MS in USA: How to Apply, Exams, Colleges, Fees, CutOff, Courses & Visa

The USA is the most popular destination that most of the graduate students choose to pursue their master’s degree program. This country has plenty to offer as an international postgraduate to the overseas students. By continuing your MS from the USA, you will become one of over 900,000 foreign students who enrolled in the post graduate programs.

MS in USA

Along with being the most popular destination for international study, it is also one of the biggest. It has a total of 50 states, 9.8 million square miles area, and over 4,500 higher education providers who contribute to making a pleasing memories for the students who want to pursue their MS.
 

Why USA?

It is a fact in the American Universities that “bigger the size, better the scope.” So, USA represents a significant number of great universities. There are over 4,500 universities and other higher education providers in this country. Out of these 4,500 universities, only around 1,700 universities provide Master’s Level Degree.

 
American education provides a comprehensive approach by combining enhanced theoretical knowledge and research works with all-round personality development, and hence they are well recognized all over the world.
Here I am pointing some of the best reasons that you will appreciate for doing Masters’ from the USA.

 

1 World- Class Universities

American Institutes are known all over the world for their quality education and these universities also dominate in the global ranking. According to a research from Times Higher Education’s league, 24 universities out of the top 50 institutions are based from the USA.

 

2 International Outlook

It is no doubt that American institutions have so far the best of infrastructure. This country has many places to visit which are enriched with natural beauty and is able to manipulate one.

 

3 Funding Opportunities

Pursuing MS from the USA is not everyone’s cup of tea due to its high tuition fees and other expensive expenses. However, there is nothing to worry about as American Institutions provides plenty of funding opportunities for talented overseas students. Most of the bigger institutions provide scholarship which is awarded by economic status and merit-based status to financially support them and to motivate them to pursue MS.

 
Most of the scholarship funding is provided to the potential candidates regardless of their nationality. However, some of these funding are reserved for domestic candidates to motivate the students of their own country to pursue higher educations.

 
One always need to be aware of things like the education system, visa requirements of the country and required process details, study environment, weather details, etc. before pursuing the Master’s degree.

 

Education System

The education system of USA is quite surprising as this is one of the countries which does not follow any national education system. The federal government has, however, a state level graduation exam which a student must need to pass for getting a degree and to pursue a master’s degree. The best thing about this country is that it has a good number of educational institutions for higher studies.

 
The master’s degree from American Institutions is much more structured as compared to other countries like UK, Germany, etc. The master’s programme provides both of theoretical and practical knowledge independently, but they are assessed in much more formal manner across the program schedule.

 
However, this approach has its advantage, and in fact nowadays, many of the other countries institution are copying the American model programs to make their system more structured and for the benefits of their students. The advantages of this organized training are that you will surely acquire a range of complementary skills alongside your academic degree.

 

Grading and Regular Assessment pattern in USA.

Unlike other countries, master’s degree in American universities involves regular continuous assessment. In American Institutions, the marking scheme is divided into the grade point average (GPA) scheme pattern in which the complete focus is on the all-round development of a student. This will reflect the progress across the entire course including regular tasks related to theoretical examination on core knowledge to the shorter coursework essays.

If one is really looking for knowledge, then they should must go for MS from the USA as it will add substantial benefits to your career.

 

Relevant Exams and Scores for Persuading MS in USA

In this section, we will study the utmost exams; one must attend if you are willing to pursue MS in the USA. TOEFL and IELTS exam scores are very much required in any US universities for Persuading their MS. GRE is one of the exams that not every American university are looking for. However, most of them ask for GRE paper scores of the candidates and also set up the minimum required scores to apply for the admission. Often, candidates are eager to know the minimum required GRE Scores to qualify for the admission process for MS in different universities. The minimum required score also varies upon the field you are applying for.

 
So, basically, GRE and English Proficiency Tests exams like IELTS and TOEFL are required for Persuading Masters from this country.

 

1. GRE (Graduate Record Exam)

You would be very much aware of the importance of a good GRE score in the application process if you have a plan of completing MS in the USA.

