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1 July 2023

8 minutes read

How to do MS in the USA?

Key Takeaways

  • The USA offers world-class education with a wide range of specializations for MS programs.
  • Research and practical experience opportunities are abundant in US universities.
  • Scholarships and financial aid options are available for Indian students.
  • A strong application includes standardized test scores, LORs, SOP, and a relevant academic background.
  • Career prospects post-MS are promising across various fields with competitive salaries.

The United States stands as a beacon for higher education, especially for Indian students aspiring to pursue a Master of Science (MS). The allure of the US lies in its cutting-edge research, diverse specializations, and the prestige of its universities.

This guide delves into every aspect of pursuing an MS in the USA, tailored specifically for Indian students.

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Why Pursue an MS in the USA? 

how to go for ms in usa
  • World-Class Education: The USA is home to many of the world’s top-ranking universities, known for their cutting-edge research, quality education, and innovative teaching methodologies.
  • Diverse Specializations: Offering a wide range of specializations, the US educational system allows students to tailor their MS programs to align perfectly with their career goals and interests.
  • Research and Development Opportunities: With state-of-the-art facilities and access to advanced technology, students have unparalleled opportunities for research and practical experience.
  • Global Networking: Studying in the USA provides a platform to build a global network with peers, professionals, and faculty from around the world, which can be invaluable for future career prospects.
  • Cultural Diversity: American universities boast a multicultural environment, offering a rich cultural exchange and a broader perspective on global issues.
  • Career Advancement: An MS degree from a US university is highly valued worldwide, often leading to better job prospects, higher salaries, and opportunities for growth in various industries.
  • Internships and Work Opportunities: Many programs offer internships and co-op opportunities, allowing students to gain real-world experience and sometimes even leading to full-time job offers post-graduation.
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation: The USA is known for its entrepreneurial spirit and innovation, offering an ideal environment for aspiring entrepreneurs and innovators.
  • Flexibility in Course Structure: American MS programs often offer flexibility in course selection and the pace of study, accommodating students’ individual needs and preferences.
  • Scholarship and Financial Aid: There are numerous scholarships and financial aid options available for international students, making education more accessible.

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How to do Masters in the USA

Choosing the Right University and Course

how to study ms in usa

Top University and their Offering

UniversityLocationRenowned MS CoursesKey Features
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Cambridge, MA– Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
– Mechanical Engineering
– Data Science
– Cutting-edge research facilities
– Strong industry connections
– Interdisciplinary approach
Stanford UniversityStanford, CA– Computer Science
– Business Analytics
– Environmental Science and Engineering
– Located in Silicon Valley, a hub for tech innovation
– Extensive alumni network
– Emphasis on entrepreneurship
Harvard UniversityCambridge, MA– Biotechnology
– Public Health
– Applied Mathematics
– World-renowned faculty
– Extensive research opportunities
– Strong focus on innovation and leadership
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)Pasadena, CA– Aeronautics
– Space Engineering
– Applied Physics
– Small student-to-faculty ratio
– Strong focus on scientific and engineering research
– Collaborations with NASA and JPL
University of California, BerkeleyBerkeley, CA– Civil and Environmental Engineering
– Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences
– Information Management and Systems
– Diverse research initiatives
– Proximity to Silicon Valley
– Strong focus on societal impact
University of ChicagoChicago, IL– Financial Mathematics
– Computer Science
– Analytics
– Renowned for quantitative and analytical courses
– Strong connections to global financial markets
– Interdisciplinary curriculum
Princeton UniversityPrinceton, NJ– Neuroscience
– Chemical and Biological Engineering
– Public Affairs
– Close-knit academic community
– Extensive research facilities
– Focus on both foundational theory and practical application
Columbia UniversityNew York, NY– Electrical Engineering
– Machine Learning
– Earth and Environmental Engineering
– Located in the heart of New York City
– Strong industry ties, particularly in finance and media
– Diverse student body

Quick Tip!

  • Start preparing for standardized tests like GRE or GMAT early to ensure competitive scores.

