Published on 2013/12/11

Postgraduate Degrees from Abroad: An Easy Decision with Professional Implications

Postgraduate Degrees from Abroad: An Easy Decision with Professional Implications
Earning a postgraduate degree abroad allows adults to gain necessary credentials while learning in a completely different environment.
In today’s competitive workplace, it’s fair to say a graduate degree is the new bachelor’s degree. This is true for individuals of all ages, including seasoned professionals who need to improve their skill set and broaden their knowledge base in order to compete with a highly-skilled young workforce.

Attaining a graduate degree is the next logical step to career advancement. In order to set yourself apart from the educated crowd, you need something unique, and earning a postgraduate degree abroad is the new wave in gold-standard education. Despite the fact that the United States is host to some of the world’s most prestigious universities, there are certain areas of study better undertaken overseas. If your profession requires you to seek out further education in philosophy, archaeology, business, religious studies, Islamic or Middle Eastern studies, there are many places outside of the United States to get a unique and thorough education that will likely serve better than the options available at home.

The origin of your education plays an active role in the quality of your knowledge. There is just something about combining “book learning” with an environment that boosts your involvement in, and absorption of, the information. Also, the new economy is a global economy, and diversifying your knowledge of the world will only serve to benefit you. Studying abroad provides these opportunities and will set you apart when you’re applying for work in the future.

Where are the best international schools located?

The answer to that question depends on what you’re studying. If philosophy is your major, you may find that such a program is great preparation for other disciplines and professional programs including teaching, fine arts, natural and social sciences, psychology, law and business. You will be seeking to gain critical thinking and communication skills, among other things. The highest-ranking universities abroad for studying philosophy include the University of Oxford and the University of Cambridge, both in the United Kingdom. These universities rank first and second respectively.[1]

Business is a popular course of study. According to the World Bank, China is expected to reach its growth target of 7.5 percent by 2014, with strong exports and industrial output contributing to its domestic economy. Given such strong projections, there’s no better place to learn how to do business with East Asia than in China. Doing so will allow you to experience a new culture while studying at the one of best international locations for business. Forbes did a study surveying 45 business schools and their graduates and found that, for an executive master’s of business degree, Beijing’s Cheung Kong Graduate School of Business gave the best return on a student’s investment.

When studying archaeology, religion, Islamic studies or cultural studies, you will find some of the best schools for these subjects are in the United Kingdom and in Israel. Oxbridge ranks second and fourth overall in the world’s best universities, according to the QS World University Rankings.

Going abroad also gives students the opportunity to blend theoretical education with an authentic cultural experience while studying. The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, Israel, allows students to earn a master’s degree in archaeology, Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies or religious studies in the very region in which much of the history for these studies has been, and is still being, made.

Studying abroad comes with more advantages than just receiving excellent education. Usually, housing, tuition and the cost of living is cheaper outside the United States and travelling to nearby countries is another advantage many adult professionals can enjoy.

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[1] QS Top Universities, “ Rankings by Subject 2013: Philosophy,” 2013. Accessed at

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Readers Comments

Cindy Lauer 2013/12/11 at 10:39 am

I think the cultural benefits of studying abroad far outweigh the academic ones. It’s difficult to say as definitely as Bustos suggests that one institution is “better” than another. This determination rests on a number of factors that are unique to each adult student. In some cases, adult students may find that for their program of choice and their needs, it’s better to stay in the United States — so the academic case to leave the country doesn’t hold. What does benefit all adult students, however, is the opportunity to experience a new culture while studying abroad. The experiences these students have can help to supplement their CVs and improve their ability to work with different people in a variety of environments. Students also gain access to a global network. There are many benefits to studying overseas, but academics is unlikely to be one of them.

WA Anderson 2013/12/11 at 1:50 pm

Adult students who have the opportunity should go abroad for their postgraduate education.

One challenge is that there are few services available to help prospective students identify the best programs that fit their needs and arrange the logistics of their overseas credentials (e.g. funding, off-campus housing, etc.) Enrolling in postgraduate education at home is difficult enough, but looking at studying overseas adds another layer.

Mike H 2013/12/11 at 3:29 pm

To be honest, I don’t think this is a very good idea. Adults aren’t looking for cultural exchanges. They are looking for learning opportunities that lead to credentials that can help them enter a new job.

Most American employers are looking for universities they recognize, simply as a cursory quality-control mechanism for a degree. Unless you’re going to one of the preeminant universities in Europe, even the best no-name university in Europe will have less “repuation” among employers than the lowliest local college or university.

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