Get that Paper Without $pending It: 3 Countries with Free Tuition

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Let’s face it. If you live in certain countries like the US or the UK and you want to go to grad school, you have to put up with skyrocketing tuition fees. Don’t get me wrong. I am sure the education you get at these institutions is top-notch but what if you can’t afford to be saddled with debt your entire adult life? This is especially true if you’ve just finished paying off for your undergrad degree. 

Girl throwing her graduation hat in the air

Go abroad and get that degree for #free

Sinking further into debt seems like a big no-no. So what do you do? Look further afield. Don’t limit your options. Check out the ever-widening host of degree programs abroad, including master's degrees and doctorate degrees in countries that offer free education or really low tuition fees. 

One more time for the people in the back: GO TO GRAD SCHOOL FOR FREE IN ONE OF THESE COUNTRIES WITH FREE TUITION. You can’t find a better deal! 

Check out this list of countries providing free education

Here are five free graduate schools abroad (...or almost free) in three countries that just get it—“it” being that investing in education is a pathway towards a brighter future for all. 

1. Germany

Of course Germany tops our list of countries providing free education. In Germany, higher education includes public universities run by the state and private universities run by independent companies, organizations, and charities.  In general, private universities charge more fees than public ones. Since 2014, the country starting offering “free” tertiary education at all public German universities, removing tuition fees for undergraduate courses. However, some graduate courses did not escape the guillotine. 

So called “free studies” really refer to consecutive studies (where you continue studying in Germany after earning a related bachelor’s degree in the same country) because you only pay semester fees which include paying for enrolment, confirmation, and other administrative costs. On the other hand, if you want to pursue non-consecutive studies (i.e. you studied for your undergrad degree in another country and want to pursue postgrad study in Germany), tuition fees vary according to the program and university. 

When it comes to Phd level studies, tuition is usually free for the first six semesters at all public universities but you have a pay a small contribution every semester to cover admin fees. Also, remember to factor in living expenses. Cities like Munich and Berlin rank in the top 10 QS Student Cities for 2017 but can be pricey so start saving or looking for stipends, scholarships, and grants to cover these costs.

View of Neuschwanstein Castle in Germany

Take a study break at the Neuschwanstein Castle for a change of scenery!

Free schools in Germany to check out:

International Max Planck Research School of Marine Microbiology, Germany

If you’re looking for high-quality postgraduate degrees in science without shelling out a lot of dough, Germany seems like the place to go. The International Max Planck Research School of Marine Microbiology in Bremen offers a Phd and an interdisciplinary MSc in Marine Microbiology (MarMic for short). Get this: it only costs 200 USD per semester, the same amount of money you’d have to fork out if you wanted to stay in a pricey hotel for just one night. What a dream (almost) free international university! 

The Graduate Training Center of Neuroscience, Germany

Do you see yourself as the next Amy Farrah Fowler? The Graduate Training Center of Neuroscience located in Tubingen, Germany promises no tuition fees for master’s and doctoral research students. If you’re looking for a future career in research, science, or academia, this grad school offers top-notch support from leading neuroscientists. Another plus: all courses are taught in English so you don’t have to learn German to ace your papers. This International Max Planck School offers state of the art research for doctoral students and three master’s programs but be warned: places can be competitive. 

The Munich Center for Technology in Society, Germany

Earn a research-oriented Master’s in Science and Technology at the Munich Center for Technology in Society at the Technical University in Munich aka TUM. It only costs 130USD per semester to take a broad range of courses including biotechnology, philosophy, public health, sustainable development, management, and technology. The great thing about this grad school is that it’s interdisciplinary, bringing together scientists, philosophers, historians, and more to explore fields like energy, robotics, and mobility. Bonus: this program is open to worldwide participants and all courses are taught in English. 

See all degree programs in Germany

2. France

Plastic figure standing on top of France on a printed map

Have you started your application yet? (Hint: the correct answer is oui!)

Who doesn’t dream of going to grad school for free in the land that gave the world berets, mayonnaise, and hot air balloons? It’s also giving you free graduate schools! France has an excellent track record when it comes to postgrad study whether they are taught master’s, research master’s, doctorates, and PhDs. Not only that, France has been welcoming international students for years. Even if your French is not up to scratch, there are many universities in France offering a variety of courses in English. 

Like Germany, public universities in France are cheaper than private ones because the fees are set across the board nationally. France also has the edge because in 2017, Paris copped second place on the QS Best Student Cities list of the most student-friendly cities in the world. 

Free schools in France to check out:

Blaise Pascal University, France

If you’re fluent in the language of love, why not study abroad in the heart of Europe? Sign up for a bilingual Master’s in technical communication and information design at Blaise Pascal University. This university is located in Clermont-Ferrand, the world capital for short films, and it’s also close to the largest natural park in France. Hone those cross-cultural skills while rubbing shoulders with students from France, China, Mexico, the Caribbean, Africa, Russia, and Southeast Asia. 

This program partners students with real-life technical writers, local companies, and organizations. It also accepts students from a wide range of backgrounds including education, psychology, web design, mechanical engineering, even linguistics! Program fees cost about $540, which include tuition and health coverage. 

See all degree programs in France

Colorful alleyway in Tokyo, Japan

Earning a degree in Tokyo MUST be part of Ja-plan?!

3. Japan

Many people get scared of Japan because they think it’s too expensive or that Japanese is too hard to learn. Don’t let these things deter you from studying in one of the most amazing countries on the planet. Although there are challenges you will face studying abroad in Japan, they will definitely push you out of your comfort zone and make you a stronger person. In fact, did you know 

Tokyo ranks an impressive number 7 on the list of QS Best Student Cities 2017? Japan’s capital city has a record number of private and public universities offering programs in both Japanese and English at master’s and doctoral levels. If big city life sounds too expensive or overwhelming, head to quieter, more rural parts of Japan where student life can be just as satisfying and cheaper. 

Free schools in Japan to check out:

University of Tokyo, Japan

If you’ve got the brains, going to grad school for free in this fascinating city can become your reality. The prestigious Graduate School of Science at the University of Tokyo offers the Global Science Graduate Course (GSGC) for international students who want to study in Japan. Students who qualify can study for master’s and doctoral programs and receive monthly stipends of 180,000 yen to cover costs. It’s a great (practically) free international university. Subject areas include earth sciences, astrophysics, and other natural sciences. Bonus: Students can learn Japanese and courses are taught in English! 

See all degree programs in Japan

Graduate schools that are $free.99 a year

Map, laptop, journal, and camera laid out on desk.

Free tuition=more travel opportunities (and happy parents)! 

If you do your research, you’ll realize that don’t have to sell a kidney to afford to go to grad school. You can go to grad school for free! Just don’t rush the process. Take the time to choose a program that suits your pocket. Feel free to check out our degree program scholarships page, reach out to different program providers, talk to program alumni, read unbiased program reviews, and compare programs side by side with MyGoAbroad

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