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10 Best Countries for Pursuing Your Master’s or PhD Degree!

Finding the right opportunity and deciding where to pursue your PhD or master’s studies can be hard. The conditions vary from country to country, and your choice will depend on your interests, what is being offered, your financial situation, and many other factors. If you are in need of some inspiration and guidance for where to search for your graduate study experience, I have compiled a list of countries that have diverse options, good quality education, and scholarship opportunities for you to explore.

We all know that finding the right opportunity can be quite a strain as we spend hours surfing the web trying to find the right one. But, don’t give up! As long as you put effort into your search, the right opportunity will be there for you!

To make your search easier and more effective, make sure you use all the tools that are available to you. The search engine shows you all the opportunities that are available in a certain country and whether you are eligible. It also gives you access to application guides and webinars that can help you take your application to the next level. So, get to researching opportunities and hopefully you will find your dream chance to study abroad in one of these countries.


Germany is a very attractive country for graduate studies, demonstrated by the fact that around 4,000 international graduates finish their doctorate in Germany every year. The country offers a high standard of living with affordable living costs compared to other European countries.

When in Germany, you also get to enjoy beautiful cities with splendid architecture that’s both modern and historical (they have amazing castles and forts), sausages, Oktoberfest, and many other things that will definitely fill out your study breaks. Germany will truly provide you with a wonderful place to live. But, let’s get back to the serious part: what is the graduate education like?

Germany offers both individual classical doctoral programs where you work on your research project with a supervisor, and structured PhD programs where you follow a program with a group of students and your thesis is related to a pre-set topic. Many of these programs are in English and are directed towards international students. Although most master's programs are in German, you can find English programs as well. You can find a list here.

So, many options are out there and the good news is that scholarships, research grants, and paid PhD positions are plentiful. You can find governmental scholarships like DAAD or Erasmus +, as well as a number of others. There is a list with some of the scholarships here.


I know for a fact that Sweden is an amazing country for graduate studies because I finished my master’s studies there on a governmental scholarship from the Swedish Institute. This country offers wonderful nature, kind and open-minded people, a safe environment, a lot of fika (coffee and cookie breaks), and many other things ripe for exploration. If you want to study in an international surrounding and to be in a place where diversity thrives, this is where you should go!

Your education will be of high quality and you will experience the Swedish spirit of innovation in whatever field of study you choose. A Swedish education will give you the opportunity to express your opinions, critically evaluate information, and be independent, and most importantly it gives you the opportunity to explore your interests within the field(s) of your study and build confidence in it. European Union citizens usually don’t have to pay tuition, while people coming from other countries do. There are a number of scholarships available. You can search for scholarships from universities you are interested in attending or explore the governmental scholarships from the Swedish Institute. The good news for aspiring PhD students is that a majority of the PhD positions in Sweden are paid full-time working positions and they are very diverse. You can find more information about what it is like to be a PhD student in Sweden here and here.

If you choose Sweden, you will definitely be in for a great academic and life adventure. You can read a little bit about my experiences in Sweden here.

United Kingdom

Education in the UK can really open up a lot of opportunities for you. Look at Sesinam Dagadu, an international student from Ghana who finished his master’s studies at Warwick University. He is now an entrepreneur that developed a system by which ambulances can locate people in the most remote parts of Ghana. Alison Sawyer from the USA studied at the University of Leeds and went on to create a business called Rebellion Photonics, which aims to make the oil and gas industry safer and cleaner. They both claim that their education in the UK really helped widen their horizons. You can read more about their experiences here and here.

There is much to expect from the home of many prestigious institutions like Oxford and Cambridge! The UK definitely makes it to the top of the list of countries where your graduate experience will leave you satisfied and looking back on it with a smile. Exploring historic cities, including London, has many points of interest for everybody.

The UK has a wide selection of one-year master's programs, as well as longer research-focused master’s and PhD programs. Although, studying in the UK can get expensive, almost all UK universities offer some type of scholarship, so it is definitely worth looking for scholarships from the universities you are interested in. Of course, governmental scholarships exist as well and you can find a list on the British Council website.


