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How Much is a Master's Degree?

This article will guide you through the average cost of a Master's degree for different institutions and degree types.

Apr 2, 2024
  • Education
How much is a Master's degree?

The cost of a Master's degree can pose a barrier to many students, so you need to know how much exactly you can expect to pay and think about funding in advance. This guide will help you get an idea of how much is a Master's degree in different countries and across multiple degree types.

Average cost of a Master's degree


Depending on your citizenship, institution type, and the country you want to study in, a Master's degree can cost anywhere from $0 to $100,000 per year. The US National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) states the average total graduate tuition and fees in 2022 to be $20,500, while the median cost is $11,500 for public institutions and $24,500 for private.

Here are some other average costs of a Master's degree around the world:

CountryAverage annual fees
UK£8,740 for UK citizens, £17,100 for international students
CanadaCAD $10,000 for Canadians, $21,100 for international students
AustraliaAUD $35,000 for all students
Netherlands €2,530 for EU/EEA/Switzerland citizens, €14,000 for others

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Average cost of a Master’s degree in the US

Source: NCES National Postsecondary Student Aid Study of Graduate Students, all amounts are in 2024 dollars

The type of institution you choose largely impacts the cost of your Master's degree. Public institutions generally have lower tuition fees, while private nonprofit ones can charge you about 50% more.

Institution typeMedian tuition and fees per year
Public$12,600
Private for-profit$9,600
Private nonprofit$19,400

Another important factor is the degree type. Master's degrees in Teaching and Education remain among the cheapest with the government supporting teachers in many ways. On the other hand, programs for Master's of Public Health and Social Work can cost about twice as much.

Graduate degree programMedian tuition and fees per yearMedian total cost per year
Master of Education or Teaching$8,420$23,900
Master of Public Administration or Policy$9,380$27,300
Master of Arts (MA)$10,800$28,500
Master of Business Administration (MBA)$11,900$27,700
Other programs$12,000$31,000
Master of Science (MS)$12,800$30,900
Master of Public Health (MPH)$15,500$38,700
Master of Social Work (MSW)$16,800$36,000

Keep in mind that tuition wouldn't be the only expense. Course material costs and living expenses can raise the actual cost of attendance by up to 250%.

How much is a Master's degree: most and least expensive grad scools

Most and least expensive graduate schools

Source: univstats.com

For the academic year 2023-2024, the most expensive graduate school in the US is Claremont McKenna College with $68,500 annual tuition and fees. This private non-profit institution welcomed 1,389 students this year and has an acceptance rate of 10.35%.

The second and third places in this list are taken by the University of Southern California and Vassar College with annual tuition and fees of $68,100 and $67,800 respectively.

Albright College tops the list of least expensive graduate schools with tuition and fees of $1,510 per year. Following closely are the University of Montana-Western and Cabrini University with annual costs of $1,930 and $2,355.

The cheapest Master's degrees

One of the most cost-effective countries for graduate studies is France. Master's degrees are offered for only €243 per year for EU/EEA/Swiss citizens, regardless of their course. The cost of living is also relatively low - €700 per month. With its internationally acclaimed universities and rich culture, it is in the top 5 among the top study destinations.

Another very attractive country to study abroad is Brazil. The tuition fee for all international students at public universities is free. Not only that but the living expenses amount to only $600 a month. However, you should keep in mind that the admission is very competitive.

If you're willing to invest your time in learning a language before getting your graduate degree, the Czech Republic might be the country for you. All courses at public universities taught in Czech are completely free for everyone. The costs of living are very low too - about €450 per month on average.

Read more: The Cheapest Countries to Study in Europe for Master's Students

Highest paying Master's degrees

The Master's major with the highest average salary is Computer Science according to the report from NACE. The projection of average monthly pay for the Class of 2023 was $110,000. Other majors in the top 3 are Engineering and Business with an average annual salary range of $87,976-$98,036.

An MBA opens many doors to high-paying positions in various industries. The Corporate Recruiters Survey by the Graduate Management Admission Council showed that recent MBA graduates can expect to earn around $115,000 yearly, which means that their degree could pay off within the first year of full-time employment.

Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) is also among the most valuable degrees. The top public MSN programs cost $27,000 per year on average, while for private schools it can be significantly higher - up to $100,000 per year. The median annual wage for Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners is around $125,900.

Read more: Master's Degree Salary Guide

How to save on a Master's degree

The most straightforward way is to apply for a scholarship. Depending on your field of study and location, the grant can cover from a small percentage of fees to full studying expenses and even offer you a stipend. If you don't have many academic achievements but are passionate and genuinely need funding, you can also research for need-based scholarships.

To get started, you can check out scholarships offered by Keystone:

Sometimes schools don't disclose the actual cost of attendance and only state the tuition fees. You should be aware of that and plan your budget accordingly. Try to find information about campus prices and other expenses and see where you can save money. For example, you can stay with your parents, or, in some cases, renting an apartment can be cheaper than living in the dorms.

Conclusion

The cost of a Master's degree can vary widely depending on many factors, such as your nationality, the country you want to study in, the program, and the institution type. On average, you can expect to pay $20,500 per year for tuition and other required fees.

When considering pursuing a graduate degree, you should assess the potential benefits and whether your degree would pay off. There are ways to reduce the cost, but it's always good to have a plan for funding the tuition and fees in full.

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Keystone Team

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The Keystone Team is comprised of experienced educators and advisors dedicated to providing valuable resources and advice to students all over the world.

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