Considered as the most preferred destination for attaining overseas education, the United States offers an unmatched blend of top-ranked colleges, internationally awarded professors and innumerable career opportunities across diverse degree levels and domains. A Master of Science or MS degree, in particular, is one of its highly appreciated courses through the ages as US cities have attracted researchers, scientists, and professionals from different nooks and corners of the world. Furthermore, individuals not only benefit from the emphasis laid over research and development at universities but also from the countless avenues of practical applications provided by the top-of-the-line global corporations. Read on to know more about the whats, whys, and hows of pursuing an MS in the US!
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Running for the duration of anywhere between 1-3 years, the MS course program is a specialized degree that introduces students to advanced concepts in a relevant discipline. Contrary to a Master of Arts degree, it makes use of scientific inquiry and critical analysis in order to deal with its prevalent questions. However, students must note that an MS in the US does not restrict to only STEM courses but fields like education [MS in Education], Public Policy, Business Management, Finance, etc also fall under its purview. As the lines between areas of study are continuously blurring, cross-field research and exploration in computational psychology, nuclear medicine, etc has emerged as significant interest areas and an MS in the US suitably gears you up with its necessary skills and know-how. A few disciplines which you can explore are:
|Chemistry||Materials Sciences||Data Science|
Arts and Sciences
|Supply Chain Management||Political Science||Urban Studies|
|Transportation||Earth Sciences||Cognitive |
|International Affairs||Aeronautics||Nuclear Science|
|Machine Learning |
[MS in Machine Learning]
|Mechanical Engineering |
[MS in Mechanical
Note: The above list of fields of MS in the US is not exhaustive.
Why Study an MS in the US?
Coming to the specifics of pursuing an MS in US and how it differs from comparable study abroad destinations like the UK, Europe or Australia, it is important to know in concrete terms, its major strong points and the benefit accrued to students. Here are a few specific points elaborating on why to do an MS in the US:
1.Research as well as Professional Opportunities
One of the most integral factors of consideration is the plethora of opportunities present across roles and sectors after an MS in the US. Whether you wish to make a career in research as a research assistant or apply your skills in a corporate organization, there is no dearth of able choices. New York, California, Chicago, Washington, Pennsylvania, etc serve as hubs of technological conglomerates to exceptional research centres. Moreover, a considerable number of students also enrol in PhD courses to dive deeper into their chosen area of interest.
To reiterate what is already present on the internet, universities in the United States occupy one of the highest numbers of places in rankings of both Times Higher Education and QS. With best-in-class infrastructure, facilities of research and continuously experimental curriculum approach, students from all backgrounds and levels of knowledge are provided with ample opportunities for growth in their chosen direction. Particularly speaking for Masters in USA, most institutions offer options of part-time MS, hybrid MS, MS by research, MS with professional placement and much more to cater to specific needs of an array of incoming individuals. If you want to know more about Ivy League colleges, read here.
|Massachusetts Institute |
|Stanford University||Stanford, California||2nd||2nd|
|Harvard University||Cambridge, |
|California Institute |
|University of Chicago||Chicago, Illinois||9th||10th|
|Princeton University||Princeton, New Jersey||12th||9th|
|Cornell University||Ithaca, New York||18th||19th|
|University of Pennsylvania||Philadelphia, |
|Yale University||New Haven, Connecticut||17th||8th|
|Columbia University||New York City, New York||19th||17th|
|University of Michigan||Ann Arbor, Michigan||21st||22nd|
|Johns Hopkins University||Baltimore, Maryland||25th||12th|
|Duke University||Durham, North Carolina||42nd||=20th|
|University of California, |
|University of California, |
|Los Angeles, California||3th||17th|
3. Scholarships & Funding Opportunities
While the cost of studying in USA is generally a bit higher than in the UK, Europe or Australia, there are a myriad of scholarships, funding arrangements and during-course earning opportunities that aid in offsetting the costs of an MS in the US. While the universities offer need and merit-based funding resulting in tuition fee reductions, stipends, and on-campus accommodation, among others, there are many more sources of funding one can take advantage of. This includes earning as an assistant in research labs and libraries, university tour guides, student counselling, etc. However, there is a limit to the number of hours one can work per week. In addition to that, there are several external scholarships that provide full or partial financial support. This is explained in more detail in the following sections. Read our blog on scholarships for Indian students for more information.
4. Customisable Course
To encourage students to grow on multiple fronts and have a cross-disciplinary understanding, universities offering an MS in the US practice a customisable approach towards curriculum and teaching. This involves a highly flexible syllabus with a number of electives offered from variegated departments, opportunities of taking up research positions across departments and even options of joint and dual degrees. Furthermore, institutions in the USA have forged associations with renowned organizations worldwide. This ranges from partnerships with other universities like the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Toronto, National University of Singapore, University of St. Gallen, etc. Through this, one can take advantage of numerous exchange programs, semester/year abroad, non-degree courses and so forth.
5. Conducive Atmosphere
The atmosphere of the university is an important factor in the knowledge gaining process of the students as learning from peers is an integral source of growth and development. This is achieved through group discussions, projects, interactive sessions and case studies as well as the freedom to learn and collaborate with students from other departments and divisions.
