Considered as the world's most popular and renowned nation, USA offers students seeking a graduate degree with cutting-edge research, world-class technology, renowned faculty, and cultural exposure. MS in US or Masters in USA primarily includes STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Management) programs. The international student population planning for an MS in the US popularly opts for courses like Engineering, business and management, computer sciences, and IT. 70% of US universities are world-renowned, accredited, and ranked among the top 50 universities of the world, rendering US its popularity among study abraod destinations.
Around 1.6 million international students are given a visa in the USA, to stay back post-MS in any of the STEM courses. There are 9 major fields of MS, which are further divided into 781 specializations in the USA. The wide range of specializations, graduate employability rankings, and technically advanced curriculums is what makes the graduate schools in US stand out across the globe.
- International students willing to apply to USA universities for an MS course require:
- 16 years of education, which is mandatory.
- English Language Proficiency: Test scores of TOEFL/IELTS
- Average GPA of 3.0 or 80% and above.
- Standardized test scores of GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT depending upon the choice of course.
- Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, many universities offering MS in USA have either waived off or relieved the minimum score requirements for competitive tests.
- The average tuition fee charged from international students for graduate study is around 30,000 USD per year.
- Exploring the cost of MS in US for Indian Students can help you plan your budget accordingly
MS in USA Top Universities
MIT ranks #1 globally followed by Stanford, Harvard, Caltech, and the University of Chicago among the top 10 universities in the world. A list of the top 25 universities in the US along with their acceptance rates for MS courses are as follows:
|University Name||QS Ranking 2020||Brochure|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||#1||Brochure|
|University of Chicago||#10||-|
|University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)||#15||Brochure|
|University of Michigan – Ann Arbor||#21||Brochure|
According to the 2018 CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey, a total of 749,239 applications were received from international applicants seeking admission to graduate programs. With a 47% acceptance rate and 31% yield rate for master’s programs in the US, nearly 100,000 new international students were enrolled in 2018. 73% of this student body were from Asia.
MS courses primarily include STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Management) programs that are chosen widely. International students chose the following course fields for post-graduation in 2018:
Top Universities for MS in US by Acceptance Rate
|University Name||Acceptance Rate (MS)||Avg Fees in INR|
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)||12%||13.06 lakhs|
|Stanford University||Law- 8.72%; Medicine- 2.3%||51.28 lakhs|
|Harvard University||Medicine- 3.5%||17.60 lakhs|
|University of Chicago||Sciences- 26%||42.40 lakhs|
|Princeton University||Engineering- 1.6% Social Sciences- 13.4%||30.96 lakhs|
|Cornell University||Research- 16% Graduate- 18.5%||15.18 lakhs|
|University of Pennsylvania (UPenn)||Medicine- 78% (Fall 2017)||41.60 lakhs|
|Yale University||Medicine- 6.5% Architecture- 68% Nursing- 1%||31.77 lakhs|
|University of Michigan – Ann Arbor||Medicine- 5.9%||15.62 lakhs|
Benefits of Pursuing MS in USA
Pursuing MS in USA comes with numerous benefits. There are over 2 million courses to choose from, an option of earning through the work-study program, stay back permit post-MS, research opportunities along with merit-based scholarships to support education are some of the benefits that can be availed by international students in the US while pursuing a graduate degree. Some other benefits include:
- STEM courses are widely opted by students, because, one, it is in demand in the US; second, it gives students 17-month work visa extension post-MS.
- The US government invests 476,452 million USD on research and development, which is 2.7% of its total GDP. Thus, pursuing an MS in USA betters the chances for research and funding it.
- Post-MS there is scope for research, where students can apply for a Teaching Assistantship (TA) or Research Assistantship (RA).
- Students can earn 500 USD to 1,200 USD monthly if they work part-time as a TA.
- While research assistants can earn up to 1,500 USD as a stipend every month.
- Course curriculums are divided into pre-requisites, core areas and electives for any MS course. Thus, it increases the scope for pursuing research-based MS by more than 30%.
- Average scholarship offered is 10,000 USD for one year to students pursuing an MS in any of the USA universities.
Popular Programs for MS in USA
Some of the popular programs offered along with top universities offering them are as follows:
|Program||University||Total Program Fees (in USD)|
|MS in Finance in USA||
|60,000 – 120,000|
|MS in Data Science in USA||
|149,080 – 42,778|
|MS in Computer Science in USA||
|13,500 – 141,000|
|MS in Marketing in USA||
|28,500 – 64,000|
|MS in Business Analytics in USA||
|20,000 – 80,000|
How to do MS in USA?
