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10 June 2023

7 minutes read

Average Masters Fees in the USA


  • Financial Planning is Crucial: Pursuing an MS in the USA involves significant financial planning, with tuition fees ranging from $20,000 to $50,000 per year, varying by university and program.
  • Scholarships Can Ease the Burden: Exploring scholarship opportunities is essential for reducing the financial strain of tuition fees and living expenses.
  • Affordable Options Exist: Public universities and certain states offer more affordable education without compromising on quality.

The United States has long been a coveted destination for students around the world seeking a Master of Science (MS) degree. The allure lies not just in the prestigious academic environment but also in the promise of future opportunities.

For Indian students, pursuing an MS in the USA symbolizes excellence and a pathway to a global career. However, embarking on this journey requires understanding the cost of MS in the USA, encompassing tuition fees, living expenses, and more.

This guide aims to provide a detailed insight into the financial planning necessary to make this significant academic endeavor a success.

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Cost of Studying MS in the USA

The cost of pursuing an MS in the USA is a variable that depends on several factors including the choice of university, program, state, and lifestyle. On average, international students can expect tuition fees to range between $20,000 to $50,000 per year.

Public universities tend to be more affordable than private ones, but the cost also varies significantly between different states and cities.

Want to get accepted into your dream university?

Learn about the acceptance rates of U.S. universities for MS programs to assess your admission chances better.

Tuition Fees Across Top-Ranked Universities

Ivy League and other top-tier universities are known for their high standards of education and equally high tuition fees. However, they often provide comprehensive financial aid packages that can significantly reduce the cost for qualified students.

Tuition Fees at Top-Ranked Universities

University NameAverage Tuition Fee (USD per year)Financial Aid Availability
Harvard University$50,000 – $55,000Extensive aid packages
Stanford University$51,000 – $56,000Need-based scholarships
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)$53,000 – $58,000Merit and need-based aid
Princeton University$48,000 – $53,000Generous financial aid
Yale University$55,000 – $60,000Need-blind aid for all

Note: These figures are estimates and can vary based on different courses.

Subject-Specific Tuition Breakdown

The cost of an MS program can vary significantly depending on the field of study. Some fields, like Medicine and Engineering, require more resources and thus, might have higher tuition fees.

Subject-Specific Average Tuition Fees

Field of StudyAverage Tuition Fee (USD per year)Notes
Medicine$50,000 – $65,000Includes lab fees and materials
Engineering$30,000 – $55,000May vary by specialization
Business Administration$40,000 – $60,000Higher for top-ranked programs
Computer Science$25,000 – $50,000Depends on the university’s resources
Humanities$20,000 – $45,000Varies widely by program

Note: These figures are estimates and can vary based on different universities.

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Tuition Fees for Master’s Degrees in the USA – Average Costs for Popular Subjects

Understanding the costs associated with specific fields of study is crucial for students planning to pursue an MS in the USA.

While Engineering, Business, and Computer Science are popular choices, other fields also attract a significant number of students due to their future career prospects and academic value. Here’s a look at the average tuition fees for a range of popular subjects.

Average Tuition Fees by Field of Study

Field of StudyAverage Tuition Fee (USD per year)Notes
Engineering and Technology$20,000 – $50,000Includes various engineering disciplines
Business and Management$25,000 – $60,000Includes MBA and specialized business degrees
Computer Science and IT$20,000 – $55,000Includes specializations in AI, Data Science, etc.
Health Sciences$25,000 – $60,000Includes Public Health, Nursing, and other health-related fields
Education$15,000 – $40,000Includes Teaching, Administration, etc.
Law$30,000 – $65,000Includes JD and LLM programs
Social Sciences$20,000 – $45,000Includes Psychology, Sociology, etc.
Arts and Humanities$20,000 – $45,000Includes fields like History, Literature, and Fine Arts
Natural Sciences$20,000 – $50,000Includes Biology, Chemistry, Physics, etc.

Note: These figures are estimates and can vary based on different universities.

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 Cost of MS: How much is Master’s Degree in the USA

Before embarking on the journey to pursue a Master’s in the USA, Indian students must prepare for a range of pre-arrival expenses. These costs are essential to consider for budgeting and planning purposes.

Exam Fees (GRE, TOEFL)

Application and Visa Processing Fees

  • Application Fees: These fees vary by university but generally fall between $50 to $100 per application. Some schools might waive these fees based on financial need or for attending recruitment events.
  • U.S. F1 Visa Fee: Necessary for international students, this fee is $160, plus potential additional issuance fees depending on your country.

Pre-Arrival Planning

  • Travel Insurance: Essential for covering unexpected medical and travel-related emergencies. Costs vary by coverage level.
  • Airfare: Depending on the time of booking and the city of departure in India, a one-way ticket can range from $500 to $1,500.
  • Immunizations and Medical Check-ups: Some universities require a medical check-up before arrival. The costs will vary based on the specific healthcare provider and required vaccinations.
how much is master degree in usa

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Living Expenses in the USA

The cost of living can vary significantly based on the city and lifestyle. Here’s a breakdown:

Monthly Living Expenses

Expense CategoryMonthly Cost RangeDetails
Housing$500 – $1,000 (Off-Campus)Shared living spaces; cost varies by location.
$800 – $1,500 (On-Campus)Includes convenience and campus resources.
Utilities$50 – $100May be included in off-campus rent.
Food$150 – $300Depends on eating out vs. cooking at home.
Transportation$100 – $300Varies by city and choice of public vs. personal transport.
Health Insurance$50 – $200Mandatory for all students; varies by plan.
Personal Expenses$100 – $300Includes clothing, entertainment, and miscellaneous items.

