A master’s degree is a graduate degree earned after completion of an undergraduate degree (BA or BS). Typically it requires about 30-36 credits of coursework and takes 2 years of full-time study.
Master of Science is typically awarded in the field of sciences, engineering, and medicine. Some universities offer the degree for postgraduate studies in social sciences and management as well in subjects like Finance, Marketing, Economics, Global Logistics & Supply Chain Management, Human Resource Management and more.
Students who want to pursue research to gain in-depth knowledge in the field of their interest can apply for Ph.D. programs. A full-time Ph.D. program in the USA will take 5-6 years to complete with thesis and projects.
Eligibility Criteria for MS Program in the USA:
MS aspirants may wonder what exams do I have to take for studying in USA? Primarily there are two entrance exams to qualify:
GRE – Graduate Record Examination
TOEFL – Test of English as a Foreign Language/ IELTS- International English Language Testing System
GRE general has modules in verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning and analytical writing and GRE subject test gauges knowledge of a particular field of study like Biology, Chemistry, Literature in English, Mathematics, Physics, and Psychology.
Usually, if a student has a score in the range of 310-320, it is considered to be a good one. However top universities need at least330+ scores.
Both TOEFL and IELTS have 4 modules which are reading, listening, speaking and writing. The minimum score requirements are 6.5 overall, 80+. However, for top universities, TOEFL required is more than 100 and 7.5 overall for IELTS
Apart from these entrance exam scores, to apply for an MS course student requires academic transcripts, letters of reference, and an essay or statement of purpose stating why you want to pursue the degree, will have to be submitted along with the applications.
Intake & Application Deadlines
US universities have three intakes throughout the year-Fall, Spring and Summer. However, Fall and Spring are considered to be major ones as very few colleges offer summer intakes.
- Fall semester starts in September
- Spring semester starts in January
Most universities offer Fall intake with a higher number of scholarships and financial aids aimed for this semester.
The deadlines for each intake are usually 3-4 months prior before the start date hence, it is recommended to apply early. The ideal time to begin applications is 9-12 months prior to the intake. Universities generally take about 8-10 weeks to process the applications.
MS Course Duration in USA
Duration for MS is generally for 1.5 – 2 years, which is preferred by most students. There are some MEng, MIS programs offered for one year.
The tuition fee in the Unites States will primarily vary on the type of college and course one is enrolled in, study duration and college location.
On an average fee range for Cost of Education for the full program (Tuition plus Living)
- Average Tuition: US $ 25,000-60,000
- Average Living: US $ 10,000-12,000
There are both internal and external scholarships available for international students on merit basis. Some of the external scholarships are InlaksShivdasani Foundation Scholarships, Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship, and American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship.
Quick Facts to Know
15 or 16 years of Education for Application
Most of the universities will ask for 16 years of education to be eligible to apply for an MS degree in the USA. However, over a period of time for specific courses many universities have altered their policy and have started accepting 15 years of education like-Dartmouth (Tuck), Fuqua (Duke), Southern California (Marshall), MIT, Cornell (Johnson) to name a few. It is recommended to check with individual universities for more details.
Most of the top-ranking colleges will have leading industry experts to train their students. Nobel prize winners, market leaders from various industries and other distinguished achievers are regularly invited to interact and train students, to make most out of the program.
Starting test preparation too late– Even if your academic scores are high flying, you still need to give enough time to prepare and practice for the standardised tests such as GMAT/GRE/TOEFL/IELTS. It is with sustained practice one gets comfortable with the test pattern and timing. Monitoring one’s progress and giving time to learn useful tips and tricks is vital for success.
Not researching enough– Students should do thorough research before deciding on the universities/colleges they want to apply. Along with past academic and professional performance financial needs should be taken into account. International students may find it hard to obtain financial aids such as grants and scholarships, but they are available on a merit basis, especially for graduate-level programs. Researching on eligibility, supporting documents required and deadlines ahead of time will prove beneficial. Gathering information on all the universities/colleges can be a daunting task. Our counsellors can help with the right information.
Too short or long essays– One should be aware that the essay section in the application is for the admission panel to understand more about a student beyond her/his academic scores. The essay section is an opportunity for aspiring students to highlight their interest in a particular subject and stream through their strengths and achievements beyond studies, e.g. extracurricular activities. Giving generic or exaggerated information may lead to rejection. Therefore, writing an authentic and grammatically correct essay is crucial for an application to be considered.
Why Choose USA for MS?
The US is the leading study abroad destination for STEM-related courses, let’s take a look at what makes it a preferred destination for international students:
Enhanced Course Structure
The programs are designed to create a fine balance between the theoretical aspect and practical knowledge of a subject. Unlike India where theoretical knowledge is emphasized on, courses abroad focus more on applied knowledge. The curriculum is designed to give students ample time to focus on research and assignments.
Focus on Real-World Knowledge
Most of the universities and colleges have strong industry networks and partnerships that give students opportunities to work on the latest technologies and attend workshops with leading industry experts while pursuing their course. This is to ensure the knowledge gained by students is current, which can be used by them for projects and further research.
Universities regularly organise subject-related events and contests for students to participate. Such events provide a platform for students to think innovatively and teach them how to work under pressure and in a competitive environment.
