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6 September 2023

10 minutes read

Part-Time MS Programs in the USA for International Students: Eligibility, Top Universities, Scholarships

Key Takeaways:

  • Diverse Program Availability: The USA offers a wide array of part-time MS programs across various fields, catering to the needs of international students and working professionals, ensuring a balance between academics, work, and personal life.
  • Top Universities: Renowned institutions like MIT, Stanford, and UC Berkeley provide part-time MS programs, allowing students to receive education from globally recognized faculties and benefit from networking opportunities.
  • Work-Study Balance: Part-time MS programs in the USA are structured to allow international students to work up to 20 hours a week, helping them gain practical experience and manage living expenses.
  • Financial Aid Opportunities: Numerous scholarships, grants, and work-study programs are available for part-time international students to help offset the costs of tuition and living expenses.
  • Global Recognition: Degrees from US universities are recognized and respected globally, providing graduates with significant advantages in the international job market.

The USA, known for its academic prowess, is rapidly becoming a top destination for international students looking for a flexible yet comprehensive educational experience. The rise of part-time master’s programs in the USA is a testament to this shift. Catering to international students, graduate students, and working professionals, these programs offer an unparalleled opportunity to balance work, life, and academics. Let’s delve deeper into understanding these programs.

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Part Time MS in the US

  • Flexibility for International Students:
    • Part-time MS programs in the USA offer international students, including those from India, the flexibility to balance their studies with part-time jobs, adhering to the 20-hour workweek restriction, thus managing their cost of living effectively.
  • Tailored Educational Pathways:
    • Students can choose from a variety of MS programs in fields like data science or mechanical engineering, aligning their academic pursuits with career objectives while studying in some of the best universities globally recognized for their quality of education.
  • Work and Study Abroad Simultaneously:
    • The opportunity to work part-time allows students to gain valuable US work experience while pursuing their degree, facilitating a practical application of their classroom learning.
  • Cultural and Academic Integration:
    • Enrolling in part-time MS programs enables students to immerse themselves in the diverse cultural and academic environment of the US, enhancing their global perspective and professional network.
  • Program Duration and Flexibility:
    • The duration of MS programs in the USA can vary, with part-time options allowing students to extend their studies over 2 to 3 years, providing them the flexibility to tailor their academic load according to their personal and professional commitments.

Research Thoroughly:

Explore various universities and their part-time MS programs to find the one that aligns best with your career goals and offers a good balance between quality education and flexibility.

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Top Universities in the US Offering Part-Time

The United States is home to a plethora of world-class institutions offering exceptional Master of Science (MS) programs. Catering to the ever-evolving needs of the global student community, many of these institutions now offer part-time MS programs that allow students to pursue advanced degrees without giving up their professional or personal commitments. Let’s delve into some of the top universities in the USA offering part-time MS programs:

1. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

  • Programs Offered: MIT’s Sloan School of Management offers a part-time MBA, which is often sought after by professionals in the tech industry. The School of Engineering also provides various part-time MS specializations.
  • Noteworthy Feature: MIT’s close ties with industry leaders mean part-time students can access stellar networking opportunities and collaborations.

2. Stanford University

  • Programs Offered: The Stanford Center for Professional Development allows professionals to earn an MS degree on a part-time basis in fields like Computer Science, Electrical Engineering, and Management Science and engineering.
  • Noteworthy Feature: The program emphasizes blending online learning with on-campus sessions to provide a flexible yet enriching academic experience.

3. University of California, Berkeley

  • Programs Offered: UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering offers part-time master’s programs in areas like Information and Data Science.
  • Noteworthy Feature: The university’s strategic location near Silicon Valley offers students unique internship and job opportunities.

4. University of Chicago

  • Programs Offered: The Graham School at the University of Chicago provides a range of part-time master’s programs, from Analytics to Biomedical Informatics.
  • Noteworthy Feature: The curriculum integrates rigorous academic coursework with real-world projects for practical understanding.

