Where to Go for Grad School Without Going Broke
The typical college graduate exits school with bleak job prospects, no thanks to a tanking economy. No wonder so many people are looking into graduate school; if there are no good jobs to be had, might as well use the time to make themselves more hireable. The catch, of course, is that university doesn’t come cheap–and most graduates are already burdened with student debt to begin with.
One attractive solution is to look abroad. There’s little doubt that American and British universities are among the world’s best, but they are notoriously expensive. Other countries have equally strong yet much more accessible educational systems–the kind that lets you pay your tuition in full, with more than enough left for food, rent, and even a little travel. Here are some places you may want to look.
Spain (and the Hispanosphere)
A full-time graduate program at a Spanish university can cost around $2,000 a year, roughly a fifth of what you would pay in the U.S. The University of Barcelona and the University of Madrid are among the best in the country. In South America, the University of Sao Paolo in Brazil is a consistent top-notcher; in Mexico, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) is a source of international acclaim. These schools are especially strong in history and the social sciences, and are fairly open to interdisciplinary interests.
The French take pride in their intellectual culture, and they have the educational tools to prove it. Foreign grad students pay as little as EUR200 ($265) for a year of internationally renowned education. The École Normale Supérieure de Paris is ranked 28th in the world and offers master’s programs in 50 areas, including arts and literature, social sciences, science, health, and law.
There’s a reason Singapore has become the favourite destination of Asian grad students. The best universities charge under $5,000 per year of graduate study for foreign students; this includes Singapore National University, which ranks just behind the École Normale Supérieure de Paris in world rankings. Selections outside Asian studies and history may be limited, but travel opportunities are cheap and abundant.
Education was one of the first things to bloom in South Africa after the apartheid, with locals more than ready to enjoy their newfound intellectual freedom. Johannesburg, the capital, and the tourist city of Cape Town have the strongest offerings in the country, with international student tuition averaging $4,000 a year. The cost of living is also quite low, which is why a lot of graduate students seem to spend as much time on the beach as they do in the library.