MS Computer Science in USA: Course Guide for International Student

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    MS in Computer Science from USA is a 1-2 year course offered by around 400 universities across the country. International Students looking to pursue a Master Degree in Computer Science from USA need to have a 4 years bachelor degree in the relevant field of study.

    • GRE and ELPs are also among the important prerequisites for most of the Top Computer Science Colleges in USA.
    • Tuition fees for Master in Computer Science in USA ranges between 13,500 USD to 141,000 USD for the total program.
    • The average starting salary earned by computer science graduates is around 64,111 USD/annum.

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    Why Study MS in Computer Science from USA?

    The US has been the top choice for international students intending to study abroad, making it the home to more than about a million overseas students. 

    • Top 15 universities in USA are among the top 50 computer science colleges around the globe, according to the QS World Ranking, 2020.
    • According to the Global R&D Funding Forecast 2019, the USA is going to invest around 2 Trillion USD for the research purposes, and it is expected that by mid 2020. 
      • Artificial intelligence, Robotics, automation and software sector will dominate the R&D landscape. 
    • Computer graduates in US earn an average pay of 85,000 USD/Year as per the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
    • As projected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it is estimated that new job positions in the field of computer science and technology is going to increase by 16% by the year 2028. 
    • States like New York, California, Michigan and Massachusetts have high demand for computer graduates with an average yearly pay of more than 95,000 USD.

    Top Universities for MS in Computer Science from USA

    The USA is the hub of most of the tech giants like Amazon, Google, Facebook and many more, and thus the top computer science colleges in USA providing Masters in Computer Science are among the best universities in the world. Mentioned below are the top universities which provide MS in computer science from USA along with their QS World Ranking,2020 and fees structure.

    University QS Subject Ranking,2020 Courses Offered Total Program Cost(in USD) Duration (in Years)
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology #1 M.E in Computer Science
    MSc. in Computational for Design and Optimization
    109,864 2
    Stanford University #2 MSc. in Computer Science 69,674 2
    Carnegie Mellon University #3 MSc. in Computer Science 58,442 2
    University of California, Berkeley #4 MSc. in Computer Science 13,272 1
    Harvard University #7 MSc. in Computer Science
    M.E in Computer Science
    Princeton University #11 MSc. in Computer Science 120,080 2
    University of California, Los Angeles #15 MSc. in Computer Science 64,908 2
    University of Washington #18 MSc. in Computer Science Engineering 15,000 1
    Columbia University #19 MSc. in Computer Science 60,540 1
    New York University #19 MSc. in Computer Engineering 98,208 2
    University of Texas, Austin #31 MSc. in Computer Science 50,432 2
    University of Illinois- Urban Campaign #33 MSc. in Computer Science 34,648 2
    University of Pennsylvania #35 MSc. in Scientific Computing 113,572 2
    University of Southern California #44 MSc. in Computer Science
    MSc. in Computer Engineering
    51,590 2
    Yale University #46 MSc. in Computer Science 141,000 2

    Universities in the USA provide the best higher education quality in the world as it spends around 1.3% of its GDP only in Higher Studies, as per the recent study by OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development). 

    MS in Computer Science from USA: Course Description

    Computer Science is the study of computer frameworks with a specialized and appropriate methodology. Master in Computer Science from USA offers a wide scope of specializations for the students looking to study in the USA

    Specializations like Artificial Intelligence, information technology, programming, ethical hacking, virtual and augmented reality are few of the popular areas that have high demand in the software market.

    Computer Science and technology is involved in each and every field today, be it the field of software, engineering, financial markets, biological research or designing, computers are the one stop solution to the modern problems.

    MS in Computer Science in USA: Course Highlights

    Courses Available Master of Science(MSc.) in Computer Science, Computer Engineering
    Master of Engineering(M.E) in Computer Science
    Eligibility 3.0 GPA in scale of 4.0 GPA.
    Entrance Exams IELTS: 6.5-7.5
    TOEFL: 87-102
    Duration 1-2 Years
    Course Type Full Time
    Tuition Fees 13,200- 141,000 USD for the total program
    Top Recruiting Companies Amazon, Facebook, Google, Cognizant, Cisco Systems Inc., Booz, Allen & Hamilton Group etc.
    Average starting Salary 64,111 USD/annum

    MS in Computer Science from USA: Admissions

    MS in computer science from USA is one of the popular courses, thus there are certain qualification criteria for getting admitted to the top USA universities. There are proficiency tests of the international level that are needed to be cleared. These tests likewise incorporate English Language Proficiency (for example IELTS, TOEFL) and GRE.

    Eligibility Criteria for MS in Computer Science from USA

    Eligibility Criteria varies from university to university, but the overall entry requirements for MS in computer science from USA is somehow based on the common entrance exams.

    MS in Computer Science is a mainstream course, thus its popularity is quite high and this results in a tough competition, which is again an important perspective for entry requirements.