The eligibility to study in the USA can be in two categories- VISA related eligibility and University or Institute related eligibility. International applicants are more susceptible to VISA related rejections.
There are numerous requirements that must be fulfilled by international students. Various test scores, supporting documents, proof of subjects studied, mark sheets, transcripts, etc. are supposed to be submitted by international students seeking admission to a university in the USA.
Where to Apply for MS in USA?
US universities accept applications through their respective application portals for MS. But for certain MS courses, there are around 40 central application portals designed for admission applications. They are known as Centralized Application Services (CAS), streamlined by Liaison. Over 31,000 applications for various courses for more than 1,000 universities are accepted annually through these portals. Applications are accepted for MS in the US only. Some of the application portals are:
|Application Portal||Type of Program||Application Fees (in USD)||No of Departments accepting Application|
|AMCAS||Medical programs||175 for one college; 40 per additional college||146|
|OTCAS||Occupational Therapy||150 for one college; 65 per additional college||130|
It must be noted by applicants that admission decisions are released by the respective university and not by the application portals.
Application Deadlines for MS in USA Admission
The deadlines for applying for an MS in the USA are usually during the Fall session. Application deadlines are in December for Fall and October for Spring. Deadlines for each university or selected MS specialization also vary in some cases.
- Applications are accepted between December and January at most US universities.
- After confirmation of application, the selection is intimated applicants have to confirm by April 15 for admission.
- Officially they have to accept the offer of admission by May 1.
- Some universities have rolling admissions. Thus, applicants can apply any time throughout the year.
Admission Requirements for MS in USA
- 3 to 4 years bachelors degree in relevant field
- 3.5 or higher GPA, equivalent to 87% in bachelors
- GRE score of 330 or above
- Statement of Purpose
- 2 to 3 letters of recommendation
- Research Internships
- Participation in projects enhances the applicant’s understanding of the methodology, the reason for the project, and the ultimate goals through research are all incumbents to express knowledge while applying for MS admissions.
- Research Papers published in a good conference add greater value in selection.
- Social & Leadership Activities
Standardized Test Scores Required for Admission in MS in USA
Various standardized test scores are required from the applicants along with their applications. The type of test score submission depends upon the applicant’s choice of course. Students willing to pursue MS courses in the US are asked to submit either of the following test scores:
|Test Name||Conducting Authority||Courses|
|GRE||Education Testing Services (ETS)||Engineering, Management, Social Sciences, Computer and Information Technology|
|GMAT||Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC)||Management|
|LSAT||Law School Admission Council (LSAC)||Law|
For pursuing MS in USA, students are required to submit standardized test scores, depending upon the choice of course. These test scores are required from the applicants to understand their aptitude and judge them academically only. In some of the universities, their submission is a mere formality.
Some universities admit students without these scores also. They believe that scores cannot define an applicant’s overall academic performance. These are:
Top Universities for MS in US: GRE Requirements
|University||GRE Scores Required|
|Carnegie Mellon University||316|
|University of Washington||300|
|University of Chicago||Quant- 154
|University of Minnesota||Quant- 170
GRE/GMAT Waiver for MS in USA Admissions
Applicants applying for any MS course in the US university can request for a GRE/GMAT waiver. In turn, applicants must prove their skills in terms of analysis, applying reasoning skills, command over English, quantitative aptitude, etc.
- It was recorded for 2018 admissions to top B-Schools, out of 12 schools only 5 schools have a prerequisite for GMAT/GRE waiver.
- GMAT is waived usually for online Management courses only, and not for courses offered on-campus.
- Less than 14% of students submitted the GMAT score, in comparison to 23% of GRE score submissions for 2018-19 admissions.
- GRE is waived by more than 70% of the US universities, willing to pursue an MS in USA. But they must have exceptional research and professional experience.
A GRE/GMAT waiver can also be requested. It may be granted based on the following factors:
- Good educational background with a proof of experience in the field of research, a waiver can then be expected. Along with the following criteria:
- Excellent performance in the previous graduate program.
- A good GPA score in the previous degree.
- Exceptional track record of academic performance.
- Work experience can also be a major deciding factor if applicants can apply for a GRE/GMAT waiver. Good experience in a professional sphere and a substantial level of involvement in handling situations actively can help applicants in getting a GRE/GMAT waiver.
- If applicants had already taken GRE/GMAT but, the validity of the scores has expired, an applicant can request a waiver on the basis of their previous GRE/GMAT score.