 
The mean scores required for completing MS from the USA from different streams in Masters are as follows:

 

A. Master’s Degree in Business

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 150 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 153 marks

 

B. Master’s Degree in Social Sciences

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 153 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 151 marks

 

C. Master’s Degree in Physical Sciences

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 151 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 158 marks

 

D. Master’s Degree in Life Sciences

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 151 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 151 marks

 

E. Master’s Degree in Arts and Humanities

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 157 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 150 marks

 

The above-mentioned scores are the mean (average) scores across several universities in the USA, the minimum required score for the top-ranked colleges is much higher.

 
Let’s take a look at how the score varies for top colleges in different fields.

 

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

 

A. MS in Engineering

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 162 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

B. MS in Computer science

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 160 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 164 marks

 

C. MS in Psychology

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 163 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 154 marks

 

D. MS in Physics

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 167 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

E. MS in Chemistry

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 164 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 163 marks

 

F. MS in Mathematics

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 165 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

2. Harvard

 

A. MS in Engineering

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score – 160 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

B. MS in computer science

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 155 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 161 marks

 

C. MS in Psychology

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 163 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 154 marks

 

D. MS in Physics

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 167 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

E. MS in Chemistry

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 164 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 163 marks

 

F. MS in Mathematics

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 165 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

3. Stanford

 

A. MS in Engineering

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 159 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

B. MS in computer science

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 160 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 164 marks

 

C. MS in Psychology

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 163 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 154 marks

 

D. MS in Physics

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 167 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

E. MS in Chemistry

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 164 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 163 marks

 

F. MS in Mathematics

  • Average Verbal Cutoff Score- 165 marks
  • Average Quantitative Cutoff Score- 167 marks

 

The average GRE score varies from 130 to 170 marks, and the GRE percentile varies accordingly in such exams. A candidate must need to score a decent score in both of the sections of verbal and quantitative to get a higher percentile as a slight change in score of one marks can vary the candidate’s rank to a higher level.

 

Some programs put higher emphasis on the quantitative score, such as Engineering which is less dependent on the verbal score. So, applicants applying for MS in engineering should more focus on the quantitative section, whereas those who are aiming for MS in other fields like Psychology, Arts, Humanities, etc. need to get good verbal scores.

 

Let’s categorize GRE scores according to the ratings from poor to excellent –

 

GRE Score Rating:

  • 165- 170: Excellent
  • 155- 164: Very Good
  • 150- 154: Good
  • 140- 149: Needs Improvement
  • 130- 139: Poor

 

2. IELTS/ TOEFL

IELTS and TOEFL are the English proficiency tests which are a part of the application process if you have a target of taking admission for MS in the USA. International English Language Tests (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) are the two most accepted exams which measure the English Speaking Proficiency of a candidate.

 
TOEFL include four regional accents tests of US, which make it first compulsory choice for MS in the country over the IELTS (which mostly include British accents). In other words, TOEFL is almost accepted by every American university, which can’t be confirmed with the IELTS.

 
We have included different sections of these English Proficiency Tests to get a better understanding of the exam pattern. Let’s analyze each section step by step:

 

1 Writing Section

IELTS and TOEFL both have different patterns of taking writing section exam. TOEFL considers on screen writing section exams in which candidate has to type on computer, while in IELTS, one has to write on paper. SO, it is best advised to go for IELTS, if you are slow in typing, or go for TOEFL if you have a poor hand writing.

 

2 Speaking Section

IELTS has a quite separate way of conducting the speaking section exam as a candidate requires to speak directly to the examiner during the examination, and he/ she has to answer every question of the examiner. While in TOEFL, a candidate response is recorded into the computer with the help of the microphone. All of the candidates are provided 15 seconds of time to prepare for the response and 30 seconds of time to answer the problem. In both of these exams, on-screen timer shows the remaining time, so that a candidate can manage his answer pretty well.

 

3 Listening Section

The listening section of IELTS is very easy and pretty straight forward as compared to the TOEFL paper. A candidate only need to hear the conversation very carefully, and then answer the question based on the test. In TOEFL, you are needed to make notes during the listening audio as speech is very fast in these examination. On the other hand, there is no need to make notes during the IELTS paper.

 

4 Reading Section

The reading section of TOEFL is very much common to the GRE, and you need to be a fast reader if you really want to clear the test. IELTS is slightly easier as compared to the TOEFL, but more or less the exam patterns are pretty much similar.

