Study Destination

MS in Europe vs USA: Explore Top Universities, Courses, Cost for MS in Europe vs USA

Kashyap Matani

Confused between Europe and USA as a choice for MS program? Well, USA as well as European countries are known for their excellent quality of higher education, magnificent research facilities, and academic freedom. Before applying to top-notch universities for MS in Europe or MS in USA, you must consider a few things. In this article, we will understand the main differences between studying MS in Europe vs USA. This can help you take a call on which destination to choose.

Europe & USA as Destinations for Masters

US and some European countries are the top choices for studying MS abroad. They are home to some of the most prestigious universities in the world. However, the universities in the US seem to be more popular than the ones in Europe.

In Europe, there are a lot of countries to choose from when it comes to pursuing masters of science. Germany, Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark are some of the top choices for pursuing MS in Europe for international students.

The United States has been long known for its prowess in the STEM fields. Wide range of program availability, state of the art research facilities, prestigious institutions, are some of the many reasons to choose the USA for MS.

Suggested: How to choose MS Specialization?

Top Universities for MS in Europe vs USA

Oxford University

Europe is home to some of the most well-known universities in the world. Some of these universities even hold top spots in the global university rankings. The top universities to pursue MS in Europe are:


QS World Ranking 2022

University of Oxford


University of Cambridge


Imperial College London


ETH Zurich - Swiss Federal Institute of Technology


University of Manchester


The United States boasts of some of the most prestigious universities. When you consider any World University Rankings list, you’ll see that 90-100 universities in the top 200 universities in the world for MS or MBA are located in the USA. The top universities for MS in US are:


QS World Ranking 2022

Massachusetts Institute of Technology


Stanford University


Harvard University


California Institute of Technology


University of California-Berkeley


Europe and US both have a huge diversity in terms of the courses that they offer. Here is a quick look at the most popular MS in Europe and MS in USA programs:



MS in Computer Science

MS in Finance

MS in Management

MS in Data Science

MS in Marketing

MS in Computer Science

MS in Psychology

MS in Management Information Systems

MS in Automotive Engineering

MS in Marketing

MS in Robotics

MS in Business Analytics

MS in Electrical Engineering

MS in Pharmacy

Quality of Education for MS: Europe Vs USA

European countries are home to some of the best universities in the world, therefore, the quality of education is high. Universities in Europe offering MS programs are known for their focus on in depth research and practical applications.

The United States is known for its quality of education in higher studies. In fact, when it comes to the STEM courses, US universities occupy the top positions.  The quality of research, use of technology, world renowned faculty and career opportunities are what attract thousands of students to the country every year.

University Organization in Europe and USA

The European universities consist of ‘specific subject colleges' that not only have autonomy from one another but also the university itself. The system is course specific and enables the students to get a thorough understanding of the chosen subject. This implies that the student is expected to have a prior knowledge about the course of interest before applying to the university. So, in European countries more emphasis is laid on understanding the course in depth.

In the United States, on the other hand, the student applies to the university and takes courses in various fields before selecting the specialization at the end of the first year, enabling him/her to acquire a range of knowledge on varied subjects. Therefore, higher education in the US is focused not only on the depth, but also on the breadth of the curriculum.

Admission Requirements for MS: Europe Vs USA

The admission process and requirement differ not only between countries but universities as well. Here are a few prominent differences of admission requirements for MS in Europe Vs USA.



A student should have completed 15 years of undergraduate education.

A student must complete 16 years of schooling (12 + 4 years).

Scores that may be required:



Minimum score requirement in




Some European countries may require students to learn foreign languages.

E.g., learning German level A1 and A2 is a prerequisite in many German universities for MS

No additional language Requirements

European universities usually require less documentation for their application process

American universities usually require a number of documents for admission.

Course Duration for MS in Europe vs USA

One important difference between the education system in the US and Europe is the amount of time it takes to finish the degree program.

In European Universities, the duration of a masters or MS program is 1-2 years. This is relatively shorter when compared to US

In the US, it takes about one and a half to 2 years to complete the master’s program.  The advantage of a longer course in the USA is that you can intern in the summers and/or do a Research or a Teaching Assistantship along with your course.

Academic Term for MS in European Universities

The European courses usually start by mid-September and take a break around Christmas to mid-January. MS in European universities have semester or trimester system depending upon the university. The deadlines of applying to the USA are much earlier than that of their European counterparts.

Most of the American universities commence in mid to late August or early September and take a break from mid-December to early January. The semester pattern varies from University to University – it can be a trimester or a quarter system as well. A majority of the intakes happen in Fall (August), and some are open to Spring (Jan) intake as well.

Cost of MS in Europe Vs USA for International Students


Cost is one of the most important factors that impacts a student’s decision in choosing the university. Cost of studying in Europe is relatively less than the cost of studying in the United States.

Here is an overview of cost of studying MS in Europe Vs USA



Cost of Studying MS may go up to €15,000 (18000 USD approx.) per year.

Average fee for private institutions in the US is around $40,000 per year, and a bit on the lower side in the public Universities

Cost of living varies from country to country. The average cost of living can be estimated at around 15,000 USD per year

The cost of living varies between states and can vary between 10,000 – 15,000 USD per year.

Scholarships are available.

Scholarships amounting to 16 billion euros are available every year.

Scholarships and grants are available. Other than that, students can avail assistantships like RA, TA or a GA, which helps reduce the cost to a great extent.

Homework and Grading at European Universities Vs US Universities

Most European institutes are lecture based with occasional or no assignments at all. End semester exam plays an essential role in the final grading of an individual. The exam lasts for about 1.5- 3 hours and evaluates the student’s knowledge of the complete course materials.

In the United States, courses require weekly assignments in the form of minor projects, presentations, and research papers. The final grade of the student combines a student's performance in projects and assignments. Hence, the American curriculum stresses more on practical knowledge as compared to European universities.

Employment Opportunities after Completing MS in Europe Vs USA

The job opportunities in Europe are limited for international students. Also, work permits in European countries are slightly more stringent.

The United States of America is the destination for you if you wish to work abroad after completion of your MS. The country offers several job opportunities such as Optional Practice Training (OPT), an easier work permit, for MS graduates. Therefore, the US would be preferable if your goal is to recover your educational expenses by working in a foreign country. Apart from this, most of the Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Apple, Microsoft, etc. are located in America, making it the Technological Hub of the world.

Student Life in Europe Vs USA

usa nyc

Studying at European Universities can be a lot of fun for students. The universities in Europe are beaming with international students from around the world. As a student, you will have access to some of the most iconic places in Europe. Go on a drive to another country, enjoy food and drinks and indulge in some adventure.

The United States is known for its vibrant student and campus life. There are plenty of extra-curricular activities and clubs that a student can be a part of. The dorm culture is an experience every international student love in the United States as it gives them the opportunity to witness true diversity.

So, in conclusion, we can state that while both US and European universities provide extensive theoretical as well as practical knowledge, there are several differences between the two. For example, while Europe is better in terms of cost, US offers more opportunities for work post completion of the degree.  Before you take the life changing decision of selecting your dream university for pursuing MS, take into account all of the factors mentioned above.

All the Best!

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