5. University of Washington

  • Programs Offered: The university offers various Professional Master’s Programs on a part-time basis, including Computational Linguistics and Applied & Computational Mathematical Sciences.
  • Noteworthy Feature: These programs are designed explicitly for working professionals and emphasize hands-on experience.

6. Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech)

  • Programs Offered: Part-time master’s programs include the likes of Computer Science, Engineering, and Data Analytics.
  • Noteworthy Feature: Georgia Tech’s online offerings, combined with its prestigious reputation in tech, make it a popular choice for those wanting to balance work and study.

7. Northwestern University

  • Programs Offered: The School of Professional Studies at Northwestern provides part-time master’s programs in areas such as Information Systems, Biotechnology, and Sports Administration.
  • Noteworthy Feature: The university offers evening and weekend classes, making it more convenient for working professionals.

8. Carnegie Mellon University

  • Programs Offered: Known for its strong focus on tech and engineering, CMU offers part-time master’s programs in fields like Information Technology, Software Engineering, and Business Technology.
  • Noteworthy Feature: CMU’s extensive alumni network in the tech industry offers students unparalleled networking opportunities.

9. Johns Hopkins University

  • Programs Offered: The Engineering for Professionals division offers part-time programs in areas such as Data Science, Systems Engineering, and Civil Engineering.
  • Noteworthy Feature: With a blend of online and on-site classes, students get a mix of flexible learning and immersive experiences.

10. University of Michigan

  • Programs Offered: The College of Engineering and the Ross School of Business both offer part-time master’s programs catering to professionals.
  • Noteworthy Feature: The university emphasizes experiential learning, with many programs incorporating real-world projects and internships.

Choosing to pursue a part-time MS in the USA from these esteemed institutions not only offers academic enrichment but also ensures students are well-prepared to meet the challenges of the global job market. Combining flexibility with a rigorous curriculum, these universities are setting a benchmark in higher education for working professionals and international students alike.

Renowned Universities and their Offerings

Renowned for their world-class academic programs, US universities are now more accommodating than ever to part-time students. Ivy Leagues and public research universities alike are offering specialized master’s programs on a part-time basis. These programs ensure high employability and stand out on a global stage.

Tailoring Your Academic Experience

A distinct advantage of pursuing an MS in the USA is the customizable curriculum many institutions offer. This flexibility means that students can focus on niche areas within broader fields, like design and development in IT or organizational behavior in business, ensuring they’re equipped with skills directly relevant to their career aspirations.

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Eligibility Criteria for MS Degree in the USA

  • Academic Qualifications: Applicants must hold a bachelor’s degree equivalent to a U.S. bachelor’s degree. This includes a thorough review of transcripts and academic records to ensure they meet U.S. standards.
  • English Language Proficiency: Non-native English speakers must demonstrate their proficiency through TOEFL or IELTS scores, ensuring they can thrive in an English-speaking academic environment.
  • Relevant Experience: Universities look for applicants with relevant work experience, internships, or research that demonstrates practical knowledge and commitment to the field, particularly for programs like engineering or computer science.
  • Holistic Attributes: Soft skills, leadership experiences, and extracurricular activities are valued. They show the candidate’s ability to contribute to a diverse and dynamic learning environment.
  • Financial Readiness: International students must prove they have the financial resources to cover tuition, living expenses, and other costs associated with studying in the USA, which is crucial for visa approval.

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The Admission Process Required for MS in the USA

  • Understanding Admission Requirements:
    • International students must hold an undergraduate degree, typically a bachelor of science, from a recognized institution.
    • Standardized tests like the GRE (for most fields) and TOEFL or IELTS (for English proficiency) are essential.
    • Some programs, especially in business, may require GMAT scores.
  • Enhancing Your Application:
    • Crafting a compelling statement of purpose that reflects personal goals and passion for the field.
    • Securing strong recommendation letters that attest to the applicant’s abilities and potential.
    • Showcasing a portfolio or details of relevant projects and work experience.
  • Interview Preparation:
    • Many universities conduct interviews, either in person or virtually, as part of the selection process.
    • Applicants should prepare to discuss their academic interests, professional experiences, and how the program aligns with their career goals.
  • Part-Time MS Program Appeal:
    • These programs offer flexibility for students balancing education with work or personal commitments.
    • Specializations across fields like engineering, data science, and business analytics cater to diverse career aspirations.
  • Benefits of Part-Time Study:
    • Networking opportunities with peers, who are often experienced professionals.
    • The ability to apply academic learnings directly to workplace challenges.
    • Exposure to the cultural and professional diversity of the US.

