Universities in Europe: All You Need To Know

There are many standard universities in Europe that offer degree and diploma courses.

Universities in Europe are highly respected in the world for their academic standards and students apply to universities in Europe every year.

Is it good to study in universities in Europe?

The very process of studying abroad gives the student not only a proper education but also the experience of interacting with foreign specialists and the opportunity to practice in the chosen field. Although the quality of some European universities is steadily growing every year, and many of them have left some European ones far behind, the desire of students to gain experience of studying abroad is very great.

Peculiarities of universities in Europe

From the first feature of education in Europe, therefore, the second follows – this is the financing of the universities themselves. Of course, it is good to study for free, but it is fraught with its own incidents. European universities are well subsidized by the state and non-profit organizations, but the total amount of their funding differs at times from the funding of British and American universities. This does not mean that there is a big difference in infrastructure between European and American or British universities, but this situation is clearly reflected in the funding of research programs and grants. Therefore, those who plan to receive a Ph.D. in the future should be very careful about the choice among European programs. Strictly speaking, the UK and the US will certainly be the best choices in terms of research funding, but as far as master’s and bachelor’s programs are concerned, there are almost no significant differences.
The only factor that should be paid attention primarily to applicants for bachelor’s programs is the so-called student/teacher ratio, in other words, the number of students in a group. In fact, the European education system does not even have such a concept, but British universities consider this a very important indicator that significantly affects the image of the university. The average student/teacher ratio in the top universities in the UK and USA is 10: 1, that is, the classes are structured so as to pay maximum attention to each student.

Size of study groups in Europe

In European universities, no one has even calculated this indicator. But strictly speaking, the size of study groups primarily depends on the type of educational institution and country. For example, in Spain and France universities are literally overcrowded, so lectures in these countries are reminiscent of the very events when more than a hundred students huddle in the lecture hall and listen to the professor speaking like an orator in the ancient Greek court. For an ordinary student, this is neither good nor bad, since the professor will say the same thing from the department or at the table a couple of meters from the students. But still, in large groups, communication between the lecturer and the student is disrupted, and this, in turn, affects the overall level of academic performance. But for a particular person, the average statistical indicator means little, so academic performance still depends on motivation. In fact, one cannot do without it in any case – the European system of so-called free disciplines, which is completely alien to the student, presupposes independent control of one’s own education.

Are there differences between Old and New Universities in Europe?

The first step is to understand how the universities in Europe differ and in what ways they coincide with the universities in the USA, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand. The education system of these four countries is borrowed from the UK, so it would be logical to include it in this group. It so happened historically that in the Anglo-Saxon countries capitalism took root much deeper than in other countries of the world, and, unfortunately, this fully applies to education. In general, the issue of paid access to universities is quite acute in these countries, while most of Europe has abandoned this almost completely.
Studying at an average American university excluding discounts and scholarships (for which, by the way, there is a lot of competition), will be from 10,000  USD per semester for the cheapest specialty – history, archeology, philosophy, and cultural studies. At about the same price level in Australia and New Zealand, in the UK you can study for 7,000  USD per semester at a good university (but we are not talking about the top ones, like Oxford or Cambridge universities, in which tuition will cost from 9,000  USD ). As for Europe, with the exception of Denmark and the Netherlands, studying at public universities will cost no more than 3,000  USD.in years. However, a number of private European universities sometimes have the same or close to the rates of Cambridge, but in general, regarding the financial side of the issue, it is much cheaper to study in Europe.

Is a diploma from universities in Europe highly valued?

It scarcely needs to be said how highly valued a diploma from a European university is among the european countries and in other continents. And the point here is not only that the European education system, or rather, the nature of Europe’s implementation of the Bologna Process, is the result of a much higher rating of educational programs in Europe.

