Postgraduate study overseas

Postgraduate study overseas

Study overseas is certainly a possibility, and could provide just the right opportunity to study with world-class researchers in your field, but you need to begin investigating in the second year of your undergraduate course – don’t leave it until your final year - and consider the following points:

  • You could gain a competitive edge in the employment market because employers increasingly look for applicants with international experience.
  • A rapidly increasing number of postgraduate courses in European countries are taught in English.  However, find out about language requirements and whether you need to take language proficiency tests.
  • Check how a country’s higher educational system differs from that in the UK, as there are rarely direct parallels. For example, PhDs tend to take longer in the US and European countries, and a UK Master’s degree may be an entry requirement for postgraduate study in countries where first degree courses are longer, such as Germany.
  • Be ready to assess the quality of state and private universities; the latter are quite common overseas.
  • You may not be eligible for British student loans or grants if you study abroad, but the situation regarding finance and tuition fees might still be advantageous. Courses at universities within the European Union or European Free Trade Area may be free/heavily subsidised for students from countries in these areas. You might also receive help with living costs from the government of the country where you’re studying if you meet certain eligibility criteria. At universities in the USA, international students may be eligible for grants or fee waivers/bursaries in return for work such as teaching on undergraduate courses.
  • Check out living costs carefully, including things like health insurance.

Information resources:

The University's International Development Office (IDO) supports opportunities for students to work and study abroad.  See further information on the IDO's web pages, including details of scholarships and bursaries which may be available when studying or working abroad. Also ask your departmental year abroad coordinator for advice and information.

For a comprehensive introduction to postgraduate study overseas, visit Graduate Prospects and TARGETpostgrad:

Ploteus is a key portal for information on learning opportunities in Europe.

Eurograduate Information on living, working and studying in Europe – includes a database of courses and research opportunities

Scholarships Times:  International scholarships/financial aid news and updates for higher education

Study, Work, Create on the British Council’s website: All kinds of international opportunities for study, creativity, research and collaboration, work and volunteering overseas

Universities Worldwide: Another site offering a searchable database of links to the websites of universities around the world

The Times Higher Education World University Rankings

Braintrack University Index:  A comprehensive directory of accredited campus and online colleges in the USA

The USA Fulbright Commission provides an information and advisory service for people interested in studying in the USA.

For information about Commonwealth Universities visit the Association of Commonwealth Universities' website. Also see information about the Commonwealth Scholarship & Fellowship Plan on the British Council's website and the website of the Commonwealth Scholarship Commission in the UK.

Opportunities for Language Assistants through the British Council 

The British Council's Generation UK initiative - supporting UK student mobility to China:  A British Council campaign that aims to send over 15,000 UK students to study and intern in China by 2016. There are opportunities for students in any year of study and also for graduates provided that they apply during their final year. A number of British Council scholarships are available.

IDP Education Australia has a worldwide network of activities, helping international students who are interested in studying at Australian institutions.

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