Skip to content

Best Colleges In Europe For American Students

Last Updated on November 24, 2022 by Ibrahim Agboola

Thinking about going all in for your international education? Earning a full degree abroad at a foreign university is undoubtedly a large commitment, but one that will pay off in equal measure. An international degree program will give you the opportunity to break out of your comfort zone, learn another language, and undergo total cultural immersion in life abroad.

Whatever subject you wish to pursue, there are degree programs abroad and international colleges for American students in all shapes and sizes to fit your interests and goals — as such, it’s important to spend a considerable amount of time researching and weighing your options to decide which path feels like the right one for you.

Different countries and universities have different specialties and education systems, but the following is a list of the best international universities for American students, including the top countries to earn your degree abroad, regardless of what field you choose to explore.

Best Colleges In Europe For American Students

Amidst the stress of the college search, there are few ideas as romantic and enticing as studying abroad in a foreign country. Picture carrying your book bag along the river Seine as you take in the sights and sounds of Paris, or hopping on a quick flight to the sunny beaches of the Mediterranean for spring break.

It might sound like a fairy tale, but when you think about the logistics of moving to a foreign country — possibly where a foreign language is spoken — and encountering an educational system far different from your own, it sounds more daunting than idyllic. Whether you’re dreaming about a semester abroad or completing your entire degree in a foreign country, if the idea of studying in foreign lands makes you feel nervous, you’re not alone. Luckily, there’s an option for folks who want to experience living in a different country while keeping some semblance of familiarity: American universities abroad.

American universities in Europe are a great option for studying abroad — especially if you don’t speak the local language. Classes at American universities are taught entirely in English, so you can give yourself time to pick up the language while adjusting to a new country and culture. You’ll also be more familiar with the curriculum, as American universities follow the traditional American higher education system. While European universities don’t offer a lot of flexibility when it comes to selecting your courses, at an American university, you’ll be able to select from a wide range of general education and elective classes in addition to classes for your major.

There are also some logistical advantages to attending an American university in Europe. If you qualify for financial aid in the U.S., you may be able to use this aid towards your tuition at an American university abroad. These universities will also allow you to transfer credits to a college back in the U.S., or vice versa if you’re not planning on completing your full degree abroad. The transfer process would likely be more difficult if you were to attend a European university, as their classes might not match as well to American courses.

When weighing your options for American universities in Europe, it’s important to make sure that you attend an accredited university. These universities will allow easier access to top graduate schools and employment opportunities, and their credits are more easily transferred. An accredited university carries the best reputation and will make your life easier when it comes time to relocate back to the States.

If you’re ready to do all or part of your degree abroad, here is our list of the top 10 American universities in Europe.

1. University of Evansville in Grantham, England

Have you ever imagined yourself taking classes in a Victorian Manor House? If you study at Harlaxton College, part of the University of Evansville in Grantham, England, you won’t just take classes in this Manor House — you’ll live there too. This university provides students the chance to learn about British history through a required British studies course.

You’ll also have plenty of opportunities to travel through England and around the world, as there are faculty-led programs available in China, Israel, Trinidad, and more. In-country excursions are also facilitated by the school, and they’re a great way to get to know fellow students while seeing more of England.

2. The American University of Paris in Paris, France

If the idea of practicing your French while you stroll across from the Eiffel Tower sounds like a dream come true, then The American University of Paris (AUP) might be the place for you. Created as a liberal arts college, AUP is centered on their motto: “Preparing students from everywhere to thrive anywhere.”

AUP is known for its emphasis on interdisciplinary and cross-cultural studies. Students are challenged in the classroom and able to explore what many call the most beautiful city in the world outside of the classroom. At AUP, you can take classes with students from an astounding 108 different nationalities all in one place.

3. American University Center of Provence in Provence, France

If you’re interested in studying in France but would like to explore somewhere other than Paris, the American University Center of Provence (AUCP) may be a better option. For serious French language students, this university offers intensive French immersion programs in Aix-en-Provence and Marseille.

Unlike the American University of Paris, you will experience total immersion in all-french classes, and you’ll even stay with a French host family. Although it may seem a little scary at first, this level of immersion is one of the best ways to become fluent, and many students leave this program feeling like they speak French like a native speaker.