- Applicants can consult and request the faculty member guiding them with the admission process for the same with a valid reason.
English Proficiency Requirements for International Students
Students applying for MS admissions in the US must prove their English language proficiency by submitting scores of TOEFL or IELTS. More than 70% opt to take TOEFL in close comparison to 55% of those who opt for IELTS.
These tests are widely accepted by US universities. English language tests are also further divided into different parts. The following table shows the distinction between two tests. You can find out which is better for your IELTS or TOEFL, here.
|Factors||TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language)||IELTS (International English Language Testing System)|
|Types of Tests||IBT: Internet-Based Test
PBT: Paper-Based/Delivered Test
IELTS General Training
|Application Fee||IBT: 160 USD - 250 USD (varies across countries)
PBT: 180 USD (standard)
|215 USD - 245 USD (varies across countries)|
|Score Range||IBT: 0 - 120
PBT: 310 - 677
|0 - 9 band score|
|Testing Components||IBT: Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking
PBT: Reading, Writing and Listening
|Reading, Writing, Listening and Speaking|
|Score Validity||2 years||2 years|
|Test Duration||4 hours||2 hours 45 minutes|
|Conducted in||150 countries||140 countries|
|Test Organized||50 times in a year||48 times in a year|
|Scores Accepted by||10,000 universities and colleges||9,000 universities and colleges|
Documents Required for MS in USA Admission
The application process for MS admissions to the USA is very extensive. A list of documents is required from the international students to be considered for admissions. Following are the documents required for MS admissions in the USA:
- Transcripts: In a sealed envelope, stamped and signed by the respective HOD/Principal.
- Mark sheets: of previously attended institutions, attested by the HOD/Principal.
- CV: an updated CV must be submitted and according to the correct format. It must include the level of research undertaken and/or work experience.
- Statement of Purpose: or SOP for MS must be drafted well in time, should be submitted along with the application. It must include details of the applicants, his/her goals, and expectations from the course.
- Letters of Recommendation: at least 2 to 3 LORs must be submitted. They can be submitted online or offline depending upon the mode of application submission.
- Financial Statement: Bank statement not more than 3 months old, showing sufficient funds for at least one year of study must be submitted.
- Health Insurance: This is required if an applicant is applying for admissions in the USA.
- Identity Proof: Passport for visa process.
These documents must be kept ready before submission, to avoid last-minute running around.
How to Send the Transcripts/High School Marksheets
Transcripts should be in a sealed envelope, with the university/school’s stamp. They must be mailed by the respective school or university of the applicant under the head of the department (HOD)/principal’s stamp. If the envelope is received with a broken seal, without a stamp, etc. it is highly likely that it will not be accepted. International students must submit evaluated transcripts.
Transcript Evaluation Agencies
In the US transcript evaluation is known as Credential Evaluation Services (CES). various agencies offer these services. The transcripts are evaluated and translated by trained professionals. Applicants have to upload their high school mark sheets and university degrees at the chosen agency’s official website. Pay the required fee and track the progress.
A transcript evaluation is done by agencies that are recognized nationally. Some of them are:
- NACES: National Association of Credential Evaluation Services
- WES: World Education Services
- ECE: Educational Credential Evaluators
- AACRAO: American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers
Importance of transcript evaluation
Transcript evaluation is important because each country has its own system of higher education. The marking and grading system varies, thus to have an evaluation that matches with the US education system, evaluation is important.
Applicants must submit the translated and evaluated transcripts along with their applications. Some universities accept transcripts without evaluation.
Application rejection due to transcripts
Around 60% of the universities in the US reject applications because of discrepancies in the transcripts received. There can be many reasons like students sending them on their own or if the envelope is not sealed properly or if the stamps seem to be fake.
They are supposed to be mailed directly from the respective institution, in a sealed envelope with a stamp. Or they can be sent electronically. Every year the US receives over 10,000 transcripts for MS admissions, on the whole, from its approximately 4,000 institutions.
The following universities that reject applications if transcripts are not sent in a specified manner are:
- Stanford University
- Yale University
- University of Washington
- New York University
- University of California (Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego)
- Boston University
- University of Pennsylvania
Around 4-5% of students decide to apply at the last moment. With this comes various aspects of the application that are overlooked and ultimately leading to a rejection of the application. Since the reviewing process of the applications is extensive, the following reasons could be held responsible for application rejection:
- Applying to a few universities.
- Not researching well about the course/university applying to.
