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Study in Europe – Universities, Courses, Student Visa, Work Permit

by Anup chowdhury
Study in Europe

Study in Europe – The Europe 2020 strategy is European Unions agenda for growth and jobs in the current decade. This 10-year plan was initiated in 2010 and was a way to dampen the adverse effects of the economic crisis that was at its peak in 2008. Academic experts around the world are impressed because education, R & D and innovation has been given key importance in the strategy. Such a clean focus has led to a rise in the demand for highly skilled labors in the EU which has become an attractive factor for overseas students. Now that the Europe 2020 strategy is culminating into an overall progress of the education sector in the EU, Europe has become a preferred region for pursuing higher studies.

According to a data by Eurostat, 1.7 million students from foreign lands are studying in Europe. The highest share of these students were pursuing either a bachelors degree (45.6%) or a masters degree (41.9%), while 9.3% were studying for doctoral degrees and 3.1 % followed short-cycle courses. 

Based on the QS World University Rankings 2020, UKs higher education system leads in Europe.  Universities in the UK rank amongst the top 10 universities in the world, while 2 Swiss universities (ETH Zurich and EPFL) rank amongst the top 20. Apart from the UK, other European nations that have a large number of entries in the QS ranking table are Germany and France. Due to such a great number of university options in Europe, it is not easy to choose the one thats best for you.

Hence, in this article we explore in detail  why you should study in Europe, top universities and courses, study visa, post study work permit, jobs, and life in Europe.

Study Abroad

Study in Europe – Why Study in Europe?

Top 6 reasons to choose Europe as study abroad destination:

  1. A boost to your career
  2. World class education and research
  3. Variety of education options
  4. Low tuition fees
  5. Easy travelling across Europe
  6. Options to study courses in English Language

Europe currently attracts 45% of all international students worldwide and European universities make sure that they stay competitive to fetch the best talents globally. One can research the EU commissions Study in Europe initiative (that provides a platform to disperse information regarding the higher education systems of European countries) to learn more .

Have you finished with your Class 12 studies? Looking for study abroad options? Read Study in Germany after Class 12 here.

Study in Europe – Popular European Universities

There are many universities in Europe to choose from for higher studies. We will be covering only the top countries where international students wish to study and aspire for a dream career. The European Union (EU) is composed of 27 member states. The UK exited out of the EU after Brexit happened in early 2020.

You can study for free (no tuition fees or low) in some of the European countries. Read the blog – Study abroad for free.

Top  EU Countries for International Students

  1. Austria
  2. Germany
  3. France
  4. Switzerland 
  5. Belgium
  6. Nordic Countries – Denmark, Norway and Sweden


In Austria, there are 8 universities which are listed in the top of  QS World University Rankings. The country is landlocked while sharing borders with 8 neighboring European countries. Austria is perfectly located for travel adventures around Europe.

Why study in Austria?

  1. Austria offers 6 kinds of higher education institutions – 
    • 22 Universities (including 6 Universities of the Arts, 3 Medical Universities and 3 Technical Universities)
    • 16 Private Universities
    • 21 Universities of Applied Sciences
    • 14 University Colleges of Teacher Education
  2. There are various programmes that are taught in English
  3. Theres a big and diverse community of international students 
  4. The country is known to provide great social security and economic stability
  5. Students can visit exciting cultural attractions and enjoy the spectacular outdoors activities

Top ranked Austrian universities, as per QS rankings:

  1. University of Vienna
  2. Vienna University of Technology
  3. University of Innsbruck
  4. Technical University Graz
  5. Johannes Kepler University Linz

Facts about University of Vienna – Top ranked university of Austria

University of Vienna is the oldest university in the German-speaking world and one of the largest in Central Europe. Currently, about 91,000 students are enrolled at the University of Vienna. 188 courses can be taken, of which 56 are Bachelor Programmes, 117 Master Programmes, 4 Diploma Programmes and 11 PhD Programmes. With staff of 9,400 employees, 6,700 of whom are academic, the University of Vienna is the largest teaching and research institution in Austria. 


Why study in Germany?

  1. As per Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Germany is the world’s most popular study abroad destination after the US and UK and it offers great higher education, job opportunities and excellent living conditions.
  2. There are several prestigious universities in Germany which increases the reputation of the Western Europe. TU Munich (61 rank in QS), LMU (62 rank) and University of Heidelberg (64 rank). Every major city in Germany has at least one university that is top ranked.
  3. Germany offers high quality of life, relatively low tuition fees and decent post-graduation employment prospects. 
  4. The students do not have to bear any tuition fees, except at the universities in Baden-Wrttemberg region of Germany.

Top ranked German universities, as per QS rankings:

  1. Technical University of Munich (TUM)
  2. Ludwig Maximilians University Munich
  3. Heidelberg University
  4. Humboldt University Berlin
  5. Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

Study Abroad


Why study in France?

