IR Careers Masters Programs

A cheaper alternative than in the US: Getting your Master’s of International Relations in Europe

For many European students, the cost of American universities are shocking. In Europe, many countries do not have tuition fees. And in countries where universities do, the price tag is much lower than the thousands of dollars required to enroll in the States.

Indeed, the price differences between American and European universities are so acute, it is often cheaper for American students to study in Europe. If you choose to study in cities like London or Paris, living costs are high. Unlike in the U.S., most Europeans do not live on the university campus, and there is little subsidized student accommodation. So always make sure to take into account housing, transportation, and other living costs in determining your overall graduate school budget.

Most European students can take advantage of tuition-free universities, but for international or overseas students there are usually additional fees. Typically, these universities offer financial aid to cover students who cannot afford the costs, especially when such students come from developing countries.

Still, $4,000 or $5,000 for a two-year Master’s degree is much less than the average price in the United States of $20,000-$30,000 per year. Those kinds of prices are common across Europe, except in English-speaking countries. But there are still many other English-language programs across Europe. Studying in a non-English speaking country is an enriching experience, and it can also help you improve your foreign language skills.


Master’s of International Politics

University of Leuven, Belgium


At one of Belgium’s best universities. this Master’s program “aims to provide students with the theoretical and methodological skills necessary to study governance in a globalizing world. With an explicit focus on international politics, the program is geared towards students who are interested in international diplomacy, peace processes, conflict management, global environmental politics, and international political economy. It also offers specialized courses on regional political developments in Europe, China, Russia, Eurasia and the Middle East”.


Master’s in Comparative and International Studies (MACIS) specialized joint master program

University of Zurich, Switzerland

CHF 649

This exciting Master’s program is from a distinguished Swiss university, in cooperation with the Center for Comparative and International Studies. The curriculum of this selective program “concentrates on questions of democracy, political violence, political economy, and sustainable development. All courses are taught in English by a team of internationally renowned professors. With small class sizes, MACIS students benefit from close student-faculty interaction, and an intellectually stimulating environment”.


MA International Relations: Global Governance and Social Theory

University of Bremen and Jacobs University Bremen, Germany


Yes, you read that right: this Master program is completely free, even for overseas students! A Master’s focused on the complexities of international relations, its focus “is the analysis of governance beyond the nation state. This research topic is examined from a political science perspective, and within the context of enduring processes of globalization and increasing cross-border activity. This emphasis on the governance perspective and the explicit integration of general social theoretical questions is a unique feature of the MA in International Relations”.


Master’s in Global Affairs

Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, Spain

4,000 €

This Master’s is quite innovative and truly international. Although its base university is in Spain, the program will take you to Canada and France to investigate key international and human rights institutions. As a student, you “will have the support of policymakers, members of international courts, members of NGOs, and with an international network of students”. This Master’s program is a partner of the United Nations Academic Impact program.


We’d love to hear from any students who have studied at these renowned European universities. What were your experiences like and how international was the study body? What opportunities do you feel you gained from studying abroad from your home country?

Join Ilkmade Sessions And Start With A Free 15 Minute Consultation

Connect With Experts & Mentors In Political Analysis and IR

From post-graduate decisions to career transitions, we’ve been where you are. We created Ilkmade Sessions to offer mentoring and support for politics and International Affairs-focused students and professionals.

Related posts

International Relations Jobs Search Online– Updated July 2021


International Relations Jobs Search Online– Updated June 2020


Finding Your Place in Academia—Lessons From the Field


Leave a Comment