and cost of living)

The tuition fees for a master’s degree in Canada range anywhere between INR 8 Lakh and INR 30 Lakh for the entire course duration. The living expenses can further push the overall cost in Canada by INR 5.5 Lakh to INR 6.5 Lakh.

  • Top universities in Canada for masters

Below given is a pick of top Canadian universities for a master’s degree –

  • University of Ottawa– Known as the largest bilingual university globally, this institution is also listed among the top 10 universities for research.
  • University of Toronto– Another of the most research-intensive destinations for postgraduate studies, it imparts learning through 3 campuses across Canada.
  • University of Alberta– It is an open research university well-known for its programs of student exchange and offering scope for inter-disciplinary specialisations across courses.

 

  • Top courses and disciplines to pursue

The best courses for a master’s degree in Canada include –

  • Science and Engineering: With a global reputation for accredited engineering degrees, Canada is a top destination to pursue a postgraduate specialisation in Science and Engineering.
  • Business Management: Known as a top destination for business management studies at the master’s level, Canada offers diverse specialisations in MBA degrees.
  • Health Science: Spanning over a range of subjects like Occupational Health & Safety, Population Health, etc., postgraduate students can choose a discipline as per their educational background.

 

  • Option to stay back

Option to stay back in Canada after the completion of a postgraduate degree is available in two forms. It can either be for as long as one’s course duration, or students can opt for a minimum stay of 8 months, which can be extended to a maximum of 3 years. Such a permit should be applied for within 90 days of completing the degree course.

  • Job prospects

Job prospects for a postgraduate are immense in Canada, with some high-paying jobs extending across roles like Physiotherapy, Logistics, Engineering, Marketing, Analysis, etc.

With some of the best paying jobs for international students completing their masters come across roles like doctors, lawyers, dentists, nurses, and miners. While the placement success largely depends on an applicant’s merit and experience, some of the highest paying jobs here can range anywhere between the CAD equivalent of INR 40 Lakh and INR 85 Lakh.

  • Process and cost of Visa

You can obtain a study permit to stay in Canada for your course duration after you have been accepted by a designated learning institute in the country. You can apply for it with a Letter of Introduction and essential documents against payment of visa fees amounting close to INR 9,000.

  1. Germany

Masters programs in Germany are renowned across various fields, with particular specialisations in applied sciences and engineering. The selection criteria in most of the German universities are based on academic excellence and achievements.

  • Overall expenses in Germany (The tuition fees and cost of living)

Tuition fees charged by public universities in Germany are nil or nominal. Pursuing a master’s degree from a private institution in the country can, however, cost between INR 9 Lakh to INR 10 Lakh. Also, the living expenses for the entire course duration can average at INR 7 Lakh.

  • Top universities in Germany for masters

Some of the top picks among German universities for a master’s degree include –

  • Technical University of Berlin–Well-known for engineering, the university offers, 60 specialisation programs in masters across various fields and disciplines.
  • Technical University of Munich–Reuters 2017 ranked the university as the fourth-best in terms of most innovative universities in Europe. Academic pursuits here are spread across 15 departments with 13 centres for research, making it suitable to pursue higher education.
  • University of Bayreuth– Working professionals, as well as students, can enrol for postgraduate or doctoral programs at the university known for its advanced research centres across disciplines.

 

  • Top courses and disciplines to pursue

Popular fields and disciplines of study to pursue a master’s degree in Germany are –

  • Applied Sciences – Choose from a range of applied science disciplines to enrol in a postgraduate course at your chosen German university. These can include the likes of Sustainable Food Systems, Luxury and Fashion, Real Estate Development, Social Work and Organic Agriculture.
  • Computer Science and Engineering – Known as a global hub for higher education in Engineering, the country offers diverse interdisciplinary postgraduate programs in CS and Engineering with world-class research facilities.
  • Business Management – Home to some of the top-rated global Business Schools, Germany is an excellent option to pursue a master’s degree in Business Management (MBA).

 

  • Option to stay back

On completion of their postgraduate degree, international students can opt to stay back in Germany for up to 18 months to look for job opportunities as per their discipline of study.

As it may take some time to find a job that specifically suits your qualification as per immigration rules, you need to explore employment opportunities correlated to your specialisation. During this period, you can also work up on your language skills as German is a difficult language and most job roles seek a fluent German of at least C2 level.

  • Job prospects

With qualified workers and a lucrative job market, Germany opens a host of opportunities for postgraduate degree holders. Well-paying jobs, especially in the field of Research and Development, are ample here.

Some preferred job roles for international students completing their masters here include medical expert, ICT expert, scientific researcher, engineer, accountant, tutor, etc. Depending on the type of job secured, the average annual salary can range anywhere between the Euro equivalent of INR 35 Lakh and INR 70 Lakh.

  • Process and cost of Visa

Indian students can apply for Type D Visa/Residence Permit to pursue their masters in Germany. You can apply for the student visa here after receiving acceptance and enrolment from one of the German universities. The visa application fee is approximately INR 6,500.

Students also need to pay an annual Residence Permit fee of close to INR 9,000 for every year of their course duration. A per month financial requirement of INR 66,000 is also to be fulfilled for the permit.

With this detailed guide on the best countries to pursue a master’s degree, students can proceed to apply with the University of their Choice and pursue a postgraduate program.

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