GRE Requirements for MS Programs in the USA

  • Overview of GRE: The GRE is a standardized test that assesses verbal reasoning, quantitative reasoning, and analytical writing skills. It’s a crucial element in the MS application process for universities in the USA.
  • Importance of GRE Scores: A high GRE score can significantly enhance an applicant’s profile, especially for competitive programs like MS in Computer Science or Data Science. Universities use GRE scores to gauge an applicant’s readiness for graduate-level study.
  • Score Variability: GRE score requirements can vary widely between programs and universities. Some top-tier universities may demand higher scores, while others consider a holistic view of the applicant’s profile.
  • Preparation and Part-time Work: Balancing GRE preparation with part-time work can be challenging for international students. Effective time management is key to ensuring adequate preparation while adhering to the 20-hour work limit per week.
  • Holistic Review: Beyond the GRE, universities consider the entire application, including academic records, work experience, and extracurricular activities. A lower GRE score might be offset by strengths in other areas.

Understand Financial Options:

Investigate available scholarships, grants, and work-study options early in your application process to plan your finances effectively.

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Cost of Studying MS in the USA: Tuition, Scholarships, and Financial Aid

Tuition and Living Expenses:

  • Costs vary significantly between public and private institutions and by location.
  • Students should budget for tuition, accommodation, food, transportation, and health insurance.

Scholarships and Financial Aid:

  • Universities offer various scholarships, grants, and financial aid options for part-time students.
  • Merit-based, need-based, and research assistantships can reduce the financial burden.

Work-Study Programs:

  • These programs allow students to work part-time on campus, providing valuable experience and financial support.
  • International students must adhere to work restrictions, typically 20 hours per week while classes are in session.

Program Duration and Specializations:

  • Part-time MS programs can range from 1 to 5 years, depending on the student’s pace and program structure.
  • Fields of study are diverse, allowing students to align their education with emerging market trends and personal interests.

Work and Internship Opportunities:

  • Flexible schedules enable part-time students to engage in internships or work, enhancing their practical experience.
  • The US offers a dynamic job market, especially in tech, engineering, and business, providing ample opportunities for student employment.

Professional Development:

  • Being in the US, students can attend industry conferences, seminars, and networking events, crucial for career advancement.
  • The practical experience gained alongside education equips students with a competitive edge in the global job market.

Studying MS in the USA: Program Options and Insights

  • Variety of Program Options:
    • The USA offers a wide array of MS programs, including fields like mechanical engineering, data science, and more, catering to diverse interests and career goals.
    • Each program’s curriculum is designed to provide in-depth knowledge and practical skills relevant to the industry.
  • Duration and Flexibility:
    • Part-time MS programs typically extend from 2 to 5 years, allowing students to pace their studies according to their personal and professional commitments.
    • This flexibility is particularly beneficial for working professionals or those with family obligations.
  • Curriculum Design:
    • Courses are structured to offer a balance of theoretical knowledge and practical application, often including project-based learning and internships.
    • Many universities allow customization of the curriculum, enabling students to focus on their areas of interest or career relevance.
  • Global Rankings and Reputation:
    • US universities are consistently ranked among the best globally, offering prestigious programs recognized worldwide.
    • Graduating from a top-ranked institution can significantly enhance career prospects and professional credibility.
  • Cultural and Professional Exposure:
    • Studying in the US provides an immersive experience in a multicultural environment, fostering a global perspective.
    • Students gain insights into international business practices, networking opportunities, and exposure to the latest technological advancements.

