With a long history of pioneering higher education, Europe is home to many of the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities – and many of the most exciting and attractive student cities. European countries, and their universities, are of course all very different – in terms of language, lifestyle and living costs.
One look at the QS World University Rankings® 2019, and you’ll see the UK remains Europe’s leader at the top of the tables, with four UK universities in the top 10 and a total of 18 UK entries in the top 100. Of these, the University of Oxford leads in fifth place, while the University of Cambridge is unsurprisingly not far behind at sixth. Switzerland also has two universities ranked within the global top 25, with ETH Zurich in seventh place and EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne) 22nd. Other top European universities include France’s Paris Sciences et Lettres Research University (PSL) (ranked 50th in the world) and Ecole Polytechnique (65th), the Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology (52nd), Denmark’s University of Copenhagen (=79th), Germany’s Technische Universität München (61st).
Under the Bologna Process, European universities are working to standardize degree systems. For EU students, choosing to study in Europe outside your home country should be relatively straightforward, with tuition fees charged at local rates and no visa requirements. Higher education study programs in Europe are categorized per cycles following the European Higher Education Area guidelines, i.e., first cycle programs = bachelor's degrees; second cycle programs = master's degrees; and third cycle programs = PhD degrees. The ECTS system lets you understand your workload. In Europe, one school year equals 60 ECTS. First cycle programs are worth 180 - 240 ECTS; second cycle programs are worth 60 - 120 ECTS; while third cycle programs don't have a specific ECTS range.
There are different application deadlines for EU and Non-EU students. In Europe, the school year runs from September to June, usually with two intakes. There are different application deadlines for EU and non-EU students. If you are a non-EU student, we recommend you to start your application for studies in Europe at least one year in advance in order to meet all the deadlines.
Education in Europe is highly subsidized through taxes. Europeans enjoy either no tuition fees or very affordable fees for higher education programs. Non-EU students are usually charged either full tuition fees, no fees or moderate fees depending on the program, institution and country.
The European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) disseminates information, experiences and good practices in the field of quality assurance (QA) in higher education to QA agencies, public authorities and higher education institutions in the European Higher Education Area. It is a membership organization, comprising 51 agencies in 28 countries, and was established in 2000 following a recommendation from the Council of the European Union in 1998.
The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR) was established by ENQA, the European Students' Union (ESI), the European University Association (EUA) and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE) – the European representative bodies of quality assurance agencies, students, universities and other higher education institutions – to increase the transparency of quality assurance in higher education across Europe. EQAR publishes and manages a register of quality assurance agencies that substantially comply with the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG) to provide the public with clear and reliable information on quality assurance agencies operating in Europe. The register is web-based and freely accessible.
If you are thinking of studying in Europe for more than 90 days, you will have to apply for a residence permit in the country of your choice. Some countries require international students to apply for a permit before arriving to Europe.
Which European country is the best place to find a job after studying there? A recent report, by higher education data experts QS, holds that a student’s biggest consideration when choosing a college is the possibility of landing a good job after graduation. The Times Higher Education employability ratings accesses the graduate prospects for every major university. Back in 2015, universities in a handful of countries dominated the top 50 positions in the listing. Universities in the US and UK occupy most of the top slots. Other European countries with a notable presence in the listing are Switzerland, Germany, Holland and France. All in all, universities that boast of good links to the industry and an impeccable repute among local employers make up part of the equation for international students. There are other considerations too, such as finding accommodation and visa restrictions.