4. The American International University in London in Richmond Hill & Kensington, England

London is a city with endless amounts of sights to explore and bustling activity. The American International University in London (AIUL), located at two different campuses in West London, offers you the chance to live in this fast-paced city and receive a degree that would be both UK and U.S. accredited. In fact, the AIUL is the first and only UK university that is able to award these dual degrees.

An education here will open up even more doors for employment, especially if you decide to continue living abroad after graduation. With a range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, the AIUL also offers internship and study opportunities in countries around the world.

5. Franklin University Switzerland in Lugano, Switzerland

If a smaller, liberal arts college sounds appealing to you, then you may want to take a look at Franklin University Switzerland in the small city of Lugano, Switzerland. Accredited both in the U.S. and in Switzerland, Franklin is also the only university in Switzerland where you can receive an interdisciplinary liberal arts degree.

The dual accreditation would allow you to pursue job opportunities both in the U.S. and Switzerland. And after student activities such as hiking and picnicking in the Swiss Alps and tasting the finest cheese and chocolates the country has to offer, there’s a good chance you’ll never want to leave.

6. The American College of Greece in Athens, Greece

Incredible food, dancing, culture, and history — what’s not to love about Greece? The American College of Greece is the oldest accredited American university in Europe, and it also happens to be the largest private university in Greece. The college is made up of the school of business and economics, the school of liberal arts and sciences, the Frances Rich school of fine and performing arts, the school of graduate and professional education, and the graduate business school.

Along with a rigorous academic program, you’ll also be able to explore the breathtaking city of Athens. As a student, you’ll get the opportunity to study at partner institutions around the world.

7. John Cabot University in Rome, Italy

Studying Italian? Longing to try the best pizza and pasta in the world? Always dreamed of setting foot on the Spanish Steps? Studying at John Cabot University in Rome, Italy might be for you.

Located in the heart of Rome, John Cabot offers small class sizes for its students, with most classes ranging from 12 to 15 students. This intimate setting allows you to have a more personalized educational experience, and you’ll get to know your classmates — who come from all over the world — very well. John Cabot offers several different housing options, each with their own experience, and arranges a variety of trips and activities for all students.

8. American College of Thessaloniki in Thessaloniki, Greece

The incredible city of Thessaloniki is home to the American College of Thessaloniki (ACT), a school that sits on an astounding 45-acre campus. The ACT is comprised of students from Greece and over 30 different countries, all following an advanced program that is accredited both in the U.S. and with Open University in the UK.

Student life at the ACT features lots of opportunities to get involved in the school and the community through workshops, clubs, field trips, and volunteer opportunities. Spend your weekdays following a top academic program, and your weekends hiking Mount Olympus with new friends.

9. The American University of Rome in Rome, Italy

Another wonderful option in the city of Rome, the American University of Rome (AUR) is the oldest U.S. accredited institution in Rome. Sitting on a hill overlooking the city, you’ll spend your days receiving a world-class liberal arts education that extends beyond the classroom walls.

Many professors at the AUR compliment their lectures with on-site visits to historic locations. Learn about history, culture, and art while exploring the places you’ve only seen in textbooks. Many of the faculty at the AUR are also award-winning scholars, which gives you the opportunity to learn from the very best. The AUR also boasts a more affordable tuition rate than many private American universities, at just over $34,000 per year.

10. American College Dublin in Dublin, Ireland

Dublin is a city of culture and history that boasts something for everyone — from strolling through the peaceful St. Stephen’s Green to visiting the Temple Bar District on a night out. The American College Dublin (ACD) is located in the heart of the city, with both undergraduate and graduate programs available.

This liberal arts school strives for smaller class sizes in the hopes of creating a more intimate learning environment. Professors seek to engage students through active participation instead of simple lectures. The ACD boasts a high success rate, with many graduates continuing on to pursue a graduate degree. If you’re captivated by Ireland and long for a personal educational experience, the ACD is exactly what you’re looking for.

As you can see, the options for studying at an American university in Europe are many. From Paris to Rome to Athens, these schools give you the opportunity to travel internationally and live in some of the world’s most iconic cities, all while earning your degree. For many young adults, American universities are the perfect blend of foreign and familiar. If you’re hoping to study in a place that’s not on this list, take a look at the Association of American International Colleges & Universities, which has a network of international schools all over the globe. Whatever you choose, be prepared for one of the most memorable experiences of your lifetime.

