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How to Choose a Masters Degree or PhD Program in Europe


Europe is a large place and has a huge variety of universities and cities – not to mention countries! Therefore the decision of where to study a masters degree or PhD program can be a difficult one.

Review rankings

How do choose what postgraduate program to studyThere are many university ranking lists to help narrow down your choice.

For a wider view of the best universities in Europe, the world university ranking list is most useful and can be found at This website lists all of the universities in the world, and can be narrowed down by city rankings, subject rankings, Asian rankings and Latin America rankings. This website analyses the universities in terms of the population of undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as how good the research, facilities and innovation is at the universities.

The top universities in the world and in Europe can also be found at The Times Higher Education website. They can be viewed by subject or area, and this list will include the ranking number, the country and a score out of 100, which is based on an overall score, teaching, research and international outlook.

Reputation counts

The reputation of a university is an important aspect when deciding where to study a postgraduate course and one that should not be overlooked. The university rankings lists can help in understanding the different universities’ reputations. There are many European universities which have excellent reputations such as the University of Oxford, Imperial College London, etc, and such universities will require high academic achievements and a fair amount of work experience and extra-curricular activities.

However bear in mind that university rankings lists do not always help in deciding where the best place is to study certain subjects. Some subjects, such as journalism, may not be included in the league tables, and when this issue occurs, the best thing to do is to research a variety of European universities which do offer the subject area you are interested in, and try to gain a deeper knowledge of the reputation of the course and of the university. There may be some universities that are great in some subject areas and not so specialist in other subject areas. The best place to start looking for this information is on the individual university’s website.

Fabulous facilities

Facilities offered by universities can help in the decision of where to study – for example, if a school or department offers a great deal of facilities such as research rooms, study and computer rooms, or up-to-the-minute technological equipment. Depending on what postgraduate course you are opting for the state of the facilities can be an extremely important factor when deciding what institution to study at in Europe. An example of this is City University London, which has an excellent reputation for its Masters in Journalism program and actually provides students with television and radio studios to work in. Facilities such as this are very useful and advantageous when studying a postgraduate course. Another aspect of facilities to consider when choosing your institution are the sports facilities and societies on offer.

Sports & societies

Good sports facilities are important for those who like to keep active and they should be offered at a reasonable student price. A wide range of societies to join could also be a consideration in terms of adding to your extra-curricular activities as well as maintaining current interests and finding out about new ones. It is also a great way to meet new people and other students.

Resurrect relationships

If you have previously studied at a European university then you may have access and knowledge about staff in various departments you are interested in. This can be good in terms of emailing them to find out more about the courses and facilities offered at the university. If you have a prior relationship with a potential supervisor then they may be able to provide you with more information about a certain postgraduate course or subject or put you in touch with someone who can answer any questions you may have. It is also good to email them questions because it shows your interest in the subject and your keenness about the course.