Understanding Eligibility and Admission Requirements

Requirement TypeDescriptionCommon CriteriaAdditional Notes
Academic BackgroundEducational qualifications are required for MS admissions.A bachelor’s degree in a related field with a strong academic record.Some programs may have specific course prerequisites or prefer a certain undergraduate major.
Standardized TestsExams that assess various skills and knowledge areas.GRE or GMAT for most programs; specific scores depend on the university and program.Some programs may waive these tests based on work experience or other criteria.
Language ProficiencyRequirement for non-native English speakers.TOEFL or IELTS scores; minimum score requirements vary by university.Some institutions may accept alternative proofs of English proficiency.
Work ExperienceProfessional experience in a relevant field.Not mandatory for all programs, but highly valued, especially for MBA and specialized MS degrees.Relevant internships and projects can also be considered.
Letters of Recommendation (LORs)Recommendations from academicians or professionals.Typically, 2-3 LORs are required, highlighting the applicant’s academic and/or professional capabilities.Choose recommenders who know you well and can speak to your strengths and potential.
Statement of Purpose (SOP)A personal essay outlining the applicant’s goals, motivations, and suitability for the program.Should be concise, well-written, and align your background and aspirations with the program.Tailor your SOP for each application to reflect how you fit with that specific program and university.
Resume/CVA summary of educational and professional history.Should include academic achievements, work experience, skills, and any relevant accomplishments.Keep it concise and relevant to the field of study you are applying for.
Application Form & FeesFill out the university’s application form and pay the application fee.Details vary by university but generally include personal information, education history, test scores, and essays.Ensure to meet all deadlines and provide accurate information.

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What is the Process to Study MS in the USA

  1. Research and Select Universities and Programs
    • Identify universities and specific MS programs that align with your academic and career goals.
    • Consider factors like program ranking, location, faculty, research facilities, and alumni success.
  2. Check Eligibility Criteria
    • Review the admission requirements for each selected program, including academic qualifications, standardized test scores, and language proficiency.
  3. Prepare for and Take Standardized Tests
    • Schedule and prepare for necessary standardized tests like the GRE or GMAT, and language proficiency tests like TOEFL or IELTS.
    • Aim to complete these tests well before application deadlines.
  4. Gather Required Documents
    • Compile academic transcripts, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, a resume/CV, and any other required documents.
  5. Write a Compelling Statement of Purpose (SOP)
    • Craft a thoughtful and personalized SOP that articulates your reasons for pursuing an MS, your goals, and why you are a good fit for the program.
  6. Obtain Letters of Recommendation (LORs)
    • Request LORs from academic or professional references who can vouch for your abilities and potential.
  7. Fill Out Application Forms
    • Carefully complete application forms for each university, ensuring all information is accurate and complete.
  8. Submit Applications Before Deadlines
    • Pay attention to application deadlines and submit all materials promptly. Some universities may have different deadlines for international students.
  9. Track Your Applications
    • After submission, keep track of your applications and be prepared to provide any additional information if requested by the university.
  10. Prepare for Interviews (if applicable)
    • Some programs may require interviews. If so, prepare thoroughly, anticipating questions about your academic background, experience, and motivation for pursuing the MS.
  11. Receive and Respond to Admission Offers
    • Once you receive admission decisions, carefully evaluate offers, and respond by the given deadline.
  12. Plan for Visa and Finances
    • After accepting an offer, begin the visa application process and plan for your financials, including tuition, living expenses, and potential scholarships or assistantships.
how to do masters in usa
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Career Prospects and Opportunities Post-MS

Field of MS StudyPopular Job RolesAverage Starting Salary (USD/year)Key EmployersGrowth Opportunities
Computer ScienceSoftware Developer, Data Scientist, IT Manager$70,000 – $120,000Google, Apple, Amazon, MicrosoftHigh demand in tech sector, opportunities for advancement to senior roles
EngineeringMechanical Engineer, Civil Engineer, Project Manager$65,000 – $100,000Boeing, Lockheed Martin, General MotorsSteady demand, especially in manufacturing and design
Business AnalyticsBusiness Analyst, Market Research Analyst, Consultant$60,000 – $90,000McKinsey, Bain, Deloitte, IBMGrowing field with opportunities in diverse industries
BiotechnologyBiotech Researcher, Clinical Research Coordinator, Lab Technician$55,000 – $85,000Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, BiogenEmerging industry with potential for significant growth
FinanceFinancial Analyst, Investment Banker, Account Manager$70,000 – $110,000Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan ChaseHigh earning potential, competitive field
Healthcare AdministrationHealthcare Manager, Hospital Administrator, Policy Analyst$60,000 – $100,000Hospitals, Healthcare Systems, Government AgenciesIncreasing demand due to the expanding healthcare sector
EducationTeacher, Educational Consultant, Curriculum Developer$50,000 – $75,000Schools, Educational Institutes, GovernmentStable demand with opportunities in administration and policy planning

Quick Tip!

  • Tailor your SOP to each university, highlighting how your goals align with their program.

