Master’s Degrees We Bet You Didn’t Know You Could Get Abroad

by Suzanne Bhagan

Maybe you’ve just dusted off your bachelor’s and looking to up the ante. Maybe you’ve been working for a while and you want to get ahead – fast. Maybe you’re thinking of switching careers completely and need a head start. In all of the above, getting a master’s may be just the thing. But why stop there? Did you always want to study abroad but never got the chance? Or did you go abroad but didn’t really take advantage of the experience?

St. Peters Basilica, the Vatican, Rome
If you’re asking big questions and looking for the meaning of life, a master’s in philosophy or theology abroad could be perfect for you.

Thankfully, life always gives us second chances. Why not get your master's degree abroad? Guess what, the value of getting your master's degree abroad isn't always what it says on your diploma. Students who’ve completed international masters programs prove that they’ve got the guts and gumption to go after their goals, no matter the place. They also are very employable because they can show potential employers that they’re adaptable and actually know what cross-cultural communication skills mean IRL. With that in mind, here are some off-the-wall master’s degrees we bet you didn’t know you pursue doing graduate school abroad.

For Creative Types

Are you fed up of people calling you a drama queen? Channel those pent up emotions the right way by signing up for a master's in acting abroad. Yes, you read that right. A master’s in acting. Why wait tables in Hollywood when you could take your talent to a whole ‘nother level.

What if you’re camera shy, but an ace with words? How about trying your hand at screenwriting? Screenwriters are the unsung heroes of the movie industry, but still make big bucks. Do you see yourself as the next Nick Hornby, Richard Linklater, or Diablo Cody? There are screenwriting international graduate programs in Melbourne, Montreal, or England. Alternatively, if you’re quick on your feet, maybe a master’s in dance will toetally blow movie execs away.

man typing at laptop
If you want to be the next Nora Ephron, pursue your master’s in screenwriting abroad.

For Peacekeepers and Future World Leaders

Who’s gonna save the world tonight? (cue Swedish House Mafia) YOU. Maybe you’re the next Angelina Jolie and you want to save the world, one refugee at a time. Graduate school in Europe might be the choice for you! There are degrees for that abroad, too! Specialize in international peace studies or interreligious and interethnic relations and learn more about the refugee crisis happening now in Europe, Syria, and Sudan. Understand what people are fighting for in other parts of the world. With any of the above named international master’s degrees, you’ll be well on your way to work for the UNHCR or other human rights NGOs, without needing a pushy Hollywood publicist.

For Career Travelers

You’re already racked up thousands of miles traveling to dozens of countries on your bucket list and you still have an insatiable wanderlust. Maybe you’d like to go more behind the scenes in the travel and tourism industry. There are many program options if you want to do a master's degree in travel or tourism around the world, from locations in Spain, Argentina, and China. The world’s your oyster!

Are you a natural behind the lens? Do you see things that other people don’t? While other tourists are busy snapping selfies and annoying people with selfie sticks at the Eiffel Tower, do you head to a French market and shoot the fruit instead? Photography is fast becoming one of the ways you can sustain travel long-term, provided you’ve got the talent and can market your work aggressively. To better your chances, consider getting a master’s in photography. Study for an MFA in Florence, a city that has inspired artists ever since the Renaissance.

UN Peacekeepers in Ghana
With a master’s degree in international peace studies, you could be calling all the shots in the United Nations before you know it.

For Explorers

Channel your inner Indiana Jones and learn what made ancient civilizations tick with a master’s degree in archaeology. Many international graduate programs also allow you to get hands-on digging experience at excavation sites, which will help you build a career in the field more quickly –  prehistoric, historic, classical, and underwater – you name it!

On the other hand, maybe it’s what’s above that fascinates you. If you’re less of an Indy and more of a Sagan, with a master’s in astronomy or astrophysics you can make sense of the stars and other celestial objects at NASA or your country’s observatory.

For Philosophers Asking the Big Questions

What’s the meaning of life? Where do we go when we die? Why do good people suffer? What makes a person do bad things? If you find yourself endlessly pondering these questions with no answers in sight, then maybe you should think about getting a master’s in theology, religious studies, or philosophy. There are international graduate programs aimed at tantalizing the deepest of thinkers. If these heavy questions haven’t sent you spiraling into an existential crisis, here are the five best countries to study religion abroad.

map of yosemite national park with a compass and DSLR with a telephoto lens
Aspiring Ansel Adams’ should shoot (pun intended) for a master’s in photography abroad.

What should you study and where?

We’re bet you’re wondering how to get a masters degree? When thinking about pursuing graduate school abroad, there are two routes you can take. One: decide what you’d like to major in and choose the best international universities in that field, wherever they may be in the world. Two: choose the country or countries you’re dying to go to and pick a major there. It really doesn’t matter which route you choose. Just be confident with your choice.

Another thing you should think about is whether you want to study masters programs abroad in English or in your host country’s native language. If you’re gifted in learning foreign languages, then the sky’s the limit and you can choose to study wherever you want. This way, you’ll get to know the country inside out, like a local. On the other hand, if you’re nervous about studying a specialized subject abroad in a language you aren’t familiar with, don’t despair. Many universities abroad offer courses and full graduate degrees in English to attract more international students. It’s a win-win for you and the university!

You may not know this but many universities abroad offer master’s degrees that are way more affordable than in your home country. For example, in England, it’s normal to finish a master’s program in one year rather than two in the U.S. In the long run, you could be saving tons of cash by finishing your degree in less time. Not only that, you’ll be back in the job market before you know it! Also, in many other countries, tuition fees for two-year master’s programs can be drastically lower than what is offered at home, so check up on that! Even if you can’t afford it, there are also many scholarships or crowdfunding options like FundMyTravel that can help make getting your master’s degree abroad a reality.

antiquity in Turkey, large stone arch.
You won’t be able to get a bullwhip through customs, but you can still live your Indiana Jones dreams with a master’s degree in archaeology.

Whatever you choose, be sure that you’ve done your research about whether the degree fits your needs. Are the courses more academic or more hand-on, giving students practical work experience? What kind of jobs will be available after studying a masters abroad? How long do graduates take before they get employed? Are there many international students on the program? What’s the ratio of home students? Are there good support systems for international students? What about societies that can teach you about the country’s culture? What’s daily life like in the town or area the university is based? Is it out in the boonies or in an urban jungle? What’s fun to do outside of classes?

Answering these questions will help you to narrow down your choices and ensure that the course, university, and country you choose are the perfect fit. Don’t forget to carefully read program reviews and alumni interviews and of course, scan more degree abroad articles right here on GoAbroad for practical tips and advice. You can (and should) save and compare programs side-by-side with MyGoAbroad. Earning a master’s degree abroad is exciting, but also a long-term commitment so take your time when making your final decision.