Countries Where US Students Can Study For Free In Europe

Why pay heavy tuition fees at home when you can study in some of the best cities in Europe for free?

Statistics show that in 2015/16 the average tuition fees at an in-state public college were $9,410 and a whopping $32,405 at private colleges. These high fees are one of the reasons why US students are choosing to jump across the pond to Europe, a continent famous for its culture and history and increasingly known for its free degrees. Here’s a list of 8 of the countries where American students can study for free in Europe:

1. Germany

Germany_Countries US Students Study for Free

One of Europe’s economic strongholds, Germany is known for being friendly and welcoming to international visitors. Not only has the country got some of the best and cheapest student cities in the world, the high level of English spoken in the country makes it a great choice for US students.

Germany is the fourth most popular country in the world for international students, and that’s because its universities have completely done away with tuition fees for students of any nationality. Berlin, Munich and Frankfurt are some of the top destinations in Germany for international students and Student.com offers accommodation in all of them. In all, we offer student accommodation in Germany in over 30 cities.

Believing education to be a right rather than a privilege, Germany is leading the way in making a university degree possible for all. In June 2015, more than 4,600 US students were fully enrolled at Germany universities, an increase of 20% over the previous three years. There are over 1,000 programmes taught in English by German universities, meaning language need not be an issue in getting your degree.

Data from the German Academic Exchange Service shows that monthly living expenses for students in Germany are currently around $960. This includes rent, transport, food and entertainment. It’s worth noting that even though tuition is completely free at German public universities, there will be a small semester fee to support the student union and related activities. This costs from $55-$280 each semester.

Humboldt University in Berlin and the Technical University of Munich are among the highly-ranked German universities that charge no tuition fees to American students.

2. France

Countries US Students Study Free Europe_France

Paris is well-known as one of the best student cities in the world and continues to top polls year after year. Outside of the capital, there are the historical cities of Lyon or Toulouse to consider if you want to mix university life with a touch of the ancient. Montpellier, an hour’s drive from the Mediterranean beach, is the other major student city in France – a quarter of its residents are enrolled at a university. You can also check all of our student accommodation options in France – we list apartments in over 50 cities!

If you are an American who would like to study in France then we have très bien news – it will cost you almost nothing. University tuition at public institutions in France incurs only a small fee of $208 per year for an undergraduate degree and $290 for a masters. Be aware, though, that these costs do not apply to the Grandes Ecoles universities in France who will charge much higher tuition fees. As well as boasting several of the world’s best universities, France is known for its internationally acclaimed specialist business schools such as ESCP Europe, ESSEC Business School, HEC Paris and INSEAD.

To enrol as a student in France you must submit an application to the school that you wish to attend including passport details, plus proof of your grades. American students will need a visa to study in France which is applied for through the CEF procedure run by CampusFrance. Under French law, you need to show evidence that you have enough funds to cover your expenses while studying within the country, and if your course is going to be taught in French you must also prove proficiency in the language.

3. Iceland

Countries US Students Study Free_Iceland

The real-life land of ice and fire is a fantastic choice for US students who want to save money on their tuition fees. Where else can you balance your study with sitting in a natural hot spring and staring at the northern lights?

Amazingly, all public colleges in Iceland are free for American students. International students make up 5% of all students in the country. The University of Iceland, located in the capital Reykjavik, is one of the largest in Iceland and does not charge any tuition fees. There is, however, an annual registration fee of $600 for American students. Applicants must have an equivalent level of education to the Icelandic matriculation examination. In general, courses are taught in the Icelandic language but there are a few postgraduate programmes provided in English by the University of Iceland, Reykjavík University and the University of Akureyri.

Students are advised that they will need around $980 per month to cover their accommodation and living expenses in Iceland. Americans studying in the Iceland for longer than three months will need to apply for a residence permit once they have secured a place at a university.

4. Norway

Countries US Students Study Free Europe_Norway

American students can reap the benefits of paying no tuition fees at any of the country’s state universities. The University of Oslo, University of Bergen, University of Stavanger, Norwegian University of Life Sciences, University of Agder and the University of Nordland are some of the colleges that are free for US students.