Implementing a highly flexible approach towards the selection of applicants for an MS in the US, universities typically require a foundational understanding of the fundamentals of the concerned discipline. This translates into possession of a degree, generally, a bachelor’s in that field. Moreover, while proficiency in quantitative methods is preferred if you are going into technical spheres of computer science, physics or mathematics, it is not the general. The following points shed more light on the requirements:
- Undergraduate Qualifications: A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, desirably, in the closely related discipline. However, students who feel that a particular course and university best fits their profile, even if they hail from a different educational background, are also encouraged to apply. The evaluation of candidature is based on the overall aspects of the application. As an important note of information, many colleges offering an MS in the US have a specific requirement of a four-year degree course as opposed to a three-year degree depending on the nature and objectives of the program.
- Work Experience, if applicable: Many courses require or ask for applicants to possess a few years of working experience in a relevant area or discipline. Furthermore, if it is not mandatory, any number of working experience in a relevant industry adds to the strength of your application and helps you score extra points during admission!
- English Language Proficiency: Tests of IELTS and TOEFL are important prerequisites for international applicants. While an overall score of 7.0-7.5 on the IELTS and 90-100 on the TOEFL is recommended, many universities set their own minimum standards. Thus, search through the official university website for specific information.
- Standardised Tests: Scores of GRE or GMAT may also be a compulsory requirement depending on the course and university. While the GRE is acceptable across domains, the GMAT is recommended for business-oriented programs. However, if you have appeared for any of the two, you may be allowed to submit that exam score in lieu of the norm.
- Other Requirements: Apart from the above, there can be quite a few specific instructions to applicants in terms of subjects studies, internships, language proficiency, etc
MS in the US: Application Process
After fulfilment of the major eligibility requirements, applicants need to follow the application process in order to be offered a place for an MS in the US. The important elements you need to keep in mind are:
- Deadlines: The application process is undertaken in admission cycles, namely, Fall [Autumn], Winter [Spring] and occasionally Summer intakes. While, in general, fall applications begin in September-October with a deadline of around December and winter applications begin in January to be closed in the month of March-April. Make sure you submit your application well before the deadline.
- Two/Three Letters of Recommendation [LOR]: Depending on a specific course or university requirements, applicants will be asked to submit names of referees who can attest to your skills and knowledge. While you can submit all academic recommendations, having one professional referee (only if you have worked) is desirable.
- Statement of Purpose [SOP]: This is one of the most important documents of your application. Detailing your interests, experiences, motivation for the program, here you write about why you are a good fit as well as, in concrete terms, how you can benefit from the program.
- Official Transcripts and Degree Certificate: At the application portal, you will be required to upload copies of your official transcripts which clearly mentions the subjects studied, credits undertaken and year of passing/graduation. Along with that, if you have graduated, your degree certificate is also required.
- Resume or CV: A PDF of your resume or CV that elucidates your education and employment history will also be required. Make sure you adhere to the size restrictions.
Cost of Studying
The tuition fees of an MS in the US is a combination of diverse factors. In particular, it varies greatly depending upon the course undertaken [the cost of an MS in Engineering Management will be higher than an MS in Chemistry], the reputation of university, location-town or suburb and numerous other factors. Further, while tuition can be said to be a major portion of the costs, accommodation, travel and conveyance, insurance, utilities, books & stationary, food, etc, are also essential expenses. An estimate of the average costs you can expect to accrue has been mentioned below:
|Tuition Fees||$25,000 (INR 18 Lakhs) to $60,000 (INR 42 Lakhs) per year|
|Cost of Living (Including accommodation, insurance, travelling, utilities, etc)||$15,000 (INR 11 Lakhs) to $25,000 (INR 18 Lakhs)|
|Books and Supplies||$2,000 (1 Lakh) to $3,500 (INR 2 Lakhs)|
|Personal Expenses||$4,500 (INR 3 Lakhs) to $5,500 (INR 4 Lakhs)|
MS in the US: Scholarships
As discussed above, scholarships and funding are an important factor in a candidate’s decision to pursue an MS in the US. While some may not explicitly require you to apply, you may be asked to submit a separate application in a few cases. Here are some of the popular external scholarship options you must consider:
- Fulbright-Nehru Master’s Fellowships
- Humphrey Fellowship Program
- Narotam Sekhsaria Narotam Sekhsaria Foundation Scholarship
- Fully-Funded Rotary Peace Fellowships
- AAUW International Fellowships in the USA for Women
- Inlaks Scholarships
- Ratan Tata Scholarship for Engineering Students
- Cornell University Tata Scholarship
- Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowships for Indian Students
- Microsoft Scholarship
- MIT Scholarships
Note: The above list is not exhaustive. You can read more about the scholarships here
Getting and confirming an acceptance offer implies you are halfway there! However, in order to start your study in USA in your preferred university, you still need to complete a few more crucial steps. This includes:
- Arranging funds submitting the tuition fee deposit
- Finding Accommodation
- Complete student visa related procedure [F1 visa].
- Arranging forex to cover preliminary costs
- Complete foundation courses, if applicable.
- Get to know about your culture
- Reach out to alumni, professors and other incoming students.
- Apply for on-campus job opportunities.
An MS in the US plays a major role in providing you with the necessary knowledge and knowhow for a bright future. Needless to say, choosing the right course and university is an important element of this process. Take the assistance of the AI-tool at Leverage Edu which shortlists your favoured subject combination based on your interests, skills, and abilities so that you can make an informed decision towards a rewarding career!