Study Abroad – A US vs. UK Masters- cost comparison

The summer between my Junior and Senior year of University I did a study abroad in Ireland. I already knew I wanted to enter Academia and become a researcher. Many of us there were Americans and a discussion at the Pub after fieldwork came around to where we planned to go to graduate school. The majority of us said different universities across the U.S. One American said she wanted to go to the UK. 

The conversation nearly came to a halt because it was something none of us had considered so we asked her why. She told us it was cheaper, the tuition is lower, and depending on where you live, the living expenses will be cheaper. In addition, the programs only last a year or so, unlike the 2 years in the U.S. 

That night all of us began to run the numbers on tuition costs and all of us realized we would save thousands of dollars by studying abroad in the U.K. After I returned home, I began to figure out how much I would really save by going to study abroad and I made an entire spreadsheet for it.

As a disclaimer, these numbers are for 2020/2021, especially because the numbers I used are no longer valid since they are 6 years old. Additionally, I will be comparing only the schools I looked at, which in the U.S. were Univ. of Tennessee, Montana State, and Texas A&M. In the U.K. I looked at Southampton, Bradford, and ultimately attended Oxford

The comparison- 2020-2021 year

Those denoted with an asterisk were published on the respective university websites


Tuition- Based on out-of-state status

  • UT – $31,798*
  • MSU – $35,363
  • TAMU – $38,543


  • UT – $13,312*
  • MSU – $10,100*
  • TAMU – $12,650

Transportation- Car, parking, insurance

  • UT – $1664
  • MSU – $1664
  • TAMU – $3,328

Food, Toiletries, etc.

  • UT – $4,360
  • MSU – $4,000
  • TAMU- $4,528*

Program period 

  • UT – 2 years
  • MSU – 2 years
  • TAMU- 2 years

Total as a baseline

  •  UT -$103,068
  • MSU – $94,800
  • TAMU – $ 118,098


Tuition – Based on international status

  • Oxford – £24,910*
  • Southampton – £18,812*
  • Bradford – £19,890*


  • Oxford – £9,120*
  • Southampton – £10,531.50*
  • Bradford – £6,080*

Transportation – based on a bike and bus pass

  • Oxford – £200 + £585
  • Southampton –  £200 + £335
  • Bradford – £200 + £510

Food, Toiletries, etc.

  • Oxford – £4,620*
  • Southampton – £2080*
  • Bradford – £3315*

Program period 

  • Oxford – 1 year
  • Southampton – 1 year
  • Bradford – 1 year

Total as a baseline

  • Oxford – £39,435
  • Southampton – £31,958.50
  • Bradford – £29,995

I think you have to agree after visually seeing this list. You’d want to go and study abroad in the U.K. too. This is why I say it is cheaper than the U.S. So, my comparison was with out-of-state schools since my state did not have a  program I was looking for. Whereas these ones did. If you decide on a program that is available in your state then in-state tends to be cheaper. You will have to check the requirements for each state school for that. 

You can always apply for funding for the U.S schools so you do not have to pay that big price tag but I knew going to the U.K. was the financially sane option for me. It might be for you too. 

The ideal thing about studying in a different country is it is a whole new experience, which that part is essentially free if you take out the education costs out of the equation.

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