    Some of the basic requirements are mentioned below:

    • Undergraduate degree equivalent to bachelors in computer science in USA or relevant technical field with an aggregate marks of 3.0 GPA out of 4.0 GPA.
      • This is equivalent to 83-86% and the grade equivalent is B. 
    • GRE score is one of the important criteria, average marks vary between 292-328.
    • Students need to have good scores in ELPs like IELTS and TOEFL.

    Now let us have a look at a table described below, which deals with the university wise cut off marks for GRE and ELPs. 

    University IELTS Cut-off TOEFL Cut-off GRE Cut-off Brochure
    Massachusetts Institute of Technology Accepted 90 Accepted Brochure
    Stanford University Accepted 89 328 Brochure
    Carnegie Mellon University 7.5 102 316 Brochure
    University of California, Berkeley 7 90 324 Brochure
    Harvard University 7 90 292 Brochure
    Princeton University 7 100 Accepted Brochure
    University of California, Los Angeles 7 87 Accepted Brochure
    University of Washington 7 92 300 Brochure
    University of Columbia 7 100 Accepted Brochure
    New York University 7 90 310 Brochure
    University of Texas, Austin 7 90 300 Brochure
    University of Illinois- Urban Campaign 7 102 316 Brochure
    University of Pennsylvania 7 100 Accepted Brochure
    University of Southern California 6.5 90 Accepted -
    Yale University 7 100 322 Brochure

    International students must keep a track on admission deadlines for studying top US universities.

    USA Student Visa

    The USA Student Visa is the world’s 3rd most applied visa, which has an acceptance rate of around 88%.

    There are commonly 3 types of student visa available for the international students, depending on the duration and type of course an individual prefers to pursue in the US.

    • F-Visas: These visas are provided to the international students who wish to pursue any full time academic degree from a licensed American University, where the duration of the course is more than that of 90 days. 
    • M-Visas: These visas are generally provided to international students who want to pursue any non-academic courses or vocational training in any US accredited university or college.
    • J-Visas: These are generally provided to the international students who are willing to take part in any exchange program. The stay for these visas are less than that of F and M type visas.

    Required Documents

    • Complete Admission Form
    • Payment Receipt of the admission form
    • Academic Transcripts
    • Scores of standardized exams to study in USA, like IELTS, TOEFL etc.
    • Degree Certificates
    • Copy of Passport
    • Letter of recommendation

    MS in Computer Science from USA: Cost of Study

    The college wise fee details have already been discussed in the above section, but for an international student it is also very important to know about the living cost in the USA, as it adds a handsome amount to the overall budget.

    Pre-arrival Expenses

    For an International Student, pre-arrival expenses include cost of student’s visa to the US, cost of entrance exams required to study in the USA and travel cost. 

    Categories Cost (in USD)
    Visa Application Cost 510
    IELTS fee 240
    TOEFL fee 200
    GRE fee 190
    SEVIS fee 180 for J-type visas
    200 for F-type visas
    Travel Cost 500-1000
    Total 1,840-2,340

    Tuition fees for MS in computer science from USA

    As already mentioned in the top universities section, the average cost of studying MS in computer science from USA is around 78,000 USD for the total program, with a minimum cost of 13,272 USD for the total program in University of California- Berkeley to a maximum of 141,000 USD for the total program in Yale University.

    Cost of Living in USA

    Cost of living in USA completely depends on the lifestyle and the university one chooses. Below mentioned are the average monthly expenses that an international student needs to bear to sustain his/her stay in the US.

    Categories Average Monthly Expenses (in USD)
    Accommodation 1000 (on-campus stay)
    600-800 (off-campus stay)
    Meals 120-160
    Transportation 100-300
    Health Insurance 450-700
    Personal Expenses 300-600
    Total 1,570-2,813

    From this section, it is quite clear that the average cost of studying in USA ranges from 96,480 USD/year to 111,756 USD/year for an international student looking to pursue an MS in computer science from USA, depending on the choice of course and university one chooses.

    This amount is equivalent to around 74 Lakhs/year for an Indian Student.

    MS in Computer Science from USA: Scholarships

    Education costs combined with living expenses in USA is quite costly, particularly for those from countries which have much lower exchange rates . In spite of the significant expense of study, the USA offers many scholarships for international students to assist and support their education monetarily. Your living and tuition costs can be outfitted fully or partially relying upon a couple of factors as mentioned below:

    • Scores of the Entrance Exams directly affects your scholarship amount.
    • Recommendation letters, co-curricular activities and achievements also play a crucial role.