 

ADMISSION PROCESS FOR PURSUING MS IN USA

Through this article, we are providing detailed steps for your Masters in the USA. If you are planning a higher education immediately after your graduation, you need to start early. It is best advised to start the preparation for your entrance exam in the last year of your graduation so that you hit your target with time in your hand. An entrance exam is the first hurdle if you are planning your MS from any university in USA. The candidates need to give the GRE as an entrance test for further admission into any college.

 
Along with GRE, all the candidates are also required to give TOEFL which is a common exam to be given by the students for study in the USA. All of the required information about both of the GRE and TOEFL has been illustrated above. So, let’s focus more on the admission process in this section.

 
Once the candidates are done with these exams and after getting the required score in the test, a student then applies for admission by the admission application to a number of American Universities.

 
Once this process is done, a student will get the confirmation letter or the admission letter for the admission into the universities for which the candidate has applied for. The distribution of admission letter is based on the candidate’s score in the GRE and TOEFL/ IELTS test, work experience, and many of the other factors. The admission letter is sent to the eligible candidates after analyzing their admission application process form for the further process.

 
Along with the confirmation letter, the university also sends an application where the student has to resend the duly filled application with the required fund available proof and other required documents. The admission letter is received by the students from the one or multiple universities for which he/ she has applied for.

 
The candidate needs to then decide which university they are planning to study further. After receiving the admission confirmation letter, the student needs to send a document stating proof of funds available with the other relevant documents to the university for getting the I 20. If the proof of funds containing documents is genuine, then the university issues the I 20 receipt to the eligible students.

 
I 20 receipt is a mandatory document as the one not having this can’t apply for a visa to study in the USA. There are 3 types of proof of funds that the university accepts for the I20.

  • Bank Statement (If money available in cash)
  • Solvency Letter (Proof of total assets)
  • Education Loan Sanction Letter / Approval Letter

 

After applying the I 20 from the respected universities, a student needs to then apply for the US visa. The very next step is to make an appointed with the US embassy officials for getting the visa to visit the country. All of the booking appointment is done online.

 

Once the appointment with embassy officials are booked, candidates can be able to view their appointment letter on the screen. Make sure you take a printout of this application as it will be needed on the day of your VISA interview.

 

On the day of the interview, it will be informed to you that whether your VISA application has been accepted or rejected. Make sure you provide an accurate and detailed reason while applying for your VISA.

 

After the successful approval of your VISA, the students need to pay their fees via online. American colleges accept payment through many platforms.

 

Some of the accepted payment services in these colleges are:

  • Forex
  • Demand Drafts
  • Travelers Cheque

 

Last but not the least, when all the processes have been done, be sure to carry all your documents with you. The list of luggage to be carried is nowadays is easily available on the internet.

 

PROMINENT COURSES AND COLLEGES FOR MS IN USA

After you have decided to complete your MS from the USA, there is a piece of good news for you that you are free to select any course for doing MS as per your choice. Generally, most of the people choose computer science as a major subject considering the widespread growth of IT sector regarding this. Most of the people also choose the hybrid subject which includes the combination of electrical with IT, or mechanical with IT like the Automation or “Automotive Engineering”.

 

Through this post, I am listing some of the top popular courses for completing your MS from American Universities:

 

MS in Business Management:

Business Management is one of the top courses to study in the USA as it surpasses all other fields, and about 20 % of the students aim to choose this course over others. According to the rankings provided by the FT and The Economists, most of the American universities are listed among the top business schools. About seven of the ten business schools among the best universities around the world are from the USA (according to rankings by FT). Some of the popular colleges which always excites any students are Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, etc.

 

These are the topmost five business colleges of the country:

  • Harvard Business School
  • University of Pennsylvania : Wharton
  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Columbia Business School
  • MIT: Sloan

 

MS in Engineering

Engineering is a very wide subject which includes versatile fields of knowledge. Very likely to the business schools, US also stands as a top performer with the maximum number of engineering colleges in the top ten list prepared by the QS.

 
However, Engineering is also the highest paying courses, and some of the specializations like civil and mechanical fetch the highest paid salaried jobs in the market.