- Not adhering to the deadlines for documents or score submissions.
- Not spending enough time writing personal essays and CV.
- Letter of Recommendations not from trusted sources.
- Taking help from inexperienced counselors.
- Deciding to apply at the very last moment.
- F-1 Visa: This visa is usually offered to non-immigrants who are willing to pursue higher studies or research in the US. The applicants must be admitted to a recognized US institution. Also, the applicants must have received the I-20 form from the university he/she has been admitted to.
- The admitted students are not permitted to take up full-time employment, but they can work part-time. Only 20 hours per week is permissible for working on-campus. There are different types of F visas. They are as follows:
- F-2 Visa: This visa is for the F-1 visa dependents.
- F-3 Visa: This visa is granted to Mexican and Canadian applicants only. They can be enrolled in part-time or full-time study, but are not permitted to work, unlike F-1 visa holders.
- J-1 Visa: The applicants who go to the US for scholars and professors or visiting exchange students, are eligible for the J-1 visa. The exchange students must prove their English language proficiency.
They must also have medical insurance before going to the US. Proof of funding for the students from the government, banks or respective institution must also be submitted.
- The J-2 visa is applicable for dependents of J-1 visa holders. Only if the J-2 visa holders have Employment Authorization Document (EAD), can they work in the US.
- M-1 Visa: The M-1 Visa is offered to those non-immigrants who wish to pursue vocational or non-academic courses. These applicants are not permitted to work off-campus, while their study duration in the US.
- M-2 Visa: This visa is also for dependents of M-1 visa.
Visa Denial Reasons
F-1 or J-1 visas can be denied due to a number of reasons. The denial rate for an F-1 visa noted for only Indian students was 27% for 2018. There are a few mistakes commonly made which must be avoided. Reasons for visa denial are:
- Filing Late Applications: One of the major drawbacks of visa denials is applying late for a visa when the courses are already running at the university. The university may enrol the applicant in the next session until then the I-20 form is not processed.
- Inability to Prove Financial Aid: Visa can be denied if the applicants are unable to prove the financial resources, required for staying in the US. DS-2019 or the I-20 form must show resources more than required else the visa may be denied.
- Lack of Interest in Going Back: Since more than 70% of MS aspirants look forward to TA/RA/GA, they are disinterested in going back to their home country. The US is brimming with non-immigrants and thus, this can prove as a composite reason for the visa denial.
- Inadmissibility: There are numerous reasons for inadmissibility like criminal records, drug abuse, history of trafficking and terrorism. Even if one of the points prove correct against an applicant, they may be denied the visa.
- Unable to Pass-Through Security Check: CLASS or Consular Lookout and Security System database, must not have the applicant’s name. If at all the name appears, there may be a visa denial depending upon the reason that reflects.
Cost for MS in USA
The average tuition fees in a public state university are 35,000 USD and a private university fee is around 45,000 USD.
Estimated Fees for MS in USA
A school in a rural area costs less than a school in the urban area. An apartment in the urban region is almost double of the same in a rural region. The same concept applies to the cost of different amenities in different regions.
The average expenditure of public and private school: -
- Average annual expenses for public state university – 35,000 USD to 45,000 USD.
- Average annual expenses for private state university – 65,000 USD to 75,000 USD.
Note: The figures include tuition, books, board and room, and miscellaneous.
Apart from regular expenses in the U.S., there are expenses before you reach the university. These expenses are one-time and are in a considerable amount.
- Flight Charges
- Visa Fees
- Application Fees
- Registration fees of exams required to study in USA
In case, the students get an assistantship, they will be paid at the end of the month. Meanwhile, they must survive to complete one month on their own funding resources.
Budget Universities for MS in USA
Though the majority of universities in the U.S. are expensive there are certain well-known institutions which offer reasonable tuition fee to international students.
Mentioned are those universities along with the corresponding tuition fee:
|University||Fees in INR||Tuition Fee (USD)|
|Cameron University, Oklahoma||11.37 lakhs||15,510|
|Alabama State University, Alabama||14.22 lakhs||19,396|
|University of Minnesota – Twin Cities||21.20 lakhs||28,910|
|University of North Carolina||15 lakhs||20,457|
|California Polytechnic State University||17.12 lakhs||23,349|
|Florida State University||15.90 lakhs||21,683|
|Angelo State University||15.15 lakhs||20,665|
|Truman State University||10.88 lakhs||14,842|
|Purdue University, Indiana||10.88 lakhs||14,842|
|Shepherd University||13.24 lakhs||18,052|
Cost of Living in USA
Mentioned are the factors considered for expenditure in daily-life. The average expense range is mentioned along with the estimated percentage contribution of each item in a month.