However, living expenses in Norway can be high. Students are will need around $1700 per month to cover the cost of accommodation, food, transport and leisure activities. There is usually a small semester fee to pay of $35-$75, too.

The Norwegian Universities and College Admission Service (NUCAS) is the coordinator of undergraduate admission. US applications will need to submit evidence of their high school graduation diploma and one year of academic university or college studies or three Advanced Placement Tests with at least grade three, according to the admissions guide GSU-list. For courses where the instruction is in Norwegian proof of proficiency in the language is also essential.

Although Oslo is the obvious choice in Norway, the city of Tromsø is also great for students. As well as being home to the northernmost university in the world, Universitetet i Tromsø, the ‘Paris of the North’ has all the quintessential Norwegian charms – reindeer, huskies and an icy coastline visited by whales.

5. Finland

Countries US Students Study Free_Helsinki

Finland currently offers free tuition fees for US students at all universities, both at undergraduate and postgraduate level. However, from 2017 this is set to change somewhat. Although fees will be added by some institutions for American citizens, some Doctorate level studies and all programmes taught in Finnish or Swedish will remain free.

US students can apply to Finnish universities online, either directly to the university or via the centralized admissions service University Admissions Finland (UAF).. It is necessary to obtain a residence permit before entering Finland to study, as well as having access to funds of at least $7,375 to cover expenses for a year (although the cost of living in Finland is likely to be higher than this).

Helsinki on Finland’s south coast is by far the largest urban area in the country. The city is home to the University of Helsinki and Aalto University, the top two colleges in Finland. It’s a great place to enjoy the renowned high quality of life, technological advancements and extreme seasons of this Nordic gem.

6. Sweden

Countries US Students Study Free_Sweden

Many Swedish universities provide free PhD tuition to American citizens, and even better, most of the programmes are taught in English. PhD positions in Sweden are usually offered as paid positions by universities or external funding bodies, so you not only study for free but earn a salary, too. Alternatively, a range of scholarship options are available for American students.

As of February 2016, the fee for US students to apply to study in Sweden is $110. You’ll also need at least $1,000 per month to cover living expenses. Americans can apply via Sweden’s centralized university admissions application portal, Universityadmissions.se. A residence permit is required before you enter the country.

Sweden is home to several world-leading universities. Research university Uppsala is the oldest having been founded in 1477. It ranks among the best universities in Northern Europe and it is quite prominent in internationally, too. Lund University and the KTH Royal Institute of Technology are in the world’s top 100 colleges.

7. Slovenia

Countries US Students Study Free Europe

An underrated corner of Europe tucked between Italy and Croatia, compact Slovenia provides the best of the mountains and the beach with excellent travel opportunities to neighbouring countries. Slovenia in fact has a highly-rated education system considered one of the best in the EU. The University of Ljubljana, in the city of the same name, is considered Slovenia’s main university and is one of the largest colleges in the world. It was Slovenia’s only university until the University of Maribor opened in 1975. Undoubtedly, Ljubljana is one of the prettiest European cities to attend university.

Slovenian universities usually charge American students tuition fees for undergraduate study, but similar to Sweden there are plenty of opportunities to gain a free Doctorate qualification. Apply directly to the university you wish to attend with a secondary school qualification certificate or degree certificate from a recognized university. About 150 English programs are available, and often Americans will need to pay a small registration fee when they enroll.

Student accommodation is cheap in Slovenia. Private housing starts from $220 per month while a university dormitory is under $150. A coffee is $1.60 and a meal in a moderately-priced restaurant not more than $15.

8. Czech Republic

Countries American Students Can Study for Free in Europe_Prague

US Students who speak Czech or are willing to learn are able to study abroad for free in the Czech Republic at any public university. Students who wish to study in English can also study fairly cheaply, at around $1,080 per semester. Public universities often charge a small registration fees of just over $20. The application system is also straightforward and can usually be completed online, simply requiring proof of secondary school education.

With the architecturally stunning city of Prague, the historic castles of Brno or the unexplored former industrial stronghold of Ostrava to discover, the Czech Republic has a lot to offer American students. There are over 70 universities to choose from, including Czech Technical University and Charles University in Prague, two of the top-ranked centres in emerging Europe. Living costs are far more affordable in the Czech Republic than in most of Western Europe, at around $350-750 a month.