High Ranking Institutes and Wide Range of Courses
Most of the top-ranking institutes offering world-class MS degrees are in the USA. Universities in the US, especially in the field of medical, technology and engineering are renowned internationally and the degree offered by them are valued globally. They offer a far wider range of subjects to specialise and research.
Prepares for a Global Career
Studying in the US prepares students for an international career. College campuses in the US have a rich ethnic diversity. The multi-cultural environment helps students learn the value of diversity, racial, gender equality and acquire skills to foster cross-ethnic relationships. With technology advancing quicker than ever in a global economic set-up, irrespective of the field, a wide range of knowledge and agility is a skill sought after by employers everywhere.
Popular Fields of Study in MS
MS in Computer Science with specialisation Human-Computer Interaction, Information Management, and Data Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Bioinformatics, Computer and Network Security, Robotics, Computer Vision, & Graphics Research Area and so on.
MS in Electrical Engineering with specialization in Systems, Controls, & Robotics, Intelligent Robotics, Artificial Intelligence Research Area
MS in Nuclear Engineering-It comprises of applied science, nuclear power systems design, and radiation physics. Students can specialize in probabilistic risk assessment, reactor safety, or space nuclear power. Graduate Nuclear Engineering courses include Applied Health Physics, Nuclear Fuel Cycle, Radioactive Waste Management and Remediation, and Reactor Kinetics.
MS in Game Design– The course focuses on user experience research, production, and design. In the course, students learn about software engineering, computer graphics, artificial intelligence, animation, software architecture, and networking.
MS in Life Sciences with specialisation subjects like Biotechnology, Bioinformatics, Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship, Bioprocessing and Bioenergy.
MS in Food Studies with a focus on food systems, food economies, and sustainable livelihoods and environments.
MS in Agricultural Engineering with a focus on studying how to execute engineering solutions for feed, fibre, and food production problems and/or postharvest processing problems.
MS in Human Resources with specialization in Human Resource Management, Employment Relations/Industrial Relations, Organization Development
MS in Finance focuses on financial theories, quantitative models, and industry practices.
Other fields include Architecture, Pharmacy & Pharmaceutical Sciences, Education, Molecular Biology and more.
Planning to Study in USA?
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Top Institutes for MS in USA
According to the 2020 Times, Higher Education World University Rankings following are the top institutes for science-related programs in the USA:
Princeton University -Princeton is also one of the world’s foremost research universities with connections to more than 40 Nobel laureates, 17 winners of the National Medal of Science and five recipients of the National Humanities Medal.
California Institute of Technology– Caltech has six academic divisions with a strong emphasis on science and technology teaching and research. It has a high research output and alongside many high-quality facilities, both on campus and globally. This includes the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Caltech Seismological Laboratory, and the International Observatory Network.
Stanford University- Stanford is one of the largest campuses in the United States with 18 interdisciplinary research institutes such as School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Graduate School of Education; School of Engineering; School of Humanities and Sciences; Law School; and School of Medicine.
Harvard University- Situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts the campus has 12 degree-granting schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. The private Ivy League institution has impressive alumni of 45 Nobel laureates, over 30 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer Prizewinners.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology- MIT is currently organized into five different schools: architecture and planning, engineering, humanities, arts, and social sciences, management and science. Scientific discoveries and technological advances accredited to MIT include the first chemical synthesis of penicillin, the development of radar, the discovery of quarks, and the invention of magnetic core memory, which enabled the development of digital computers.
Average Median Salaries for MS Graduates
Master of Science in Computer Science
Designation: Software Developer
Median Salary: $103,560
Master of Engineering Management
Designation: Architectural and Engineering Manager
Median Salary: $137,720/year
Master of Science in Petroleum Engineering
Designation: Petroleum Engineer
Median Salary: $132,280/year
Master of Science in Healthcare Management
Designation: Health Manager
Median Salary: $98,350/year
Master of Science in Nursing
Designation: Nurse Anesthetist
Median Salary: $165,120/year
Designation: Nurse Practitioner
Median Salary: $103,880/year
Master of Science in Finance
Designation: Financial Manager
Median Salary: $125,080/year
Median Salary: $101,560/year
Designation: Financial Advisor
Median Salary: $90,640/year
Top Industries to Choose
- Financial services
- Life Sciences
- Consumer products and services
- Logistics and transportation
- Business products and services
Some of the top companies that take MS graduates
- Alsaka Air
- General Motors
- UnitedHealth Group
Post Study Work Right Options
F1-visa will allow students to stay for 60 days after a degree in the USA, students have to apply for one of the following visas:
- Optional Practical Training (OPT)
- H-1B visa
Optional Practical Training (OPT) refers to temporary employment for students relating to their field of study. Eligible students can receive up to 12 months of OPT employment.
Post-completion OPT: Students can apply for this option after completing their studies. Those who are authorized for post-completion OPT can work either part-time or full time. OPT allows students to stay and work in the United States for 12 months.
STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students get an opportunity to apply for a 24-month extension on their post-completion OPT, provided they have been granted the initial 12-month post-completion OPT and are in the valid period of OPT.
The H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa for temporary workers. An F-1 student visa can be transferred to an H-1B visa if one’s US employer is willing to sponsor. With an H-1B visa, one can live and work for up to 6 years in the US.