|Item||Percentage Contribution||Approximate Expense Range (Monthly)|
|Rent of Apartment||35.6%||1,000 USD to 2,000 USD|
|Meals||22.58%||30 USD to 40 USD (one-meal)|
|Transportation||7.45%||100 USD to 300USD|
|Personal Expenses||15.99%||300 USD to 600 USD|
|Health Insurance||18.33%||450 USD to 700 USD|
Budget states in the USA
Mentioned are the cheapest options to study in the USA. Average home prices in each state will provide an idea about the number of expenses.
|State||Average Home Price|
MS in USA with Scholarship
The cost of a US Master’s degree is a big factor for international students planning to enrol in an American university/higher education institute. Higher education in the US is by no means inexpensive, and international applicants should be able to finance their education to be allowed entry to the states.
The figure below highlights sources of financing that international students in USA availed for the 2017-2018 academic session.
Although the cost of an MS degree depends on the area of study and the choice of university, students need to pay around 30,000 USD(approx) as tuition fee. The cost of a professional degree is usually higher.
Pursuing a degree at any level in the US is expensive, getting a scholarship is equally difficult. But according to a recent survey by Fulbright Commission, there are around 600 American universities that can offer scholarships worth 20,000 USD and above to international students alone.
International students are usually offered merit-based scholarships along with other types of scholarships. Some of the scholarships offered to only international graduate aspirants are:
- Merit-Based Scholarships: These types of scholarships are offered by different US universities to those students who show exceptional performance academically. A few universities that offer these scholarships are:
- East Tennessee State University: Offers a merit-based scholarship to graduate students of up to 11,500 USD per year.
- New York University Wagner Scholarship: An amount ranging from 25,000 USD to 47,000 USD is offered to meritorious students for either full or partial tuition.
- University Scholarships: Different universities offer scholarships to international students to help them fund their studies. The following universities offer scholarships to international graduate aspirants:
- Clark University: Offers scholarships ranging from 20,000 USD to 25,000 USD to international students pursuing graduate courses.
- Emory University: This university offers need-based financial aid to selected international graduates. While merit-based funding is offered through its Scholar Program.
- Iowa State University: Offers scholarships up to 10,000 USD to international students. Based on their applications for admissions, applicants are automatically selected for a merit-based scholarship.
- University of Oregon: Each year this university awards around 40 scholarships to international students. The scholarships range from 7,500 USD to 30,000 USD waiver on tuition fee.
- Country-specific Scholarships: To encourage students to take up higher studies from developing countries, different types of scholarships are offered to them. So that they can pursue their education without worrying about the costs. Like the Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship.
- Government Scholarships: There are different agencies or commissions that are registered with the government and offer scholarships to students. Some of these agencies or commissions are:
- Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship: 50% of grant and 50% loan is offered to students from developing countries, to encourage them in pursuing graduate or research education in a university or college.
- American Association of University Women: A scholarship ranging from 18,000 USD to 30,000 USD is offered to non-American women. It for those who portray exceptional leadership and commitment towards women empowerment.
- PEO International Peace Scholarship: Students willing to pursue graduate study in America is offered a scholarship of 12,500 USD. International students can also apply.
- Private Scholarships: These scholarships are funded by donors or privately owned businesses. They mostly offer scholarships to students from developing countries. Some of them are:
- Fulbright Commission: The commission offers 8,000 grants to more than 4,000 international students annually. This grant is mainly for aspiring graduates, willing to study in the US.
- The Next Gen Scholarship: A tuition waiver of 1,000 USD can be given to those applicants pursuing studies at Maryland, Washington or Virginia. The applicant must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.0. It is open to international students as well.
- Civil Leadership Awards: A full tuition waiver is offered to those graduate students who show exceptional performance in academics.
Students of which countries take maximum enrollments and why. This can be illustrated through a bar graph, taking certain factors like cost-benefit, visa ease or travel allowance offered, etc.
Popular Scholarships for MS in USA
Scholarships are one of the best ways to save your earnings. Maximum scholarships cover tuition and other charges. International organizations also provide the same for international students. There are quite many governmental, non-governmental and college scholarships.
One of the most famous scholarships provided to students in different domains is the Fulbright scholarship. It is majorly suggested to study in the U.S. with scholarships.
