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Study in Britain, Northern Ireland, Ireland, or Scandanavia

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I would really like a Masters degree in something along the lines of development, sustainability, political science, international/globalization themes. I am a Canadian and have been looking into programmes in Britain, Northern Ireland, Ireland, and Scandinavia.

Studying in those areas appeals to me for a number of reasons:

- I love travelling and would value the perspective of a new education system

- It seems like academic entry requirements for intl. students are lower (twice the fees) - I don't have an outstanding academic background

- It seems like a number of programs are 1 year, opposed to 2 year programs in Canada

My preference is to study in the U.K. since I feel the credentials would have more weight (in Canada), and there is a huge selection of programs available. However, I am intrigued by the offerings in Scandinavia. They offer Msc programs with a number of different graduating options (60, 90, and 120 credits or 1 to 2 years). Does anyone know how that would work in terms of credentials in North America? It seems to me like a 60 credit or one-year Swedish program would not have a lot of credibility. But I could be mistaken as most British Msc's are only one year.

Tuition costs seem lower in Northern Ireland - does this scale with the quality of education?

It seems like Irish graduate studies follow a system similar to Britain - can anyone comment on that?

Any general guidance as to how to select (other than individual programs), and how well regarded different education systems may be?


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  • 2 weeks later...

Good luck with your studies, snowballed! I can recommend Sweden. I have a M.A. in a linguistic field from a Swedish university, and a friend of mine has one in some sort of environmental engineering. It was one year, though now I think it's been expanded to two. I don't know how well the degree translates for further study in North America, but it helped me get my ESL teaching job at an American university when I got back, and a Canadian classmate in my program just got a job teaching language at McGill.

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  • 1 month later...

I know this is a bit of a late reply, but; Most european higher educations underwent some major changes with the Bologna process a couple of years ago. Essentially, the process equated the different degrees in a number of EU countries, so a 2 year master in Sweden should be the same level as one in Germany, Spain, wherever.

Also, I got accepted to 5 U.S PhD programs, some top ones, with a Swedish M.Sc. In addition, Swedish university education is free, if that matters at all for you. Feel free to message me if you have any questions about Swedish education :)

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  • 2 months later...

@ BlueSwedeShoes - Swedish universities are charging non-EU citizens (also citizens of EES and Switzerland) from Fall 2011. The following page will indicate if you are eligable for "free education":

@ snowballed - I am currently on my last year of a B.Sc. in Northern Ireland and have nothing bad to say about the country, nor QUB. Because of the last few decades here, I can imagine that there are many interesting topics to study within Politcal Science

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I can’t speak for Political Science, but I know that for History (especially my field)- Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s Belfast are well regarded in Canada (TCD over QUB, though)- Galway too. I think it depends a bit on what you’re studying- if your degree involves anything on the Irish political situation then it would be a great idea to be over there- it would probably give you greater credibility.

Keep in mind that the British tuition system has been undergoing a lot of change recently, and I am not sure how/when it will affect international students. Domestic students in England and Wales will soon see fee hikes- and I know Northern Ireland has decided to re-evaluate its fees as well. The next few years might see a spike in tuition for international students too.

You’re right- it can sometimes be easier to get into a UK school as an international student- the sad truth is, they want your money. If you can afford it, and you think you can handle the programme, then go for it...but beware of debt and make sure that the school you chose is well regarded in your field (I’d suggest checking with some of your current professors). The bigger/more established universities are, of course, well-regarded in Canada (Oxbridge, Edinburgh, St.Andrew’s, York, UCL, LSE...)- but there are some smaller and newer ones with more dubious reputations.

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