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A master’s degree is an academic degree awarded by universities or colleges upon completion of a course of study. A master’s degree usually requires previous study at the bachelor’s level, either as a separate degree or as part of an integrated course.
Master’s graduates are expected to possess advanced knowledge in theoretical and applied topics; High-level skills in analysis, critical evaluation or professional application.
One of the main reasons people choose to study abroad for a master’s degree is the newly gained experience with the new academic lifestyle, living in another country and immersion in a different culture forces us to become more adaptable to our new environment.
Take, for example, studying in Europe versus earning a master’s degree in the United States. The two experiences will have a completely different effect on your development.
Your skill set and mind will be shaped differently by the different influences and ideas you will find on your journey. In the article, we will review the most important differences between studying a master’s degree in the United States and Europe.
1. Admission Process – GMAT Preparation:
Although every university and college sets up its own master’s admission process, there are some details that generally apply to American and European higher education institutions and that distinguish the two.
Admission to American universities:
Admission to US universities requires more effort on the part of the student than most European institutions. As they have more requirements and ask for more documents during the application process, especially if you are an international student, you will need to add specific documents and additional language tests to your application to-do list. If you are considering applying for a study program in the United States, start looking for tests such as GMAT, GRE, TOEFL or IELTS. Most American universities consider these exams and documents as prerequisites.
Admission to European universities:
European universities usually require fewer documents for the application stage. Some universities simplify the admissions process to the point that everyone who applies is entered into the program, for example without a formal interview.
In this case, students are selected during the program, depending on the difficulty of the program and the student’s ability to keep up with coursework. If you are applying for a highly specialized program (such as an MBA), you will need to bring more papers specifically required by your institution or pass an entrance exam.
2. Tuition fees:
The amount of money one needs to pay for studies abroad is often the factor of success or failure in choosing a university. In the case of American and European universities, tuition fees are an important differentiating factor for international students.
American universities are famous for their high prices. The United States is one of the most popular study destinations, but also one of the most expensive. Tuition costs typically range from $5,000 to $50,000 annually for international students. The average annual cost of tuition at US institutions was estimated at $33,215 in 2016.
There are two main factors that play a role in determining the final price of a master’s degree, whether you are an EU citizen or not, and what country you want to study in.
The biggest advantages that European universities have over American institutions are the price distribution and the diversity of tuition fees. You can find universities that have $0 tuition fees, such as those in Austria or Denmark. Or you can choose a master’s program at a much higher cost, for example in the UK.
3. Life in the Campus of University:
Legendary dorms versus big city life, all sports activities, university facilities and curricula are all conveniently set up to be within walking distance of where students need to go on their courses.
in the United States:
This means that when you apply to a US university, you pay close attention to the type of campus culture your university harbors. Do you want a more study-focused campus, a highly sportive campus or just a place to make friends and have fun?
Although the campus is designed to meet every student-related need, it is not necessarily the only or best hotspot for student activities. Cities with universities offer greater diversity when it comes to places students might find interesting.
Universities in Europe focus more on academic expertise and on extracurricular support. If you are thinking of going to an EU university, you should consider if the city you are going to move to feels lively with you. Are you excited about the opportunities that the city offers?
4. Learning Approach and Teacher Interaction:
American universities are known to focus on relationships and student support, while European institutions are a place of wisdom and critical thinking.
in the United States:
US-based courses and degrees are designed to promote a rigorous learning style. This means that the student has far more points of contact with his mentor and peers than with any European university. Professors also have more working hours for students who need help with their assignments and course materials.
Universities use an individualized learning method. You can find courses that summarize hundreds of students at once, lectures can be viewed online and the exam is usually taken at the end of the course. Also, European institutions pride themselves on teaching their students ways to think, rather than just focusing on sharing knowledge.
5. Course Structure:
in the United States:
When you enroll in a US university, the likelihood that your courses will be organized based on a major and minor is very high.
Minors allow students to use their free electives with intellectual efficacy and accuracy—to take a coherent set of courses that complement studies in an individual’s specialty or to explore an unrelated field of intellectual interests.” In this way, American higher education institutions emphasize the importance of self-exploration and ownership.
European universities tend to take a more traditional approach to their course structure. Masters at most European institutions have a pre-set list of compulsory courses that one needs to take. This is because there is more emphasis on laying the groundwork for students, and allowing them to take the lead in expanding their horizons, especially through research projects. A large number of European universities offer one-year academic programs at master’s level. This aspect contributes to the need for a solid base when it comes to the available curricula.
in the United States:
American institutions pride themselves on having a steady and slower support system, lasting the entire semester. A student in the United States typically has multiple grade points throughout the semester, such as quizzes, individual and group projects, presentations, and tests.
The Lead Professor or Teaching Assistant (TA) is obligated to value each intervention and add it to the student’s overall contribution to the course. This supportive approach allows the professor to provide timely feedback to the student. It also allows the teacher to get a better idea of what needs to be covered again in future lessons.
Spread throughout the year, European universities practice a more individualized learning style. The conduct of examinations in these institutions also reflects this situation. Most universities have one major exam for each course, which usually decides or overburdens the final grade for that course.
The test usually lasts between 1.5 and 3 hours and is held at the end of the semester. These types of tests attempt to assess your knowledge of the course material in one round. In the case of an oral exam, it usually lasts for 20 minutes.
The plus side of this approach is that it gives students more flexibility to learn according to their own learning style, rather than forcing it on them. Most professors also provide adjunct materials that complement the course. This helps students get more depth in the topic they are pursuing.
in the United States:
Enjoy your trip to campus versus a road trip to Paris, anyone?
When you study abroad in the United States, you should go on a traditional road trip with your new classmates. Take the time to drive to places like the Pacific Coast or go Route 66. Experience the different lifestyles of Californians versus real New Yorkers. Join local festivals and parades to get a deeper feel for the culture.
One of the biggest perks that international students mention about studying in Europe is the freedom to go through all the hallmarks common to this continent. Enjoy a quiet morning stroll along the Seine in Paris, try traditional Eastern European foods and drinks, dance at Belgian festivals, go to a typical German village and hike up the mountains of Austria, Italy or Switzerland. There is no activity that you cannot pursue while you are studying in Europe!
- Writing and preparing academic topics
- Curriculum Vitae (CV)
- letter of intent
- Research proposals
- Personal Statement
- Recommendation letter
in addition to full application for scholarships and university admissions).
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