Mentioned are the varied and well-known scholarships offered to international students in the U.S.
|Name of Scholarships||Value|
|Fulbright Foreign Student Program (Government)||The grant funds tuition, airfare, a living stipend, and health insurance for the duration of the study|
|Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program (Government)||Pay tuition and fee, Pre-academic English Training, living allowance, accidental insurance, Air Travel and Professional activities such as field trips and conferences|
|Next-Gen Scholarship||1,000 USD|
|United States South Pacific Scholarship Program (USSP)||Tuition Fee, hall room cost, books, health insurance, airfare (round trip) and a living stipend|
|Community College Initiative Program 2018 (Fully Funded)||Tuition fee, living allowance, airfare, health insurance, and cultural enhancement activities|
Universities offer loads of scholarships to international students. No matter where you attend your school, you simply visit the financial aid office and look for suitable scholarships for yourself. Students can visit the financial aid website of their institution where they can find suitable aid.
Apart from the above-given options, there are numerous offer waiting for you around the world by various international organizations. Aspirants may benefit from this aid for tuition fees and living allowance.
Job Prospects after MS in USA
MS students are intimidated about various jobs to be taken up after 3 or 5 weeks of their admission. Jobs can be availed through either the university partnerships with various companies or on-campus employment. Employment options can be explored via LinkedIn or Indeed in the US. Seeking employment can be easier through annual job fairs as well. The average salary post-MS in USA for students can go up to 74,000 USD.
Research or Teaching Assistants cannot apply before 6 months of their study duration. They can earn around 1,500 USD monthly, which can help in covering the living costs. To be able to work in the US, the applicants must:
- Cooperate with the background checks. Provide correct and authentic information.
- Confirm employment status with the company and apply for the Employment Authorization Document (EAD).
- The applicants must complete the I-765 Application for Employment Form.
- An application fee of 495 USD is charged to fill the form.
- Applicants must also submit:
- Copy of I-94 Nonimmigrant form as proof.
- 2 identical passport-sized photographs.
- Copy of the EAD if applied previously.
The 2017-18 employment statistics show the average salary obtained by students from various fields. It was seen that maximum enrollment and average starting salary was obtained by students pursuing an MS in Engineering. Other fields of study and their average starting salaries are as follows:
|Subject Specialization||International Students Admitted||Average Starting Salary|
|Business & Management||200,500||71,663 USD|
|Mathematics & Computer Sciences||142,000||Mathematics: 67,891 USD
Computer Science: 72,080 USD
|Social Sciences||19,500||52,333 USD|
Popular Jobs after MS in USA
Work Visas for US
- H-1B Visa: This type of work visa is opted by foreign nationals who wish to temporarily work in the US. They must have a degree in specialized courses like Engineering, Computer Science, etc. Around 2 million applicants apply for H1B visa every year.
In 2017 alone, over 236,000 applications were received. Out of which 85,000 were selected. From 85,000 another 20,000 were reserved for those who had a master’s degree. Getting this visa has become the most difficult over these two years, seeing a sharp rise in the number of petitions.
- L-1 Visa: Is offered to those people who are entitled to transfer from one country to the company’s US branch. They are usually trained professional or employees holding positions of managers, senior executives, etc. Also, they must have experience of at least one year. The US and non-US employers must not be related to the employee in any manner.
*The plus point of having an L-1 visa is that the L-1 visa holder’s spouse can work easily in the US. There are different types of L-1 visas as well, they are as follows:
- L-1A Visa: This is exclusively for managers and executives. Having a validity of 7 years.
- L-1B Visa: This visa is for those persons who have specialized knowledge in a certain field. The visa is valid for 5 years.
Work Visa Extension
There is a process which non-immigrants must follow before requesting for a work visa extension. It is recommended to apply for an extension 45 days prior to the authorized expiration. The applicants must first fulfil the following criteria before applying for an extension:
- If the applicant was admitted into the US lawfully, with a non-expired non-immigrant visa.
- The applicant has abided by all rules and regulations to maintain his/her status.
- Also, the students have fulfilled the requirements as promised while admitting.
- Passport and visa are valid, and the applicant has not stayed beyond the actual time limit in the US.
The process of filing and submitting the work visa extension form is through a single form. The steps to fill and submit the form are as follows:
- The students must complete the Form I-539.
- The form costs approximately 350 USD for submission.
- Along with the form, evidence of stay, admission in which university and other personal details are also required.
- Members of the same family or dependents can also file for an extension through the same form.
