Course Overview

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 Exam – Graduate Record Examination
IELTS Exam – International English Language Testing System / TOEFL Exam – Test of English as a Foreign Language

GRE general has modules in GRE verbal reasoning, GRE quantitative reasoning and GRE 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 exam and IELTS exam have 4 modules which are reading, listening, speaking and writing. The minimum score requirements are 6.5 overall, 80+. However, for top US 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.

Know more about Entry Requirements for USA Universities.


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 US 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. US universities generally take about 8-10 weeks to process the applications.

Know more about the Upcoming Intakes to Study in USA.

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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.


Tuition Fees

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 in USA 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 for international students in USA available on a 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 US 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 US 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.

Industry Experts

Most of the top-ranking colleges in USA 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.


Common Mistakes

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 to. 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 USA 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 US 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 is valued globally. They offer a far wider range of subjects to specialise in 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 comprises 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 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.


Top Institutes for MS in USA

According to the 2021 Times, Higher Education World University Rankings following are the top institutes for science-related programs in the USA:

Princeton University

Princeton University 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

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 University 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

Harvard University situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts 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

Massachusetts Institute of Technology 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

Designation: Actuary

Median Salary: $101,560/year

Designation: Financial Advisor

Median Salary: $90,640/year


Top Industries to Choose

  • Health
  • Financial services
  • Life Sciences
  • Consumer products and services
  • Technology
  • Logistics and transportation
  • Business products and services

Some of the top companies that take MS graduates

  • Walmart
  • Alsaka Air
  • General Motors
  • ExxonMobil
  • McKesson
  • UnitedHealth Group

Know more about the Job Opportunities for International Students in USA.


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.

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Why study masters in the USA?

The job market in USA for Indian graduates has become highly competitive and challenging in recent times especially after covid. The US visa policy favours STEM graduates by providing them with an opportunity to file for OPT, a temporary extension of up to 12 months. H1B visa is required for an Indian to work in the USA, so Indian students need to ensure that their future employees are willing to apply and sponsor them in accordance with the foreign national policies. Computer science, medical, management and finance-related jobs vacancies are high, so students with degrees in these streams stand a better chance of getting job offers in USA.

What is the duration of MS courses in the USA?

The course duration of any MS course in USA is generally two years. There are MS programs in USA that can take one year to complete and may also take three years to complete. The duration to finish a master’s course in USA depends on the type of course-thesis Vs non-thesis. Thesis programs take longer to complete compared to non-thesis ones. The duration is taken by students also depends on their credits.

What is the better choice between scholarship and Assistantship for MS in the USA?

Most universities in USA that offer MS programs have the option of assistantship and scholarship. The choice between the two primarily depends on one’s financial needs, expenses being covered and professional goals. Scholarships are of many types and can cover tuition fees along with accommodation, food, travel and other related expenses in exchange for short-term professional development opportunities. Whereas graduate assistantship offers tuition coverage only for work completed on-campus like a work-study program. Assistantships are also considered a salary and students can show this work experience on their resume.

What is the cost of pursuing an MS in the USA?

The cost of pursuing an MS in USA is to be calculated basis various expenses starting from the pre-admission stage. International students have to take standardised tests such as GRE/IELTS/TOEFL to qualify for applying to US universities. Students have to pay for each of these exams. Apart from these, students have to take into account the airfare, tuition fee, living cost that included food, transport, insurance etc. Without any financial aid availed, the fee for MS programs in the US ranges from $10,000 to $80,000 annually. It depends on your university and course.

Are there any Universities that don’t require GRE for MS in the USA?

Generally, GRE is required to get an MS admission in USA for international students. However, there are universities that offer specific MS programs without GRE in USA. Following are some of such universities:

Which are the highest paying jobs after MS in the USA?

The highest-paying jobs after MS in USA are as follows:

  • Master of Business Administration (MBA) – annual median starting salary $115,000
  • IT Manager-Median Salary: $146,360/year
  • Software Developer-Median Salary: $105,590
  • Marketing Manager-Median Salary: $135,900/year
  • Sales Manager-Median Salary: $126,640/year
  • Business Operations Manager-Median Salary: $100,930/year
  • Nurse Anaesthetist-Median Salary: $167,950
  • Nurse Practitioner-Median Salary: $115,800/year
  • Architectural and Engineering Manager-Median Salary: $144,830/year
  • Petroleum Engineer-Median Salary: $137,720/year
  • Financial Manager-Median Salary: $129,890/year
  • Health Manager-Median Salary: $100,980/year

Which are the top MS programs in the USA?

Choosing the right MS course is of one of the crucial steps in the admission process to a US university. Following are the top MS programs in USA:

  • Business administration- A Master of Business Administration degree, or MBA still remains one of the most in demand MS courses in USA.
  • Healthcare administration- It enables one to direct the operation of a healthcare facility, such as a hospital, clinic or health system.
  • Engineering- Engineers work in various industries especially the petroleum industry where the demand for engineers is always high.

What are the admission requirements for the MS program in the USA?

To get admission in an MS program in USA, an international applicant must fulfil the following requirements:

  • 3 to 4 years of a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field with an average of 65 – 70% and above.
  • A GPA score of 3.0 or above
  • GRE score that is 290 or above
  • Proof of your English-language Proficiency test such as IELTS.
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Two to three letters of recommendation.
  • Research/internships projects, if required by the university.
  • Any published research papers, if required by the university.
  • Proof of any social or leadership activities, if required by the university.

What are the eligibility criteria for pursuing MS in the USA?

As an international student the eligibility criteria to get admission in an MS program in USA are as follows:

  • 3 to 4 years of a bachelor’s degree in the relevant field with an average of 65 – 70% and above.
  • A GPA score of 3.0 or above
  • GRE score that is 290 or above
  • Proof of your English-language Proficiency test such as IELTS
  • Statement of Purpose
  • Two to three letters of recommendation
  • Research/internships projects, if required by the university.
  • Any published research papers, if required by the university.
  • Proof of any social or leadership activities, if required by the university.

What are some good MS colleges in the US for Indian Students?

Indian students have many options to apply at top US universities that offer good MS programs. Depending on your choice of the program, one can apply to these universities meeting their eligibility criteria. Following are some of the top US universities:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Stanford University
  • Harvard University
  • Princeton University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Yale University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • New York University
  • University of California

Is it possible to get into a good USA university for MS with a low GPA?

Yes, you can. A low GPA score calls for strategizing to achieve your goal in a way that other aspects of the admission requirements are fulfilled with the desired result. A high GRE/IELTS/TOEFL score can compensate for the lack of a good GPA score. An expert overseas education consultant can help you present the reasons for a low GPA with the university through your statement of purpose and admission essays. If there are interviews to be given to universities, your study abroad consultant can help you prepare for them as well.

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