The Bologna Process

In Europe, education is subject to the same course – the one that was set in the Bologna process. The Bologna Process took place on June 19, 1999, its goal was to unify education systems in most countries of the continent to increase the mobility of students and professors. Prior to that, each country had its own degree system. Accordingly, at times it was extremely difficult to reorient a student, even in a neighboring country, for a new situation, the same applied to academicians, and accordingly hampered international cooperation and scientific progress. Considering that the Bologna process took place relatively recently, not all countries managed to come to a common harmonious system. And the trend is that the universities of Eastern Europe still largely adhere to the old values.

CIS countries vs universities Europe .

The CIS countries in this regard are strikingly different from European universities. Naturally, this gap is narrowing more and more every year, and most of the country’s leading universities have already come close to the European system. But still, our legislation so far limits the development of effective education, and in a frightening majority of cases, the diploma is actually nominal. But, fortunately, its presence, as well as the presence of a school certificate, still opens up students’ access to the European system. But you need to be prepared for what awaits abroad.

System of modules in European universities

Firstly, in most European countries (except Poland ), the above-mentioned liberal arts system is practiced… The student can choose the training modules in accordance with his wishes, that is, he will have to say goodbye to the familiar system of the compulsory lecture schedule. On the one hand, this is very motivating. But there is also a downside to the coin. Unlike some professors, who treat students almost like a parent, giving them the opportunity to retake, reminding them of debts, and sometimes patiently closing their eyes to gaps in education, European professors treat students in a completely different way. In case of academic failure, the student is simply expelled, and this is a very common practice. The royalty rate in some countries is an alarming 40%. This indicates that it is much more difficult to get an education in Europe, pay attention, not to enroll, but to get it, which is much more difficult than in average universities. This requires a lot of motivation and a real dedication to learning. Again, we are talking about large universities with names. But even from a private European college, it is hardly possible to leave with a diploma without doing anything and attending a lecture once a month. Because if it were so, then European private universities would establish themselves for the graduation of which they often do not need anything except money.

How is the master’s degree program in Europe?

As it was already mentioned in the article about the master’s degree in Europe, you need to think carefully about how great the desire to study is. Still, the liberal system of classes in Europe, the openness of teachers to discussions, and a really serious atmosphere have a positive effect on motivation. And if you recall the goal due to which the applicant generally decided to study in Europe, whether it be future work in Geneva or a high position in a large company in Europe, it will not be difficult to find the strength to reorganize to the European system.

Geography of education in Europe – How, where, and what?

Despite the fact that in general education in Europe is subject to the same principle, almost all countries have their own characteristics. For example, as mentioned earlier, education in the Netherlands will cost several times more than in Italy, but on the other hand, the choice of programs in English at Dutch universities is much wider. In this regard, Denmark is also slightly behind, in whose universities the course will cost at least 6,000 kroons, although, on the other hand, Danish universities are considered one of the best in Europe.
It is almost impossible to enter Spain without knowing Spanish, as well as to Iceland – without Icelandic, and to France- without French and in Italy – without Italian, but for the most part, this applies to bachelor’s programs. As for the master’s programs, about half a third are taught in English, but in 99% of cases, it is necessary to have a diploma in the same specialty for which the application is applied (as opposed to the same UK, Australia, and the USA, where this requirement is often not applied). The general rule also applies that in Europe it is almost impossible to receive financial assistance from the state without knowing the national language.

Are the universities in eastern Europe similar?

In general, the countries located closer to the East have more similar to each other educational system. The universities in Estonia and Poland offer master’s programs and their master’s programs have an identical educational system with each other – a strict list of obligatory lectures, and also the opportunity to study in absentia.

Which universities can you really enroll in?

In fact, the answer to this question is everything. Almost. And provided that you did not balance your previous training period between 3 with a minus and 2 with a plus. Of course, some universities pay attention to the GPA on admission, but other parts of the application are no less important, namely the recommendation and the motivation letter. European universities do not have such an indicator as an acceptance rate at all, i.e. rating of applicants. According to the constitutions of most states, access to education should be equal for all, regardless of the circumstances. Nevertheless, we will name a few universities that most often turn out to be the target of some applicants, and often successfully. 

In addition, in each of these universities, the cost of training is around 700 euros per year.