    Below mentioned are few of the popular scholarships available for masters students in the USA:

    Name Of the Scholarship Eligibility Amount
    Civil Society Leadership Award Students having excellent academic record Covers Tuition fees, living expenses and monthly stipend
    PEO International Peace Scholarship for Women Awarded to International Women candidates 12,500 USD
    Rotary Foundation Graduate Scholarship Program Students from the lower income countries. 30,000 USD
    National Overseas Scholarship Students who wish to pursue masters and doctorate programs and have a minimum aggregate of 55% in UG. Covers tuition fees, medical insurance, travel expenses and other miscellaneous expenses.
    Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program Citizens of eligible countries including India.
    Candidates must have a minimum of 5 years of work experience in their professional field.
    Tuition fees, travel expenses, monthly stipend, computer subsidy, health insurance coverage.

    Didn’t Get a Scholarship? Don’t Worry!!

    If you haven't got any scholarship, you should not be worried at all. The USA has many part-time jobs available which will help you with your monetary problems, and an F-1 student’s visa permits you to work for about 20 hours a week. Other funding opportunities to sponsor your MS in Computer Science from USA:.

    • Teaching Assistant: You can earn up to 500-600 USD/week.
    • Peer Tutor: You can get an average pay of around 450 USD/week.
    • Library Monitor: You can earn up to 400 USD/week.
    • Tour Guide: At an entry level, you can earn up to 300-350 USD/week.

    Apart from part-time jobs you can also apply for different internship programs in the field of your study and these might also get you paid. 

    MS in Computer Science from USA: Job Prospects

    The typical job role of a computer science graduate is around computer and software technologies, which deals with Artificial Intelligence, Virtual reality, software development, networking and big data management.

    According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly pay of a Computer and Information Research Scientist is around 118,000 USD, whereas the average yearly salary of a Hardware Computer Engineer is around 114,000 USD/year.

    Graduates from MS in Computer Science from USA can expect a salary increment of around 9% every 15 months. The demand for professionals in this field is expected to grow by around 16% between 2018-2028 as per the recent study by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For working in the USA you will require a work permit. 

    Work Permit in USA

    After completion of the course, most of the international students look for job opportunities in the US itself, thus the most common type of work visa in USA is H1B visas.

    To apply for an H1-B visa, you must need:

    • An offer of Employment
    • To file an I-29 petition with the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Department.

    For an international student thing about what after studying in USA given below are some of the popular job positions and their average pay:

    Designation Average Yearly Pay (in USD)
    Android Developer 75,200
    Artificial Intelligence Specialist 91,000
    Blockchain Developer 75,000
    C++ Developer 88,200
    Computer Network Architect 90,000
    ERP Project Manager 117,000
    Ethical Hacker 75,000
    Information Security Manager 111,000
    Lead Developer 91,500
    Network Engineer 85,000

    Research Post MS in Computer Science from USA

    After completing a masters degree, it is a general tendency that students look for job opportunities, rather one can apply for a Doctor of Philosophy(PhD) degree in the USA too. 

    Colleges like MIT, Stanford, University of California etc. are among the top schools giving doctoral degrees in computer science and its specializations. According to the recent statistics, an individual with a doctoral certificate gains up to 23% more to that of a masters graduate.

    The Computer Science sector is booming day by day, as most of the American GDP is driven by Silicon Valley Companies.With a projected increment of around 40,000 new job openings by the next few years , the computer science field has become one of the mainstream subjects as considered by most of the international students.


    Ques. What is the cost of studying MS in computer science from USA?

    Ans. Average cost of studying a Masters course in Computer Science in USA is around 78,000 USD for the total program, which ranges from 13,500 USD to 141,000 USD depending on the university and course one chooses. 

    Ques. What is the Eligibility criteria for availing MS in computer science from USA?

    Ans. Students looking to pursue MS in computer science from USA must have an equivalent bachelor’s degree in computer science or relevant streams with an aggregate of 3.0 GPA out of 4.0 GPA scale (83-86%). Students also need valid scores in ELPs (IELTS-7.0, TOEFL-100) and GRE.

    Ques. What is the average salary of a computer science graduate in USA?

    Ans. Average salary of a computer software engineer is around 118,000 USD/annum, whereas a hardware engineer earns up to 114,000 USD/annum, depending on the work experience.

    Ques. Which University is best for studying for a MS in computer science from USA?

    Ans. Some of the best universities providing Masters in Computer Science are MIT, Stanford University, University of California, Berkeley and Harvard University.

    Ques. Which is better MS or MTech in Computer Science from USA?

    Ans. An MS degree is primarily research-based and has no fixed duration, while an M.Tech. degree is more project-based and offered for a duration of 2 years. Completing an MS from top US universities hold more value than the M.Tech degree.

    Ques. Is the GRE score required for MS in CS from a US university?

    Ans. Most of the top US universities consider GRE scores (300) for MS in CS with special emphasis on the GRE quant scores. However, other parameters like a good SOP and LOR are given equal importance.

    Ques.What are the top jobs after completing MS in CS from the USA?

    Ans. The top job options available after completing MS in CS from the US include web developer, mobile application developer, software engineer, systems architect, machine learning Engineer, and Data Engineering.