- Finally, the form should be signed and submitted by the applicant.
Students holding a J-1 or M-1 visa are allowed to work part-time on-campus. They can work for 20 hours per week. On completing the first year at the university, applicants can seek employment that is specifically for international students in:
- Optional Practical Training: Or OPT allows international graduate students to work for one year post-degree completion in the US. This helps the students in gaining practical experience in the field of their choice post-graduation.
- Curricular Practical Training: Through CPT, international graduate students can gain professional experience related to their field of study through paid or unpaid internships, co-operative education, etc. Which may prove beneficial for their work-study program.
- Both OPT and CPT cannot be opted together. If an applicant has already opted for CPT he/she cannot opt for OPT at the same time.
The work-study program does not permit students to work off-campus. But whatever experience an applicant gains, is considered when applying for full-time employment. Students can earn 40 USD to 50 USD per hour. On the whole, the amount totals to 450 USD per month, which covers the living costs.
There are certain restrictions when it comes to the work-study program in the US. Students, in order to maintain their status, must not violate any condition which may lead to visa rejection.
- Applicant must have a job before applying for CPT. The job must be in a relevant field related to the applicant’s focus of study.
- The duration of work-study must not be violated. If it's one year or a few months, as this can lead to deportation.
- Students must not work beyond 20 hours in a week. They may work on 2 jobs but must not exceed the permitted working hours.
- Application for CPT or OPT must be filed as and when the applicant gets a job on-campus. Else the applicant will not be permitted to work.
MS in USA v/s Other Countries
Thousands of students pursue MS in abroad every year. Since students also apply to universities in different countries they must know that each country has a distinct set of requirements. They can vary from course duration to post-degree opportunities. Following section draws a comparison between MS in USA and globally renowned countries like Canada, the UK, Germany and Australia.
MS in USA vs MS in Canada
For the recent admissions of 2018, it was seen that admission to conventional MBA program was 6.6% lower in the US. While Canada saw an increase in MS Data Analytics by 7.7%. Thus, there is a tough competition between Canada and the USA in terms of reputation in imparting quality education and employment opportunities. Choosing one option over the other depends upon the following factors like:
|Factors||MS in Canada||MS in USA|
|Global Ranking (top 50 universities)||7 universities rank||19 universities rank|
|Tuition Fee||20,000 USD - 40,000 USD||24,000 USD - 60,000 USD|
|Living Costs||10,200 USD||12,000 USD|
|Scholarships (international students)||Government-funded or merit-based||Need-based (very few), merit-based|
|Visa||Permanent visa can be availed||Different types of visas as per requirement- work or study|
|GDP (Nominal) Ranking||#10||#1|
|Average Starting Salaries||47,000 USD||52,333 USD|
From the above table, it can be noted that:
- Permanent Residence Visa is easier to obtain in Canada, in comparison to the long and tedious wait for an immigrant visa in the US.
- Studying costs for international students is 30-40% cheaper in Canada in comparison to the US.
- Post MS degree, students can get a job with an average starting salary of 52,500 USD in the US, in comparison to 47,000 USD in Canada.
- Around 70% more funds and scholarships are offered in Canada to international students for MS. On the other hand, scholarships for graduates are meagre in the US.
- Living costs are 2% lower in Canada per annum for an international applicant, in comparison to the US.
MS in USA vs MS in UK
The UK is home to 2 oldest and the most renowned universities, Oxford and Cambridge. admissions to Masters in the UK have surged from 3% from 2017-2018. Whereas US admissions saw an increase in the applications received for MS courses, and consequently a 6% increase in the acceptance rate was recorded for 2018 admissions. Students seeking admissions in MS abroad can consider either of these countries based upon the following comparison:
|Factors||MS in the UK||MS in USA|
|Global Ranking (top 10)||4 universities rank||5 universities rank|
|Tuition Fee||20,700 USD||24,000 USD - 60,000 USD|
|Living Costs||13,100 USD||12,000 USD|
|Scholarships||Partial tuition fee waivers only||Partial to full tuition fee waivers|
|Visa||Tier 4 study visa Tier 2 work visa||J-1/F-1 study visa H1B work visa|
|Average Starting Salaries||28,000 USD - 100,000 USD||52,333 USD|
Pursuing an MS in USA or the UK is a tough choice. Thus, it requires students to choose their options wisely keeping in mind the following points:
- While there is only 1 type of master’s in the US, there are 3 types of postgraduate study options in the UK. They vary in terms of their course curriculums and duration:
- Taught Master’s: 1-year course offering Masters in various fields like MS, MA, MBA, etc.