This country has always sounded so exotic and appealing to me, and I really hope I get to visit it someday. Why wouldn’t I, with all the stories of adventures, bustling cities, exciting culture, and art that we hear about? Also, every single person from Australia I’ve seen or met has been polite, positive, and nice.

But, for our list today, the important thing is that Australia can offer you internationally diverse, world renowned education and research opportunities in many areas. Although all fields can give you a high quality education, Australia is especially popular for people studying natural sciences like biology, zoology, and chemistry, as well as engineering, social sciences, medical sciences, and others.

Australia has reached the list of the most expensive countries to study abroad, but luckily there is a wide array of governments scholarships and other organizations that offer scholarships.


Who doesn’t enjoy a good pot of instant noodles or a nice night of karaoke with friends? Two of the first associations we have with this country are innovation and technology. With state-of-the-art products like electric vehicles, digital cameras, optical fibers, and artificial hearts, as well as instant noodles and karaoke, Japan’s good reputation precedes it and that is why so many people would like to pursue their studies there! In addition to having high quality education, Japan also offers a truly fascinating culture, low crime rate, and a safe environment with a lot of diversity with thousands of international students that decide to pursue their studies there each year.

Although the majority of programs are in Japanese and you very often need to prove your Japanese language skills even for scholarships, there are full degree programs in diverse fields from applied bio-science to social sciences at all study levels, including some in English. The good news is that there are numerous scholarships that are offered. You can check them out here and here.


Another land of innovation, technology, and diversity! The USA has been the dream study destination for many students, due to a high standard of living, high quality education, and opportunities available during and after studies. It is hard to find people who haven’t heard of famous schools like Harvard, MIT, Stanford, and Caltech, which are 5 of the top ten universities globally according to QS World University education rankings.

There are plenty of choices and chances with over 1,000 universities that offer graduate education! Although the education costs are quite high in the USA, it is brimming with scholarships, financial aid, and research grants. For example, you can check out the Fulbright foreign student scholarship program that allows graduate students to pursue studies and research in the USA. Many opportunities are out there, so start your search.


In addition to heavenly waffles and high quality diverse education opportunities, Belgium also offers very rich opportunities to network. Brussels is not only the capital of Belgium, but it is also the capital of the EU and home to more than 1,000 international organizations and companies.

You can find a wide breadth of programs at all levels of study. There are many options for pursuing your doctoral degree that really focus you on research and state-of-the-art individualized courses and supervision. Similar to other countries on our list, Belgium has many scholarship opportunities and you can find some of them here.


Norway has been topping lists as the best place to live for a long time! The lovely nature, magical fjords, kind people, and high standard of living definitely have something to do with its ranking.

The educational system is also of high quality and it offers many programs and opportunities for research. You can be admitted to Norwegian courses, but if your Norwegian language skills are not up to par yet, there are 200 master's degrees taught in English. As Norway aims to be at the forefront of research, there are many opportunities to hone your research skills as well. You can find more information about studying in Norway and available scholarships on their official site.


Just mentioning a couple of famous Austrians like Mozart and Freud is enough for you to understand the rich culture, history, and education you can discover in Austria. Art exhibitions, concerts, festivals and folklore events, beautiful nature, skiing and hiking opportunities, and high quality education are more than enough to sell you on the idea of exploring Austria and all it has to offer for graduate education.

Austria has a diverse choice of master’s and doctoral programs, both in English and German, as well as a number of scholarships. You can browse through the programs that interest you here.


Picturesque Canada offers many opportunities for you to enjoy. With a high standard of living, vibrant large cities, and smaller places where one can find peace and nature, many things are at your disposal. It has two official languages, English and French, which broaden your study options!

Canada invests a lot in developing education and attracting foreign talent, therefore the opportunities for finding a high quality graduate program are numerous. Government and industries have opened up a lot of opportunities for research, especially in fields like telecommunications, medicine, agriculture, computer technology, and environmental science. Although the education is of high quality, it is usually more affordable than in countries like the USA or the UK. Opportunities for funding are also available.


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