Finding Part Time Jobs in the USA for MS Students

  • Compliance with Visa Regulations:
    • Indian students and other international scholars must navigate the visa stipulations that allow part-time work up to 20 hours per week, ensuring they remain compliant while benefiting from the opportunity to earn and learn.
  • Enhancing Academic Experience with Practical Work:
    • Part-time employment or internships in fields related to their study allow students to apply theoretical knowledge practically, enhancing their learning experience and making them more marketable post-graduation.
  • Financial Benefits:
    • Engaging in part-time work helps international students manage the cost of living and tuition fees in the USA, making their educational journey more financially sustainable.
  • Networking and Professional Development:
    • Working part-time provides students with the chance to build professional networks, gain insights into the American work culture, and develop skills that are highly valued in the global job market.
  • Access to Varied Employment Opportunities:
    • The USA offers a wide range of part-time employment opportunities, both on-campus and off-campus, allowing students to find jobs that can complement their academic schedules and career goals.


The evolving landscape of higher education, particularly in the USA, showcases the transformative power of part-time MS programs. In 2023, the blend of flexibility, world-class institutions, and the promise of a rich cultural and professional experience make the USA an unparalleled destination for international students and working professionals alike.

The journey of pursuing a part-time MS in the USA is more than just an academic pursuit; it’s an opportunity to grow personally, expand professionally, and connect globally. As the world continues to adapt and change, equipping oneself with such a comprehensive educational experience becomes not just an advantage, but a necessity.

The choice to embark on this journey is an investment in one’s future, promising not only knowledge and skills but a global perspective that stands out in any arena.

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What makes the USA a top destination for part-time MS programs?

The USA is home to many world-renowned universities offering high-quality education. The rise of part-time MS programs, specifically tailored for international students and working professionals, provides flexibility and allows for a balance between work, life, and academics, making the USA a preferred destination.

How long does a typical part-time MS program in the USA take to complete?

The duration of a part-time MS program can vary, ranging from 1 to 5 years. The timeframe depends on the chosen specialization, the curriculum pace set by the university, and the student’s level of commitment.

Are there scholarships available for part-time international students in the USA?

Yes, many US universities offer scholarships and financial aids to deserving part-time students. These can be based on merit, research contributions, or financial need. Additionally, work-study programs and assistantships can also help offset educational costs.

Is it possible to work while studying as a part-time MS student in the USA?

Absolutely! Part-time students often have a flexible schedule that allows them to take up internships, co-op programs, or even full-time jobs, depending on their visa status and the university’s regulations.

Are part-time MS degrees from the USA recognized globally?

 Yes, MS degrees from US institutions, whether pursued on a full-time or part-time basis, are recognized and highly regarded globally due to the quality of education and rigorous academic standards.

How competitive is the admission process for part-time MS programs in the USA?

The admission process can be competitive, especially for top-tier institutions. Apart from meeting the basic requirements, having a strong statement of purpose, recommendation letters, and relevant work or project portfolios can bolster an applicant’s chances.

What are some emerging fields of study for part-time MS programs in 2024?

While traditional fields like IT, data analytics, and business management remain popular, newer areas like sustainable energy, health informatics, and digital humanities are gaining significant traction.

How do part-time MS programs in the USA cater to international students specifically?

 Part-time MS programs in the USA are designed considering the unique needs of international students. They offer flexibility in scheduling, opportunities for cultural immersion, and global networking events, and often provide support through international student offices for smoother transitions.

How do part-time MS programs in the USA ensure a balance between theoretical knowledge and practical application?

These programs often incorporate real-world case studies, offer internship opportunities, and provide platforms for students to engage with industry professionals. Being in the USA, students also get the chance to network, attend seminars, and participate in workshops, ensuring a holistic blend of theory and practice.

Do part-time MS students have access to campus facilities just like full-time students?

Generally, yes. Part-time students usually have the same access to campus facilities, resources, and events as their full-time counterparts. However, it’s always a good idea to check with the specific institution for any variations.

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