 
Some of the top engineering colleges to pursue your MS in USA are as follows:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Harvard University
  • California Institute of Technology, (Caltech)

 

MS in Maths and Computer Sciences

Maths and Computer Sciences are one of the top most attractive courses which always excites students after the Business Management and Engineering. According to STEM, about 30 % of the international students are making this subject as one of the top courses. Some of the big names in the institutes like Harvard, Stanford, MIT again also comes in the top universities for Maths and Computer Sciences.
 
Studying MS from SA in this field has its own benefits, as you will get ample scope to explore research opportunities in this country.

 

Best of the colleges for doing MS in Mathematics from USA are as follows:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University
  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Harvard University
  • University of California, Berkeley (UCB)

 

Now, list of five best colleges to pursue your MS in Mathematics are as follows:

  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Stanford University
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • Princeton University

 

MS in Social Sciences:

Social Sciences is also one of the top courses that students choose to pursue their MS from the USA. About 75,000 students enrolled for this subject every year in American Universities. Different subjects like Anthropology, Journalism, International relations, Economics, etc. are covered in Social Sciences and Humanities, and hence, many students choose this subject over Business Management, and Engineering because of the wide scope of research in this area.

 

The top rates social studies colleges for doing MS are as follows:

  • Harvard University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Princeton University
  • University of Chicago
  • Stanford University

 

MS in Medical Sciences

Physical and Life Sciences has been evolved a lot in the 21st century. This subject has been proved as a big hit among international students. In fact, many students are moving from traditional fields and joining the combined courses in these fields.

 

Some of the best medical colleges in the USA are as follows:

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
  • University of California, San Francisco

 

OVERALL COST OF DOING MS IN USA

In this article, we have summed up the total cost of doing MS in the USA from the application fees to the living expenses in the country. Let’s discuss the expenses in different sections, i.e., expenses while in India, and the expenses in the USA.

 

Expenses While in India

 

Graduate Record Examination (GRE) Exam Fee

GRE is mandatory for applying for MS from most of the American University. It is like an entry ticket for applying to these colleges. However, there are also some colleges where GRE is not a mandatory process for applying into these colleges.

 

The fees for the GRE entrance examination is about $ 205 (14,500 INR). If you have scored less in the first attempt, then it will cost you another $ 205 for re-taking the examination.

 

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

TOEFL is the test that you can’t skip like GRE (as some of the American schools accepts admission without GRE score). It is like a passport to the USA as universities need proof of your English proficiency. Even if this will be not required while the application process, you will surely need this during your VISA interview. Cost of TOEFL test is about $ 170 (12,000 INR).

 

Application fees for the US universities

On an average, the application process to any American colleges will cost you about $60, and for sending your test scores will be $47 ($27 for sending GRE scores + $20 for sending TOEFL score).

 

SO, it will cost you about $107 for sending your application to one university, and if one is applying to about ten colleges at a time, it will cost about $1070 (75,000 INR).

 

VISA and Flight Tickets Cost

After receiving your I20, you need to pay for the VISA fee, which costs about $160 (11,200 INR) followed by another $200 as a SEVIS fee (14,000 INR). Single way airfare in Economy Class will cost you in between 40,000 to 60,000 INR while a return ticket will cost you about 60,000 to 90,000 INR.

 

Expenses While in USA

Some of the city in the USA like California, New York, Chicago, New Jersey, Washington, Florida, Washington, etc. are quite popular, and hence living in these cities is quite expensive. So, it is better advised to find a roommate while shifting to a new flat in the new city, as it will help you to manage your expenses.

 

Some of the expenses while in the USA are tuition fee and the living expenses.

 

Tuition Fee

Tuition fees vary from the university to university, and it also depends on the course you are applying for. On an average, average tuition fee for two years MS program will cost you around USD 40,000 (28,00,000 INR).

 

There are specific scholarships in every university to which you can apply for getting financial aids for your MS program. You can also apply for education loan to manage your tuition fee expenses.

 

Living Expenses

Living expenses also depend on several factors like location, apartment size, number of roommates, etc. An approximate estimation for living expenses for around two years MS program will be about $15,000 (INR 10,50,000).

 

You may also check – Study MBA in USA

 

However, most of the students do internships and assistantship program during this two-year course, which covers a lot of their expenses.

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