How to Apply to a University in the European Union (EU/EEA) in 2020

Europe is so awesome, it’s probably one of the only political and economic unions that genuinely has fans. Just like Taylor Swift has Swifties and Batman has Batmaniacs, the European Union has an army of nerds that follow it and scream every time it passes another law.

Find Masters in Europe

And, honestly, you should be such a nerd, too! Because the EU is amazing!

From the fact that they have a single market, to the fact that you can travel from country to country with only your ID, to our common history that somehow brought us closer together, the EU / EEA is an amazing place to live.

And, not to mention, study!

What you need to know about the EU/EEA before applying

Ok, so…

The European Union isn’t the same thing as Europe. If the EU is a very complicated social-political entity that allows only some countries to have some perks, like peace between countries (peace is a perk, yes!), freedom of movement, and economic growth; Europe is a whole continent!

That’s why, although they are, geographically, within Europe, countries and states like Turkey, Ukraine, and Vatican City State are not in the EU/EEA.

Ah, and speaking of EEA.

The European Economic Area (EEA) has some of the countries that didn’t want, for political reasons, to be in the EU, but still wanted to provide free movement of persons and goods. These countries are Liechtenstein, Norway, and Iceland. And because things aren’t complicated enough, here comes Switzerland, who is neither EU nor EEA, but it still wanted to be inside the single market, which means that countries can trade between themselves without extra tariffs or restrictions.

Now that you know so much about the EU/EEA region that you could write a book, here’s how you can apply to a Master’s in the different regions of the EU/EEA.

Apply to a Masters degree in Scandinavia

1. Applying to a university in Northern Europe

Everybody has a special relationship with Northern Europe, the ‘cool kids’ of Europe. Notoriously beautiful and cold, the Scandinavian countries – Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland – are always the top destinations for international and even EU students.

First of all, to study at a university is free, because they understand how important education is for everybody. Secondly, expect some truly high prices: even if you, as a student, have a lot of discounts and ways to save money, you should go prepared to cough up some really impressive dough. For further reading, you can check out more on:

Thirdly, you should know about the application process in Scandinavia. The Nordic countries have the sweet habit of not giving a fig about the country you come from. Are you not an EU citizen? Go back to the line and present the same documents that everybody needs to present.

And, because they have a special bond, probably from surviving the Vikings and the band ABBA together, they also have a special provision in each other’s consulates and embassies, that you can apply for visas and residence permits anywhere you want. So, if you want to study in Denmark, but the embassy is too far, then just apply at the embassy of Sweden, and you’re set.

And, since we’re on the subject of cool Nordic countries to study in, we have to give a shout out to Estonia.

Honestly, this hidden gem of international studying is buried in the Baltic countries, and it is so breathtakingly gorgeous and such a heaven for students, that you can’t miss the opportunity of applying to an Estonian university.

If this region caught your attention, then be sure to check out universities like:

Check out Masters in Northern Europe.

Study an international degree in Central Europe

2. Applying to a university in Central Europe

Ok, these countries are more Central-Eastern European, but this is my list, so if I say that they are Central, then I’m right!

But, just because you know some myths about Eastern Europe from the movie ‘Eurotrip’, that doesn’t mean that Austria, Hungary, and Poland aren’t awesome destinations you should definitively consider.

Although education isn’t free, as in the North, tuition fees and living costs tend to be waaaay lower than average (you can live really comfortable with 460 EUR/month in Poland, but that would only be your accommodation money in France, for instance).

Of course, the system of applying can be a bit more paper-based, so, if you kinda hate trees, this region is perfect for you. As per usual, the important steps are:

And, because we haven’t finished being helpful, be sure to check out:

Check out Masters in Central Europe.

Apply to Masters in Europe

3. Applying to a university in Western Europe

Okay, this will take some text…

Usually, when you decide on the Master’s degree you want to pursue, you have to take into consideration not only the fun-I-will-have-the-time-of-my-life part of studying abroad, but also the pedigree of the country you wish to study in.

That’s why Western Europe is such a prize destination: besides the famous cities and the great landmarks, you will also get to pick your future place of study based solely on what you wish to study.

That’s why you can’t go wrong if you study:

And, seeing how different these countries are (but still cool, nonetheless), you should also be sure to understand each application process for each country. So, without further ado:

I know the information may be a lot to process, but, in the end, if you find the right university for you, it will be worth it. And, speaking on the right universities:

Check out Masters in Western Europe.

4. Applying to a university in Southern Europe

Get your sunglasses and your cocktails and let’s talk vacation-destinations.

Southern Europe, or, more specifically, countries like Spain, Italy, Greece, and Portugal were made for you, if want to write your thesis while dipping your feet in the clearest seawater in the world.

There should come as no surprise that international students tend to pick these countries for their studies, especially if they want to immerse themselves in a very defined culture and peoples who have no idea what ‘personal space’ or ‘I ate enough, already!’ mean.

Study a Master's degree in Southern Europe

But that’s not the only reason people want to study in the warmest part of Europe.

Besides offering great degrees both in English and Spanish / Italian, the application process to a university here and the costs of living are very accessible, so it can’t get any better than this.

Oh, no, wait! YES IT CAN!

We have expertly explained how to apply in these cool countries, so check out:

And, because we care, then you should know that the unis we recommend are:

Check out Masters in Southern Europe.

Applying to an EU university as a non-EU student

If you’re from outside the EU, the perk of travelling through countries freely is still open to you. If you have your passport and got a student visa for a certain country, you can still hop through the other ones, so that’s pretty cool.

But, on the other hand, your tuition fee may be higher than those for EU students. The explanation is usually that the government of certain countries offer subsidies to universities that open their doors to EU/EEA students.

Also, another thing that will differ is that the application process is shorter for non-EU students. As well as the quota of international places for a certain degree in countries (Denmark, Germany, Netherlands are some of the countries that can only accept 1.500 international students for Dentistry, for instance).

But, still. Europe is awesome, so don’t hold anything against it.

So, now that you know everything there is to know (EVER) about the EU/EEA, it’s time for you to figure out which of these regions / countries works best for you and start applying to Master’s in your dream university.

Compare Masters in Europe

Explore more than 70000 Master's programmes from all around the world with Studyportals.

All disciplines


Hey there 👋🏼

We are Studyportals, the #1 education platform to find your best matching studies for free.

What are you interested in studying?