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30 August 2023

5 minutes read

A Comprehensive Guide to Scholarship for Masters in USA for International Students

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The United States remains a sought-after destination for higher education, particularly for master’s programs. The rich educational infrastructure, world-class faculties, and diverse courses on offer make the USA a great place to advance your career.

However, one major concern that often arises is the cost involved in studying abroad. This is where scholarships come into play, particularly for international students.

This extensive guide delves deep into the avenues of scholarship for Masters in the USA for international students for the years 2023-2024, with a focus on eligibility criteria, application processes, and the types of scholarships available.

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Types of Scholarships for Master’s Programs

University Scholarships

  • Major source of scholarships for international students.
  • U.S. universities offer merit-based and need-based scholarships.
  • Merit-based scholarships consider strong academics and extracurricular skills.
  • Need-based scholarships require demonstrating financial need.
  • Top universities like Harvard, Stanford provide generous need-based scholarships.

Government Scholarships

  • U.S. government provides scholarships, like Fulbright Foreign Student Program.
  • Other countries also offer scholarships for studying in the USA.
  • Government scholarships are often fully funded, covering tuition and more.

Private Scholarships

  • NGOs and private entities offer scholarships for international students.
  • Aimed at specific groups or fields like STEM, arts, or developing countries.
  • Examples: Joint Japan/World Bank scholarships for development courses.
  • AAUW International Fellowships for women scholars.

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Eligibility Criteria and Important Documents

  1. Basic Eligibility Requirements
    • International student status is a primary eligibility requirement for most scholarships.
    • Academic achievements are commonly considered as a criterion.
    • Skills in various areas can also influence eligibility.
    • Certain scholarships are restricted to specific countries or demographic groups.
    • Financial need, although not always mandatory, can impact need-based scholarships.
  2. Documents Required
    • Academic transcripts are typically needed for scholarship applications.
    • A Statement of Purpose (SOP) is often required to showcase your intentions and goals.
    • Letters of Recommendation (LOR) play a crucial role in supporting your application.
    • Need-based scholarships may demand proof of financial need.
    • Some scholarships require test scores like GRE, GMAT, IELTS, or TOEFL.

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The Application Process

Where to Start?

The first step is always research. This cannot be stressed enough. Knowing where to look is critical, be it university websites, government portals, or trustworthy scholarship databases online. You can also consult with alumni or current students to understand which scholarships you may be eligible for.

How to Apply?

Once you’ve shortlisted the scholarships you want to apply for, the next step is gathering your documents and preparing your application. Each scholarship will have its own application process, but most will require you to submit your educational background, future study plans, and why you should be chosen for the scholarship. Some might also require interviews and additional rounds of screening.

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 Scholarships Specifically for Indian Students

Scholarships Tailored for Indian Nationals

Being one of the largest groups of international students in the USA, Indian students have a range of scholarships specifically designed for them.

Scholarships like the United States-India Educational Foundation (USIEF) and the Tata Scholarship for Cornell University are prominent examples.

These scholarships often aim to strengthen bilateral relations between the USA and India and focus on specific fields of study relevant to both nations.

Applying as an Indian Student

The application process for Indian students is similar to other international scholarships but can sometimes include additional steps like interviews with local U.S. consulate or embassy officials. Documentation like valid passports and proof of Indian nationality may also be necessary.

Scholarships for Women

Scholarships Focused on Women

Women pursuing higher education often have specific scholarships available to them. Organizations and institutions offer these scholarships with the aim of promoting gender equality in higher education.

The AAUW International Fellowships, mentioned earlier, is one such scholarship focused on women, providing funding for full-time study or research in the United States.

Application Tips for Women

While the application process is largely similar to other scholarships, it’s important for female applicants to highlight their commitment to promoting gender equality, whether it be in their field of study or in their community.

Scholarships for women often look for candidates who not only excel academically but also show a commitment to empowering other women.

Scholarships for STEM Students


Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) are fields that are always in demand and often see a lot of investment from both the public and private sectors. As a result, there are a number of scholarships available specifically for students pursuing degrees in these fields.

Scholarships for STEM Students

Scholarships such as the Google Women Techmakers Scholars Program, aimed at women in technology, and the SMART Scholarship for Service Program, for students in STEM fields who are willing to work with the Department of Defense upon graduation, are examples of the type of scholarships available for STEM students.

Scholarships for Developing Countries

Why Scholarships for Developing Countries?

Students from developing countries often face financial constraints that make it difficult to pursue higher education abroad. Recognizing this, many institutions and organizations offer scholarships aimed at promoting higher education for students from developing countries.

Examples of Such Scholarships

The Joint Japan/World Bank Graduate Scholarships Program, mentioned earlier, is one such scholarship aimed at students from developing countries.

Another example is the Rotary Foundation’s Rotary Peace Fellowships, which is aimed at professionals from developing countries who want to study peace and development.

Popular Scholarships

Fulbright Program

  • Renowned worldwide as a prestigious scholarship program.
  • Offers full financial support for international students.
  • Aims to enable graduate study, research, and teaching in the U.S.

Humphrey Fellowship Program

  • Hubert H. Humphrey Fellowship Program is a non-degree initiative.
  • Spans ten months for academic and professional experiences in the U.S.
  • Selects fellows for leadership potential and dedication to public service in various sectors.


Pursuing a Master’s degree in the United States is a significant investment, but with the help of scholarships, it can be made more accessible.

Whether you are an Indian student, a woman, a STEM student, or from a developing country, there are scholarships available that can help you achieve your dream of studying in the USA.

Start your research early, prepare a strong application, and apply for as many scholarships as you are eligible for. Good luck!


Do I need to secure a scholarship before applying for a visa?

It is not mandatory to secure a scholarship before applying for a visa, but having a scholarship can strengthen your visa application as it shows that you have financial support for your studies.

Is it possible to get a full scholarship for Masters in the USA?

Yes, there are several full scholarships available for international students, but they are highly competitive. The Fulbright Program, for example, is a fully funded scholarship for international students.

Can I apply for multiple scholarships?

Yes, you can apply for as many scholarships as you are eligible for. It is advisable to apply for multiple scholarships to increase your chances of receiving financial support.

What are the eligibility criteria for scholarships in the USA?

The eligibility criteria vary for each scholarship. Common criteria include nationality, field of study, academic merit, and financial need. Some scholarships may also require work experience or a commitment to a certain career path.

What documents do I need to apply for a scholarship?

The required documents vary for each scholarship but generally include a completed application form, academic transcripts, a statement of purpose, letters of recommendation, a CV or resume, and proof of English language proficiency.

When should I start applying for scholarships?

It is advisable to start researching and applying for scholarships at least a year before you plan to start your studies. Some scholarships have deadlines as early as a year before the academic year starts.

Do I need to pay tax on my scholarship?

Scholarship funds used for tuition and required fees are generally not taxable. However, funds used for room and board, travel, and other living expenses may be considered taxable income. It is advisable to consult a tax professional or the IRS website for more information.

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