Home to some of the finest universities in the world, the USA has always held strong grounds for hosting what is currently the largest population of international students in any country. High standards of quality education and employment opportunities, coupled with a diverse, multicultural environment, contribute to the country’s popularity as a study-overseas destination. This holds true especially for postgraduate studies, given the focus on practical learning and/or extensive research options, and the flexibility that one receives in terms of specializations even within a multidisciplinary learning environment. Some of the key factors that students consider when pursuing a degree in the USA are as follows:
- Academic Excellence: As per the QS World University Rankings 2022, five out of the ten best universities globally are in the United States, which includes Stanford, Harvard, MIT, CalTech, Yale, and Wharton. Similarly, eight universities in the USA have been ranked within the top 10 by Times Higher Education ranking. Naturally, a degree earned from a university in the USA holds a lot of merit across institutions and employers across the globe – given the wide-ranging scope that the American education system brings in terms of specializations, interdisciplinary research, networking opportunities within the campus itself, and faculty often renowned for their scholarly excellence.
- Diversity: A key USP of a degree overseas is the global exposure that students receive. With cultural diversity being a point of emphasis across most campuses in the US – you can expect to be in the company of people from almost every country across the world, regardless of the institution you expect to attend. This opens up a world of possibilities in and of itself as you get to learn about new cultures, languages, and people all while receiving a fitting degree.
- Employability: A degree from an institution in the USA is almost always guaranteed to harness excellent workplace opportunities owing to the merit of the degree. Whether you’re choosing to pursue a niche field like liberal arts, or something more mainstream like engineering or management – a job offer won’t be difficult to obtain with a prestigious degree in hand. That being said, some of the popular offerings in postgraduate programs are concentrated in STEM fields, as this allows for a 24-month post-study work visa extension. The following courses are currently the most popular choices amongst students looking to pursue their Master’s degree in the USA:
- Data Sciences and Analytics:
- Computer Science:
- Business Administration/Business Management:
Key Eligibility Criteria
In order to pursue a postgraduate degree from the USA, applicants must fulfill the minimum eligibility requirement as stated below:
- A minimum of 16 years of education (10 + 2 + 4), with at least a 3.0 CGPA on a 4.0 scale. Essentially, students would require a 4-year Bachelor’s degree in a relevant field.
- ELP (English Language Proficiency) test scores: Most universities in the USA require international students to submit proof of English proficiency. The TOEFL and IELTS are two of the most common and widely administered tests for this purpose.
- Standardized test scores: The GRE is often required by master’s programs across universities in the USA, although some programs are now accepting applications with GRE waivers as well. Similarly, the GMAT is administered and utilized for programs such as MBA.
- Statement of Purpose: Your SOP is an essential part of your application as it is a reflection of who you are. A standard SOP contains information about your personal, academic, and professional experiences – and how these align with, and inspire you, to take up the program of your choice. If you are confused about what goes into an SOP – refer to our blog here!
- Letter of Recommendation: Most programs require that you submit 2-3 LoRs from your previous professors, mentors, or workplace managers.
- Academic records: While you can use unofficial transcripts during the online application process, you’d be required to submit official ones upon admission.
Do note that merely fulfilling these prerequisites does not guarantee admission to a university program. A successful admission is contingent on multiple factors, including your standardized test scores, academic records, statement of purpose, etc. For exhaustive guidance, reach out to us!
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The cost of studying for a degree in the USA is contingent on multiple factors including tuition fees (out-of-state tuition fees are usually more than it is for in-state students), cost of living and accommodation (widely variable across the country based on the city/town you’re in), and other exigencies such as medical insurance, miscellaneous expenses, et al.
A traditional Master’s degree is usually 2 years in duration, where the program is spread across 4 semesters. However, some degree offerings can be completed in a year, while some take 2-3 years to complete.
It is advised that an aspiring applicant start preparing at least a year in advance, if not more. This is because most programs have deadlines in the previous year itself. For instance, if you’re looking to apply for the Fall 2023 intake, you would most likely have a deadline for the application in December 2022. Hence, start preparing well in advance so you have all prerequisites in place before applying.
There are a number of financial aid options available for international students, and scholarships are just one of them! You can opt to pursue a TA/RA (teaching assistantship/research assistantship) role to finance some of your tuition fees. A lot of universities also offer internal scholarships and bursaries. Moreover, iDC also helps you with financial assistance in that we help you with available loan options and scholarships.
Anushree has 4+ years of experience in the career counseling industry as a Senior Content Writer. She has also worked as a Social Media Marketing Expert for a startup and Content Quality Analyst for Publishing and E-learning Industry. She has done her Master’s in Commerce and PGDM in Finance & Trade and Marketing & HR, but she is currently following her passion for writing.