- Post-graduate Diploma: 2 semesters but without thesis submission at the end.
- Research-based Master’s: 12-24 months, used as an entry requirement to PhD programs. MRes or MPhil is offered.
- Living costs have gone up to 2.46% since 2017 due to UK’s decision for Brexit. Thus, living in the UK is more expensive than in the US.
- Getting a Tier 2-work visa has become even more difficult as the student is given a time period of 6 months to find employment. Salary being around 30,000 Pounds.
- Students post-graduation in the US can avail OPT or CPT depending upon the required amount of time they require to stay back.
- Since the unemployment rate in the UK is touching 50%, not a lot of students are offered jobs, even if they are they are bound to return to their country. The US equally has a high unemployment rate but offers jobs to exceptionally talented students only.
MS in USA vs MS in Germany
Germany is a hub of 100 universities that are known for its technical and applied sciences programs specifically. Though job opportunities are not widely available, yet students can get their hands-on experience through work-study or internships in their desired technical field. In the US, not all work-study programs offer students experience in their field of study. But there are other components that must be considered before choosing either of the options for MS in abroad. They are:
|Factors||MS in the UK||MS in USA|
|Global Ranking (top 100)||3 universities rank||28 universities rank|
|Tuition Fee||24,000 USD - 30,000 USD||24,000 USD - 60,000 USD|
|Living Costs||10,200 USD||12,000 USD|
|Scholarships||Government, non-government and university-specific||Merit-based for international students|
|Work-Study||180 days part-time/90 days full-time||20 hours per week|
|Visa||Residence Permit of 18 months||Student visa/work visa|
Admission process and requirements do not vary widely except for language requirements. A well thought out decision
- Abitur or high school completion requiring 15 years of education in Germany is mandatory for MS admissions. While 16 years of education is mandatory for admission in the US.
- A year's experience betters the chances for selection to MS courses in Germany. Whereas, students having experience in research proves beneficial for US admissions.
- Language proficiency: If opting for German taught courses, then students will have to submit test scores of TestDAF, DSH Level 2 or German B1. But if applying for English taught courses then scores of TOEFL or IELTS can be submitted.
- Abundant scholarships are offered in Germany to international students. While in the US mostly merit-based scholarships are offered.
German government encourages learning through exchange programs as well, having tie-ups with over 2,000 institutions worldwide.
Ques. What is the cost of pursuing MS in USA?
Ans. The cost of studying MS in US ranges from 14,000 to 120,000 USD depending on the university of choice and the program which you opt. These are majorly the tuition costs, additionally you will be required to have around 10,000 USD to support your living expenses in USA.
Ques. What are the exams required for MS in USA?
Ans. International applicants are required to submit test scores of exams like GRE (300+), IELTS (7.0), and TOEFL (96-100), LSAT, MCAT, GMAT, etc. IELTS & TOEFL are mostly required by international students belonging to non-native English speaking countries. Other competitive exams may or may not be required based on the course you opt for and the university of choice
Ques. What is the eligibility for MS in US?
Ans. For MS in US, international applicants must hold a 16-years education qualification- 4-years bachelor's or equivalent in relevant subject with at least 80% or more. Alongside this, you must clear English langauge proficiency tests like IELTS and TOEFL and fulfill the minimum requirements for your university. You are also required to have GRE/GMAT/LSAT/MCAT scores depending on which course you have opted for.
Ques. What is the duration of MS in US?
Ans. MS in US is usually 1-year full-time program. However, some courses may take up to 2-3 years to complete.
Ques. What is the average salary after MS in USA?
Ans. Post completion of MS from USA, you can land an average salary of 52,000 to 65,000 USD a year. Students must note that the salary package varies depending on the sector and job role you land in.
Ques. What earns more salary MS degree or MBA degree from US?
Ans. MBA graduates from the US earn a rather higher salary when compared with MS graduates. Though salaries offered to MBA graduates in US in higher, so is the cost of pursuing MBA when compared with MS courses.
Ques. What are the best college for MS in USA?
Ans. Some of the world ranking US universities for MS in USA are Harvard, Yale, MIT, Columbia University, UCLA, NYU, Cornell, Stanford, UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pennsylvania, Penn State, Caltech, etc.
Ques. Are scholarships available for MS in US?
Ans. Yes, a variety of scholarships are available for pursuing MS in USA. Awards offering students with a complete tuition waiver are available for pursuing MS in USA.