Why the US is still #1 for Grad School

US: The Top Graduate School Destination

When it comes to pursuing an MS in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Management) subject, North America, and particularly the US, seems to be the preferred destination among international students. “In 2015, about 240,000 international students on temporary visas were enrolled in Science & Engineering graduate programs, representing 36% of total U.S. graduate enrolment. The proportion of international enrolment was highest … 47% or … higher in computer sciences, engineering (particularly high in electrical engineering), mathematics and statistics, and economics.”; Chapter 2: ‘Higher Education in Science and Engineering’; Science and Engineering Indicators 2018: US National Science Board

So what sways the decision of international applicants towards US Graduate Schools? It will not be long that you will see that, in spite of having a number of blind spots regarding attracting international students, US graduate schools are still #1.

Here are some of the reasons:


Elite Universities and Institutions

The US is home to some of the top universities that the world has to offer. International students who dream big, want to thrive amidst intellectual cauldron that would bring out the best in them. Apart from the elite Ivy League universities like Harvard, Yale, and Columbia and private universities that are seats of some of the best graduate schools, the US boasts of dozens of world-class public universities offering top-class MS programs.

World-class Programs

The graduate schools in the US offer world-class programs in a dizzying range of specialties. These programs offer students a range of choices unparalleled in the world. Some of these programs, over time, have earned mythic fame and demand. For example, graduate programs in Public Health and Global Health Policy at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; journalism at the Columbia Journalism School; business administration and economics at the Harvard Business School or the Booth Business School of the University of Chicago attract brilliant learners from all around the world.

Superlative Research and Innovation

The US is the powerhouse as well as the incubator of scientific and technological research. As trend-setter and path breaker of industry and innovation, the US educational system gives premium value to fundamental and basic research as well as industry collaboration. As a result, the history of technology and innovation are replete with countless instances where such technologies were first conceived and then developed in some laboratory or an institute of a US graduate school.

Future-directed Curriculum and Pedagogy

The curriculum at graduate schools in the US is designed and developed with the express purpose of providing the learners with advanced knowledge and skills in their chosen field. The programs offered at the graduate schools are ably complemented by their curriculum that is extremely dynamic and future-directed. The curriculum is relentlessly researched, vetted, modified, and designed to give the best learning experience. Also, the curricula give you extensive as well as intensive competencies that catalyze learning in the real world. In short, they are evolving. On the other hand, the learning experience employing a myriad pedagogy such as case studies, lectures, class discussions, practicum, laboratory experiments, workshops, seminars, round tables, colloquium, paper presentation and publishing, simulation games, peer-to-peer teaching, industry visits, presentations, projects, and every conceivable scholastic engagement is directed towards acquiring tools and techniques for engaging with and solving real-world problems.

Top-of-the World Faculty

Professor Albert Einstein, perhaps the greatest physicist of the twentieth century, left his native Germany for political reasons and arrived at the US and was welcomed with an open arm at the newly founded Institute of Advanced Study, Princeton University, where he taught and researched for the rest of his life.
Teachers attract learners. When you are accepted by a graduate school, you are not only assured of some of the best curricula available in your chosen field but also some of the best teachers around. Historically, the US has attracted the best scientific and technical minds from all over the world. Top US graduate schools are the home to some of the best human resources in the world. They attract world-renowned professors, visiting professors, and industry leaders and do everything possible to retain their intellectual and organizational resources. US graduate schools can rightly pride themselves as the home to more Nobel laureates in STEM than any other country. The intellectual leadership of such world-class faculty and their research gives the US graduate school prestige and shine unmatched anywhere in the world.

Financial Reward

Earning an MS degree from a leading US graduate school is a major academic achievement. And accomplishment has its own rewards – both financial and social. While the social rewards are intangible benefits, the lure of an MS degree is associated with the lucre it potentially brings. Employers and hiring managers from top companies are always on the look-out to acquire talents from the graduate schools and are prepared to pay a premium price for that.

Infrastructure and Resources

MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab

The US graduate schools are, more often than not, huge, and they spend fantastic sums to give their teachers, researchers, and learners the best infrastructure that money can bring. This includes the best-equipped classrooms, state-of-the-art laboratories, massive libraries, seminar halls, and conference rooms. Since undertaking an MS program will require you to spend a huge amount of research in a chosen field of inquiry, both theoretical and practical, it is expected that you will spend a substantial amount of time in the library, laboratory, or the workshop. Hence the graduate schools fiercely compete with one another to attract the best international talents with their facilities.

Make a Choice

So, if you are still undecided about making a choice of your Graduate School destination, it is best to decide now. The US, with its immense resource as a powerhouse of knowledge creation, assimilation, and transmission can be the right choice for you to undertake your desired MS program.

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