Note: These figures are estimates and can vary based on specific circumstances.

Comparing On-Campus vs. Off-Campus Living

  • On-Campus Housing: Typically more expensive upfront but offers convenience, security, and a fixed cost. It’s ideal for first-year students or those unfamiliar with the area.
  • Off-Campus Housing: This can be more affordable but requires dealing with landlords, utility bills, and potentially unforeseen maintenance issues. It offers more privacy and a chance to explore life beyond the campus.

Cost-Saving Tips for International Students

  • Buy Secondhand: Purchase used books, furniture, and electronics.
  • Cook at Home: Eating out is often more expensive than preparing meals.
  • Public Transportation: Use student discounts for buses and trains instead of owning a car.
  • Find Roommates: Sharing an apartment can significantly cut housing costs.
  • Take Advantage of Student Discounts: Many venues and services offer discounts to students.
  • Limit International Calls: Use internet-based services like WhatsApp or Skype for calling home.

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Scholarships for International Students in the US 

Did You Know?

Did you know that the Tata Scholarship Fund supports Indian students pursuing an MS at Cornell University, offering financial aid that covers tuition, living expenses, and more? This is just one example of the many scholarship opportunities available to help ease the financial burden of studying in the USA.

Scholarships can significantly ease the financial burden of studying in the USA, making the dream of pursuing an MS more accessible for international students, including those from India.

How to Secure Scholarships

Securing a scholarship requires strategic planning and diligent effort. Here are steps to enhance your chances:

  • Start Early: Begin researching scholarships as soon as you decide to study abroad.
  • Understand the Requirements: Each scholarship has its own set of criteria. Make sure you meet them before applying.
  • Apply Widely: Don’t limit yourself to just the high-value scholarships. Smaller awards can accumulate to cover a significant portion of your expenses.
  • Highlight Your Strengths: Whether it’s academic excellence, community service, or special talents, make sure your application showcases what makes you unique.

Types of Scholarships and Eligibility

Various scholarships cater to different student needs and achievements. Understanding the types and their eligibility criteria is crucial.

Types of Scholarships for International Students

Type of ScholarshipDescriptionTypical Eligibility Criteria
Merit-BasedAwarded based on academic or extracurricular achievementsHigh GPA, letters of recommendation, essays
Need-BasedGiven to students with demonstrated financial needProof of income, FAFSA for some US-based aid
Program-SpecificFor students pursuing a specific field of studyEnrolled in a relevant program, may require specific projects or research
Country-SpecificAimed at students from a particular countryMust be a resident or citizen of the specified country

Tata Scholarship for MS in the USA, learn more

scholarships for international students in the us 

Most Affordable States and Universities for MS in the USA

The location of your university can significantly impact the overall cost of your education in the USA.

Cost Comparisons Between States

The cost of living and tuition fees can vary dramatically between states. Researching and comparing these costs can help you make a more informed decision.

Average Cost of Living and Tuition Fees by State

StateAverage Annual Tuition Fee (USD)Average Monthly Cost of Living (USD)
Texas$25,000 – $35,000$1,000 – $1,500
Florida$20,000 – $30,000$1,000 – $1,500
North Carolina$20,000 – $30,000$1,000 – $1,500
California$30,000 – $50,000$1,500 – $2,500
New York$35,000 – $60,000$1,500 – $3,000

Note: These figures are estimates and can vary based on specific circumstances.

To learn more about scholarships for MS in the USA, click here

Affordable yet Reputable Institutions 

Finding a balance between affordability and quality is key. Here are some tips:

  • Public Universities: Generally offer lower tuition rates than private ones and still provide excellent education.
  • Community Colleges: Offer 2-year associate degrees at lower costs which can then be transferred to a 4-year university.
  • Scholarships and Financial Aid: Even more expensive states and universities can become affordable with the right financial aid package.


Pursuing an MS in the USA is a significant but rewarding investment. Indian students should balance their academic ambitions with financial realities, exploring all avenues for reducing costs without compromising on the quality of education.

Unlock a world of educational opportunities by discovering scholarships tailored to your needs with Ambitio’s Scholarship Finder. This tool empowers you to find financial support that aligns with your academic goals and aspirations, easing the journey toward your dream education.


What’s the average cost of an MS in the USA for Indian students?

Indian students typically spend between $30,000 and $70,000 annually, covering tuition and living expenses.

How can Indian students reduce their study costs in the USA?

Opt for scholarships, select affordable universities and states, and manage living expenses wisely.

Are part-time jobs feasible for Indian students in the USA?

Yes, students on F-1 visas can work up to 20 hours per week on-campus and full-time during holidays.

What additional expenses should Indian students consider?

Beyond tuition, factor in accommodation, food, transport, health insurance, and miscellaneous costs.

What should Indian students prioritize when choosing a US university for MS?

Consider the university’s reputation, program quality, location, internship opportunities, and support for international students.

What is the average cost of pursuing a master’s degree in the USA?

The average cost of pursuing a master’s degree in the USA varies significantly depending on factors like the institution type (public or private), program specialization, and location. Generally, tuition can range from $20,000 to $60,000 per year.

Do master’s fees in the USA vary significantly between programs or universities?

Yes, master’s fees in the USA can vary widely between different programs and universities. Factors influencing this variation include the prestige of the institution, the type of program, and whether the institution is public or private.

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