  1. French institutions have an impressive presence in the international rankings with 10 of its universities located in its capital city Paris. 
  2. PSL Research University is ranked 53rd in the global rankings and 13th in Europe. Besides, there are around 35 French universities that are top – ranked. 
  3. Frances strong academic structure, methods, and artistic traditions attract a number of international students each year. Management studies is quite popular in France and France is home to top business schools like ESCP Europe, ESSEC Business School, HEC Paris and INSEAD.
  4. France offers a great multicultural study experience, bringing together cultures from all over the world. 
  5. Students appreciate the beautiful, developed cities and the great variety of social life available. 
  6. Impressions about French culture and city life are overall more positive than the European average. 

Top ranked French universities, as per QS rankings:

  1. Universit PSL
  2. cole Polytechnique
  3. Sorbonne University
  4. CentraleSuplec
  5. ENS de Lyon

Do you know you can pursue courses in English Language in France? Read here Study in France in English


Why study in Switzerland?

  1. Switzerland is the only nation after the US and the UK that has one of its universities ranked amongst the top 10 universities in the world. 
  2. Based on the StudyPortals International Student Satisfaction Awards of 2014, more than 7,000 students reviewed their international study experience with the help of the worlds largest database of international student experiences – STeXX.eu. 228 students shared 530 comments related to their experience of studying in Switzerland, finally giving an excellent rating of 8.9 out of 10.
  3. There are top-quality universities and facilities that generally exceed students needs.
  4. Students are pleased with the compact class sizes, practical courses and diverse research opportunities. Overall, students are more satisfied with the academics in Switzerland than in any other European nation.

Top ranked Swiss universities, as per QS rankings:

  1. ETH Zurich
  2. Ecole Polytechnique Fdrale de Lausanne (EPFL)
  3. University of Zurich
  4. University of Geneva
  5. University of Bern


Why study in Belgium?

  1. Apart from being world-renowned for its chocolates and beer, Belgium is also famous for its excellent educational establishments. The small, cosmopolitan nation played an important role in shaping the Europe we know today, and its capital, Brussels, is the seat of the European Union government.
  2. One can get many international opportunities for post-degree employment and even enjoy several networking opportunities. 
  3. The student facilities are excellent, and the universities are also very keen on helping students with a range of guidance and support opportunities.
  4. Belgium has three official languages – Dutch, French and German and so you can learn a new language and  gain access to native speakers throughout the country. 

Top ranked Swiss universities, as per QS rankings:

  1. KU Leuven
  2. Ghent University
  3. Universit Catholique de Louvain
  4. Vrije University Brussels 
  5. University of Antwerp


Studying in Scandinavian countries is a rich experience for international students. Scandinavia covers 4% of the European population, and is the combination of 5 countries that occupy the 7th largest area in the world. Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland offer international students a rich history and vibrant culture. 


Denmark is known for having the happiest people in the world and the capital city, Copenhagen is a hub for international students. These students pursue courses like International Business, Sustainability and Political Sciences. Arts and visual course programmes are also popular amongst the students. Students get to engage with activists, researchers, and like-minded entrepreneurs through study tours and case work during their course period.


Norway, a place with an enriching culture and picturesque landscape, has a lot to offer for study abroad aspirants. There are a lot of course program options available in cities like Kristiansand, Oslo, Trondheim and Bergen. Students find courses in Culture, History, Geography, Geology quite attractive to pursue in Norway.


Thriving Swedish cities offer a lot to international students in terms of academic courses and post-study job opportunities. Students opt for courses in Arts, History, Architecture, Social Work, Political Science, Economics, and Education. With quite many  world-class universities, and around 800 study programmes in English on offer, Sweden attracts countless international students every year.


Study in Europe – Courses to pursue in Europe

You can pursue a variety of courses in Europe in English. To begin with, you need to do a bit of research on the courses, intakes, fees, accomodation, city and language of course conduct.


  1. Administrative Studies
  2. Architecture
  3. Arts
  4. Design
  5. Aviation
  6. Business
  7. Construction
  8. Cosmetology
  9. Education
  10. Environmental studies
  11. Fashion
  12. Languages
  13. Law studies
  14. General studies
  15. Journalism and communication
  16. Natural Sciences
  17. Sustainability studies
  18. Technology studies
  19. Tourism and hospitality
  20. Self improvement
  21. Engineering
  22. Life sciences
  23. Management studies
  24. Social Sciences
  25. Performing Arts


Germany is popular for Engineering courses. International students aspiring for postgraduate engineering programmes find that the courses have intensive research work, and that they get invaluable study abroad experience, high-quality education, career and migration possibilities, and low-cost studies in Germany.


