Grad Schools in the UK and Australia

We often rave over the many reasons to study abroad. And they’re all true: From learning a second language to enriching your global perspective, the list of benefits of international studies is long. However, if you’re thinking of pursuing a graduate degree, you may also be wondering whether there are any key differences between grad studies abroad and in your home country. Here’s a closer look at five ways US grad school programs and UK and Australia grad school programs differ.

1. Duration of Study

While the typical master’s degree in the US takes two years, master’s degrees in the UK and Australia can be completed in a much shorter amount of time — many in as little as a year. A PhD, meanwhile, takes around three years in the UK and Australia — compared to five in the US. Not only can trimming time off your degree amp up your earning potential by getting you into the workforce sooner, but you’ll also save money on tuition and living expenses due to the shorter duration.

2. Flexibility

Because US degrees graduate degrees are spread over two years, they are often broader in nature — at least in the beginning. This can be an advantage for students looking for the freedom to explore different specializations and areas of research. In the UK, meanwhile, degrees are more specialized and self-directed. Students who already know what they want to focus on can immediately begin directing their efforts into this area and finish up sooner.

3. Cost

Not only will you pay less due to the shorter degree duration, but tuition fees in the UK and Australia are usually lower than those in the US, too. According to Investopedia, the average cost of tuition for a UK Master’s degree is $20,700 for American students. While tuition for a public US master’s degree is much less at an average of $14,537, the cost of an elite, private school graduate program skyrockets to more than $40,000 a year. One caveat? Funding is plentiful in the US so students may find it easier to offset the high cost.

When every penny adds up, even small savings add up to big ones: Many schools in the UK and Australia don’t require students to take standardized tests like the GRE and GMAT so you’ll also save on test and test prep costs. (A handful of UK universities do have GRE and GMAT requirements, so be sure to check into the admissions requirements for each prospective school.)