Top 12 Destinations for Postgraduate Study in 2024
With the world of international study back in full swing following the coronavirus pandemic, increasing numbers of students are heading abroad for their Masters or PhD. If you’re looking to join them, there’s no shortage of fantastic locations to consider!
We’ve combined the latest data from UNESCO with stats from our own most popular pages to compile a list of the top countries for international study in 2024.
#1 United States of America
Hosting almost 1 million students from overseas, the USA has long claimed the title of world’s most popular study abroad destination – and it’s not hard to see why!
There are over 1,700 American institutions offering postgraduate degrees, seven of which appear in the top 10 universities worldwide according to the 2023 Times Higher Education World Rankings.
Whether you’re more drawn to the famous cosmopolitan attractions of New York City or the sweeping mountainous landscapes that surround Phoenix, you’re bound to find somewhere to call home across the USA’s 50 states.
Browse American Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
#2 United Kingdom
With a historic and world-renowned higher education system and a range of funding opportunities for international students, it’s no surprise that the UK is Europe’s most popular study abroad location by a wide margin.
Several UK institutions are amongst the oldest and more prestigious in the world, including the universities of Oxford and Cambridge.
The UK government is keen to attract talent from overseas and offers generous international awards such as the Chevening, GREAT and Commonwealth scholarships. You’ll also be able to stay in the UK for up to three years after completing your course on the Graduate Route – no strings attached.
Browse UK Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
Sun, sea and sand aren’t all that’s on offer to international students Down Under – you’ll also be able to choose from a selection of world-ranked universities (seven Australian are amongst the top 100 worldwide) and study an internationally recognised qualification.
Australia is one of the world’s fastest growing hotspots for overseas study – the number of international students at Australian universities has more than doubled in the last ten years.
Browse Australian Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
An intellectual powerhouse that has produced eminent academics from Immanuel Kant to Albert Einstein, (and is the birthplace of the modern PhD!) Germany is an excellent choice for postgraduate students.
Better still, the vast majority of public universities charge no tuition fees, both for domestic and international students! Besides a relatively small semester fee of €100-€350, you may be able to earn your Masters or PhD for free.
Browse German Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
The Canadian government has one of the world’s highest state budgets for higher education, meaning a Masters or PhD from one of its globally respected universities is guaranteed to be worth your while!
Canada is also a famously diverse and welcoming country, with over 200 nationalities represented by its student body. Plus, with the world’s second largest landmass, Canada offers no shortage of natural attractions for avid explorers, from vast lakes and cascading waterfalls to jagged mountain ranges and shimmering glaciers.
Browse Canadian Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
France is one of the most affordable options for postgraduate students, charging €243 per year to EU, EEA and Swiss nationals for Masters programmes. PhD students pay just €380 per year regardless of nationality.
The majority of French universities offer postgraduate courses in English – but, of course, living in France as an international student is also a great opportunity to improve your skills in one of the world's most widely-spoken languages!
Browse French Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
Japan is a rising star in the world of international study, with a global reputation of technological innovation and a famously high quality of life. You’ll also graduate in a country with the third largest economy in the world – and plenty of exciting employment opportunities for talented postgraduates.
Browse Japanese Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
Postgraduate study at Turkish universities is competitively cheap – you can study a Masters degree for as little as €120 per year and a PhD for as little as €500! You’ll also enjoy a Mediterranean climate, sandy beaches and world-famous cuisine.
Browse Masters degrees or PhD programmes in Turkey.
#9 United Arab Emirates
The UAE has one of the world’s youngest higher education systems, with it’s oldest university founded in 1976. But its ultra-modern institutions are attracting increasing numbers of international students – and the country is a popular destination for international branches of many global universities (most of which teach primarily in English!).
Browse UAE Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
International study in China is a chance to earn your Masters or PhD in the world’s most populous country with a fast-growing economy and increasing investment in higher education. You’ll benefit from affordable tuition fees and lower living costs compared to many Western countries (accommodation often costs as little as USD $100 per month!).
Browse Chinese Masters degrees or PhD programmes.
#11 The Netherlands
As a Masters or PhD student in the Netherlands, you’ll join a proud academic tradition that has been responsible for a huge range of innovations from the first electric battery to the first central banking system. You’ll find Dutch society extremely welcoming to international students, with most of the population speaking more than one language.
Browse Masters degrees or PhD programmes in the Netherlands.
South America’s second largest country, Argentina has plenty to offer, from some of the world’s best wine to a chance to spy several species of penguin along its vast Atlantic coastline. Argentina’s universities are keen to attract talent from overseas, with many offering scholarships for international students.
Our postgrad newsletter shares courses, funding news, stories and advice