In Austria, the following course are quite popular:

  1. Business Management
  2. Economics
  3. History
  4. International Business
  5. Mechanical Engineering


In Belgium, the most popular courses that international students pursue are:

  1. Financial Management
  2. Masters in Management in Science
  3. International political Economy


Some of the top UG and PG popular courses in French universities are:

  1. Software Engineering
  2. IT
  3. Data and Business Analytics
  4. Fashion and Luxury Retail Management
  5. International Business
  6. International Marketing
  7. Banking and Finance
  8. Entrepreneurship and Innovation
  9. Financial Markets and Investments


Switzerland mostly attracts students in the following streams:

  1. Business and Finance
  2. Hotel Management
  3. Communication and PR
  4. Management studies
  5. International Hospitality Management
  6. Sports Management

Study in Europe – Student Visa & Work Permit

International students can apply for different types of visa to study in  Europe: 

  1. Schengen Visa
  2. Residence Permit/Long stay visa

In the following section, we will cover information on student and post-study work visas on some of the popular study abroad destinations in the EU like Germany, France and Belgium.

Want to looks for job opportunities in Germany? Read the blog Post study work permit Germany


Studies up to 3 months in Germany or in other European countries do not require a student visa, and a SCHENGEN VISA will do. 

If you are planning for a  course with a duration of more than 3 months,  you need a STUDENT PERMIT OR RESIDENCE PERMIT. 

There are 3 types of visa for international students who wish to study in Germany: 

  1. German Student Visa – German student visa process takes up to 25 days on average. It can even take up to 3 months for many applications to be processed. For full details, check out  German student visa article. 
  2. Applicant Visa – Applicant visas are required if you would like to apply for university admission in person.
  3. Language Visa – You need a Language visa to study a German language course at a German institution. 

International students can apply for post-study work permit after completing postgraduate studies from a German university. The visa can be extended for up to 18 months and if you have got a job during the permit, then you can apply for EU Blue Card for long term residence plans in Europe.

Do you know that you can work while you study in Germany? Read the blog Why study in Germany


France attracts 3,00,000 international students across the globe every year. If you are a non EU student, you need to apply for a visa to study in France, just like for any other European country. 

The visa types students can apply for to study in France are: 

  1. Visa for Entrance Exam
  2. Temporary Long Term Visa – This visa allows you to stay in France for 2-12 months for higher studies, travel freely across Europe and get social security benefits from the French Government.
  3. Long Term Visa (VLS-TS) – VLS-TS allows students to look for jobs after graduate studies in France. With this visa, you can work for up to  20 hours per week and travel across Europe.

You can also apply for a Schengen visa (which is common for all European countries) if your course duration is less than 3 months. 

Do you want to looks for jobs after your graduate? Read the blog Post study work permit France


As an international student, you will need to contact your nearest Belgian embassy or consulate in your country for visa application. The embassy will help you determine if you need a student visa, and will guide you through the visa application. The information regarding Belgian visa applications can be found on the website of the Foreigners Department of the Federal Public Service (FPS) for Home Affairs, available to read in French, Dutch and English. As an international student, youll need to apply for a national long-stay visa (D visa), which allows you to stay longer than 90 days in Belgium.

To know about Residence Permit in Europe in Details, read the article – Residency in Europe

Study in Europe – FAQs

Q. Which is the best country to study abroad?

A. European countries such as Germany, France, Netherlands, Belgium, UK, Ireland, Italy and others are quite popular among international students. They are at fierce competition with US, UK and Canada. The study abroad destination suitable for you depends on where you want to study and which course you want to study. These days, it's quite competitive to get into top universities in European universities, so you have to be academically strong and have good language exam scores and work experience (depending on the eligibility conditions mentioned for the course you are applying).

Q. How much does it cost to study in Europe?

A. Austrian average tuition fees are approx. EUR 700 per semester for international students at all levels and the average living costs are EUR 11,400 per year. In Belgium, average tuition fees are around EUR 4,175 per year for non-EU students. The average living costs in Belgium are EUR 10,200-11,400 per year. The average tuition fees for studies in Denmark is EUR 6,000-16,000 per year for international students and the average living costs are EUR 14,400 per year. In Germany, an international student has to pay no fees (except administrative annual fees) at undergraduate and PhD level at public universities. You have to pay around EUR 20,000 per year for most non-consecutive masters programs elsewhere in Germany. Average living costs in Germany are around EUR 10,200 per year.

Q. Can I study in Europe for free?

A. Some of the European Countries like Germany, Norway and Finland have no tuition fees for EU or Non EU students at all study levels, but countries like UK, Ireland, France, Netherlands & Nordic nations have tuition fees that vary at UG, PG or PhD level). You can check whether the course and country you are interested in applying for, asks for tuition fees or not. All in all, compared to US, UK or Canada, you do get an opportunity to study without paying hefty tuition fees at UG or PG level in some of the countries in Europe.

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