Getting an undergraduate degree in the United States or anywhere in the world is an achievement in itself. However, it is always a good idea to dive deeper into the subject that you have already majored in. Getting a higher degree in a field that interests you the most will not only help you secure a great job in the future, but you will also feel fulfilled and more knowledgeable in that specific area of study.
Most study areas in the United States require you to enroll in a Master’s degree as a compulsory requirement for the job market. Depending on the field you are graduating at, the higher the degree the more likely it is for you to get your dream job. All universities in the United States require a Bachelor’s degree completion before your enrollment in postgraduate studies.
How to Get a Masters Degree in United States
The process of getting a Master’s degree in the United States begins with choosing the best program for you. Initially, you should make sure that your preferred program is available at the master’s level in the university of your choice. According to employers in the United States, Master’s graduates have a higher probability of getting a job, in comparison to those with only a Bachelor’s degree. Furthermore, employees with a Master’s degree get paid more, regardless of the job position.
As an international student, you can finish your studies at the Master’s level without having to leave your home country. Many US universities have made it possible to deliver classes and lectures through online platforms, so students coming from all parts of the world do not have to pay living expenses. Consequently, getting a Master’s degree is now easier than ever, and nothing’s standing in your way.
Depending on the university and the degree you are applying for, requirements for admission may vary. A compulsory qualification that any university in the US asks for, is to submit proof of obtaining an undergraduate degree prior to enrollment at Master’s level, preferably in a similar field. Along with the language proficiency requirements, which will be discussed in more detail further in the article, you must also prepare to pay an administrative fee upon application.
How to Apply for a Masters Degree in United States
Most universities require applicants of a Master’s degree, to begin their application process directly at the institution of choice. An advantage to the candidates of Master level is the opportunity to apply for multiple courses at once, however, you might need to submit additional documents with each application.
Here’s how to apply for a master’s degree in the United States: :
Language Proficiency Tests
Although the United States is home to many nationalities who speak different languages, most universities offering a Master’s program are taught in English. International students whose native language is not English, are most likely required to undertake a language proficiency exam such as English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and/or the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) to prove they possess sufficient knowledge of the language. Depending on the institution, some may require the scores obtained at either one of these two exams, and others might ask students to take them both.
The scores and results of TOEFL and IELTS may vary from the university requirements, and the program you are enrolling in. This requirement is waived for students who have completed their undergraduate degree with English as the language of instruction.
Most programs that offer Master’s degrees ask students to submit proof of earlier education transcripts. Universities need to have an idea of the applicants’ background on the field they have majored in and its impact on their future education. The results of the entire Bachelor’s program courses should influence the students’ performance in postgraduate studies.
The Grade Point Average (GPA) is important to the admission committee at the universities you are applying to. Most universities require a transcript translation of your grades if they do not fit the US grading system. Some institutions may help you with the conversion, or they may ask you to enlist the assistance of your undergraduate university.
Graduate Admissions Tests
The US education system indicates that students either international or domestic must undertake a graduate admissions test before enrolling at the program of choice. The two most common exams that US universities usually ask for are the GRE (Graduate Record Examination) and the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). The GRE is designed for students of all areas of study, whereas the GMAT is usually assigned to students interested in Business Schools.
Personal References and Statements
To get admitted to a program in postgraduate studies, US universities may require more than standardized exams to get to know a candidate fully. Some of the most popular requirements that you can find in the application procedure guidelines are the recommendation and motivational letters. Both are very important indicators of a students’ background and personality.
Letters of recommendation are usually written by previous employers, professors, or anyone who is professionally licensed to give information about the candidate. Such letters should include a description of the students’ character and skills that shows a different point of view.
Secondly, it is important for the admissions committee to get to know the applicants through their eyes. It is always beneficial for students to elaborate more on their interests and experiences through the personal statement. It will help the university decide whether you are a suitable candidate for the programs they offer.
Last but not least, international students planning to pursue their postgraduate studies in the United States must apply for a student visa. Some universities may help you through the process of visa application, by providing the embassy or consulate with the acceptance letter.
There are two types of student visas that are granted by the US Department of State: F1 and M1 Student Visa. To study for a Master’s in the USA, you will need an F-1 Visa. The documents needed to apply for such a visa include your Passport, I-20 Form which proves that you have been accepted as a student in the US, Form DS-160, and the visa application fee payment evidence. On the other hand, the M1 Visa category is designed for students of vocational education or other nonacademic training.
How Long Does a Masters Degree in United States Take?
The majority of Master’s programs at universities in the United States take 2 to 3 years to complete. However, many factors usually impact the length of the program. It mostly depends on the program of your choice, some are more challenging to complete within the planned time limit. Other circumstances such as the students’ working hours outside of the university, may have a big impact on their attendance.
The course curriculum of some of the programs may require additional practice or training work, thus making it harder for students to graduate in time. Another very important factor that can affect the students’ graduation is the difference between full-time and part-time enrollment. Some universities provide students with the option of enrolling part-time which means they can be flexible with their classes and attendance. As such, it may give them more or less time to complete the program, depending on how many classes per semester they take.
Masters Degree in United States Cost
The tuition fees at United States universities vary on the applicants’ nationality, their chosen program, and the level of degree they are applying for. Considering the accommodation payment fees make for half of the sum of money, the location of the university you are planning to study at matters the most. Because of their reputation, universities located in countries such as New York, California, Hawaii, and several others, are considered unreasonable for international students who cannot afford the luxury life.
It is important to state that most students, whether international or domestic, usually do not pay the entire tuition fee. Due to the funding provided by either the government or the institution itself, students are constantly getting financial aid and scholarship opportunities. Worth-mentioning is the difference in tuition fees between public and private universities in the United States. Masters fees at public universities are usually lower and more affordable in comparison to the private alternatives. The average yearly fee for public schools ranges from $20,000 to $60,000.
Here are the most popular scholarships and funding programs for Masters in the United States:
- The US-UK Fulbright Commission
- The Fulbright Foreign Student Programme
- American Association of University Women (AAUW) Educational Foundation: International Fellowships
Masters Programs in United States for International Students
The US education system provides students from all parts of the world with the option of choosing any specialization they desire. Since your Bachelor’s degree does not affect the Master’s program you want to pursue, the options are endless.
The majority of universities in the United States are focused on areas of technology and business. Therefore the most popular degree you can get is an MBA, closely followed by medical degrees considering the US reputation for their contribution to medicine. Students who wish to return to their home countries after graduating are most likely to pursue Master’s programs such as business management and medicine.
Other very popular MS programs such as Computer Science and Law attract students who want to work in US corporations and organizations which leads them to reside permanently in any country in the United States.