The universities in Europe which some students from around Europe do usually apply to are listed below:-
1. University of Vienna in Austria
2. Milan Technical Institute in Italy
3. Madrid Complutense University in Spain
4. University of Bologna in Italy
5. University of Bonn in Germany
6. University of Lyons in France
7. Charles University in the Czech Republic
8. Stockholm University in Sweden

How to apply to universities in Europe?

Although each country has its own peculiarities, in order to enter European universities, you need to meet several criteria and, of course, make some efforts, prepare for the red tape with documents and decide on finances. Most universities do not have an electronic application system, so documents must be sent in hard copy or sometimes submitted through a consulate. So let’s take a look at what needs to be done to qualify for a place at a European university.

Acquire the appropriate qualifications

In order to enroll in a bachelor’s program, you must have completed at least 12 years of secondary education. The only exceptions are universities in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia. All other members of the European Union do not recognize school certificates as a sufficient basis for admission to the bachelor’s program. Therefore, it will be necessary at least to enter and complete one course in the university or to complete a preparatory program at the chosen university.
For those who are applying for a master’s degree in Europe, you need to be a bachelor of the same specialty in which you plan to study. If you want to drastically change your vocation, then there are two options: universities in Anglo-Saxon countries or admission to a second higher education – in Europe it lasts only 3 years for most specialties.

Learn a language

Which language to learn depends on the program. But ideally, of course, learn the language in the country to which you plan to go. Firstly, in none of the European countries, with the exception of Great Britain itself, is English, not official. Although English is 99% likely to be understood in European capitals, it still doesn’t really change the essence of the matter. Not all programs (with the exception of the Netherlands) are taught in English. And any government scholarship is only available to students who speak the local language. And most of the private scholarships (meaning financial assistance from the university itself) are designed for students of programs in the local language. The programs in English themselves are often more expensive. The only ones who can get by with English are exchange students and masters of certain programs. Usually, the requirement is around 6.5 points for IELTS or 90 TOEFL points.
As for the level of the national language, the requirements are different everywhere, and it is also necessary to prove proficiency in them in different ways. In most cases, you will have to pass an exam at the consulate and receive a certificate, which is issued only if you have at least an Upper-Intermediate level of language proficiency. But for example, Italian universities do not need to provide any evidence at all – testing is carried out after enrollment.

Pass the required exams

In addition to the language exam, applicants sometimes also need to pass some state exams. This applies only to applicants for bachelor’s programs. To find out for sure whether you need to take something other than a language test, you can ask the university. It should also be noted that the exam is conducted in the national language.

As for the masters. 

They probably know what GRE is… If not: The Graduate Record Examination is a standardized test that measures the general level of knowledge gained during your undergraduate studies. The test consists of an essay, linguistic and mathematical parts, conducted entirely in English. So, in some universities in Europe and in most universities in the UK, you can only pass the GRE. At the same time, this test is very difficult, and it is worth preparing for it thoroughly.

Prepare necessary documents.

For all the advantages of living in Europe, one moment still spoils the life of everyone around – this is the ubiquitous and annoying bureaucracy. Just in order to submit an application, you will need to: translate a diploma or certificate, collect recommendations and also translate them, write a letter of motivation, attach a photo, provide a certificate of financial solvency, the results of the necessary tests, and still have time to send all this before the deadline. Not to mention how much time you have to spend on obtaining a visa. It will really make you run and requires tremendous attention. For example, there is a widespread myth that when entering a university in Germany you need to put documents in an envelope in the same order in which they are indicated in the requirements, it is not an empty invention. Sometimes, due to simple formalities, a student is rejected. And you can imagine what a disappointment it can be.

Deal with finances

And of course, an applicant will not go to any university to study if he does not have the money for it. But one of the most pleasant features of education in Europe is that not only does it cost very little, but also the fact that the state often provides financial assistance, and not by the criterion of academic success, but by financial need.


In this article, we looked at exactly how European universities differ from domestic ones, what is the difference between universities in Europe and the United States, how to choose a country of study based on your capabilities, and how, having set a goal, still go to study in a completely different world.

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