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Financial Planning: Tuition, Scholarships, and Living Expenses

Cost of Studying in the USA

Expense CategoryAverage Monthly Cost (USD)Description
Housing$500 – $1,500Varies significantly based on location and type of accommodation (dormitories, shared apartments, single apartments).
Food and Groceries$150 – $300Depends on whether you cook or eat out. Campus meal plans can alter costs.
Utilities$100 – $250Includes electricity, heating, cooling, water, and garbage. May be higher in certain states or during extreme weather.
Internet and Phone$50 – $100Based on personal usage and service plans.
Transportation$50 – $150Costs depend on the city’s public transport system and how often you travel. Owning a car increases expenses significantly.
Books and Supplies$50 – $100Can vary based on the course requirements. Used books or digital versions can reduce costs.
Personal Expenses$100 – $200Includes laundry, toiletries, and other personal items.
Health Insurance$30 – $100Mandatory for most international students. Costs vary based on coverage.
Entertainment and Recreation$50 – $150Includes movies, dining out, and social activities. Highly variable.

Did You Know?

Students on an F-1 visa in the USA can work up to 20 hours per week on-campus during their studies, providing an opportunity to gain practical experience and financial support.

Scholarships for MS in the USA

Scholarship NameAvailable ToAward AmountCriteriaApplication Period
Fulbright Foreign Student ProgramInternational studentsVaries; often covers tuition, living stipend, health insurance, airfareAcademic excellence, leadership potential, and cultural exchange focusFebruary to October (varies by country)
Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai FellowshipIndian students applying to Stanford MBA programUp to 80% of tuition feesMerit and financial need, commitment to developing IndiaApril – June
University of California Berkeley MasterCard Foundation Scholars ProgramStudents from Sub-Saharan AfricaFull scholarship including tuition, living expenses, and other feesAcademic excellence, leadership potential, commitment to give back to their communitiesVaries with admission deadlines
Chevening ScholarshipsStudents from Chevening-eligible countriesFull or part funding for tuition fees, living expenses, and return airfare to the UKLeadership qualities, strong academic background, potential to create positive changeAugust to November
AAUW International FellowshipsWomen from all countries other than the USA$18,000 – $30,000Academic achievement, commitment to women and girls, intent to return to home countryAugust to November
Knight-Hennessy Scholars at Stanford UniversityAll nationalitiesFull funding for tuition, stipend, travel, and academic expensesDemonstrated leadership, independent thinking, and civic mindsetSeptember to October
MIT Zaragoza Women in Logistics and SCM ScholarshipFemale students50% of tuition feesAcademic excellence, leadership potential, interest in Logistics/SCMVaries, check the program deadlines
Harvard University Boustany MBA ScholarshipAll nationalities, preference to candidates of Lebanese descentTuition fees, accommodation, and travel expensesExcellent academic background, leadership abilityMay every two years

Quick Tip!

  • Research and apply for scholarships well in advance to secure financial support.

Conclusion

In conclusion, pursuing an MS in the USA offers a transformative experience with its world-class education system, diverse specializations, and unparalleled career opportunities.

This guide aims to simplify the process, from understanding eligibility to navigating the application and visa procedures, for Indian students aiming to study in the United States.

Remember, success in this journey requires careful planning, dedication, and a clear understanding of your goals. Embrace the challenge, and you’ll find that earning an MS degree in the USA can be a rewarding stepping stone to a bright future.

Chart your course to academic success with Ambitio – Study in USA companion! Join a global family, learn from the brightest minds, and embark on hands-on adventures. Your educational journey begins now.

FAQs

What is the average GRE score required for MS admissions in the US?

The average GRE score requirements vary by program and university, but a score above 300 is generally considered competitive for most programs.

Can I work while studying for my MS in the USA?

Yes, international students on an F-1 visa can work up to 20 hours per week on-campus during academic terms, and full-time during breaks.

Are scholarships available for Indian students to study MS in the USA?

Yes, many universities offer scholarships based on merit and need. Additionally, there are external scholarships and grants available specifically for Indian students.

Is work experience mandatory for applying to MS programs in the USA?

Work experience is not always mandatory but can be a significant advantage, especially for competitive programs and those with a professional focus.

How much does it cost to pursue an MS in the USA?

The cost varies widely depending on the university and program but generally ranges from $30,000 to $60,000 per year, excluding living expenses.

What is the visa success rate for Indian students applying for an MS in the USA?

The visa success rate fluctuates, but thorough preparation and proper documentation can significantly increase the chances of obtaining a student visa. 

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