6th Dec 2022
Afia Azmi

MS in USA: Tuition, Living Costs, and Major Considerations

Considering an MS in USA? Dive into the essentials: tuition fees, living costs, switching from EE to CS, and the choice between work and advanced studies.

What is the cost of pursuing an MS in USA?

The cost of earning a Master of Science (MS) degree in the United States may vary significantly based on several factors, including the choice of institution, the subject of study, and the university's location. Tuition fees for a MS program might run between $20,000 and $60,000 per year on average. Tuition at public colleges is usually cheaper for state residents, although tuition at private schools is typically more and does not vary by domicile.

Prospective students must consider living expenditures in addition to tuition, including housing, food, health insurance, textbooks, and other personal expenses. Depending on the area and lifestyle, these fees range from $10,000 to $20,000 each year.

It's also worth noting that many institutions have financial assistance opportunities such as scholarships, fellowships, teaching assistantships, and research assistantships, which may greatly lower the entire cost of the program.

Prospective students should do thorough research and budget for both tuition and living costs to have an accurate picture of the entire cost of an MS in USA. For thorough and up-to-date information, contact the financial assistance offices of the different colleges.

Which cities in the US have a very high cost of living?

In the United States, several cities are known for their high cost of living. This means that the price for housing, groceries, transportation, healthcare, and other essential services and goods in these cities is higher than the national average. As a result, if your University is located in these expensive cities, the total cost you incur for your MS program will increase. Here are some of the cities with high cost of living:

  1. New York
  2. San Francisco
  3. Washington DC
  4. Boston
  5. Los Angeles
  6. San Diego

These cities are just a few examples where residents and newcomers will face higher expenses than in other parts of the country. The high cost of living in these urban areas is often offset by higher salaries, particularly in sectors like technology, finance, and government. However, the gap between income and living expenses continues to challenge many living in these cities.

Which cities in the US have a very low cost of living?

The cost of living is an essential concern for students in the United States since many are on low budgets. Cities with a lower cost of living for students often have low-priced housing, low-cost dining and food options, and convenient access to public transportation. Here are several cities that have been identified as being less expensive for students:

  1. Brownsville – Texas
  2. Pueblo – Colorado
  3. Fort Smith – Arkansas
  4. Springfield – Illinois
  5. Ashland – Ohio
  6. Austin – Texas.

Students should include the cost of utilities, food, transportation, and entertainment when calculating the cost of living in USA. Some institutions provide entire packages that include accommodation, eating, and other expenditures, which might be an affordable choice for students. When evaluating a city's affordability for student living, it's also a good idea to look at available scholarships, in-state tuition possibilities, and part-time employment prospects.

How to Cover Costs While you are doing MS in US?

To cover the costs of a Master of Science (MS) degree in the United States, one need to carefully prepare and evaluate numerous financing options. Aspiring candidates can tackle this problem with the help of followingoptions.

To cover costs while doing an MS in USA, you can:

- Apply for Scholarships and Grants: These are non-repayable funds provided by universities and other organizations. - Obtain Assistantships: Many institutions offer teaching or research assistantships with a salary and maybe tuition reimbursement. - Work On-Campus: During the academic year, you may work part-time for up to 20 hours per week as a student. - Take-Out Loans: Federal and private loans are accessible, but remember that you will have to return them with interest. - Budget Wisely: Live within your means by choosing inexpensive accommodation and limiting daily spending to a minimum.

Each student's circumstance is unique, so it's critical to evaluate all available alternatives and understand the ramifications of each, particularly when contemplating loans. University financial aid departments often give advice and information about financing alternatives.

To learn more about particular possibilities and recommendations for paying for your graduate study, contact the financial aid office of the school you want to attend.

Other costs that are mostly never considered:

Preparing for and applying to colleges in the United States comprises numerous expenditures that prospective students must consider and plan for,

1. The Graduate Record Examination (GRE): This is a standardized exam that is required for many graduate programs, which costs $190. Some students may decide to repeat the test to improve their grades, which results in incurring the fee again.

2. The Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL): While you MIGHT skip the GRE test for your applications to the States (some universities do take in applications without GRE), TOEFL is something that you can’t skip. Essential for demonstrating English proficiency, the TOEFL exam acts like a passport to the United States. As part of the application process, most institutions demand this exam score which costs around $150.

3. Application Fees: The cost of applying to institutions in the United States varies, but it normally ranges from $50 to $100 per application. Also one needs to send your GRE and TOEFL official test scores through ETS which adds another $40 to the application process (GRE $23 and TOEFL $17). This takes the total expense of applying for a single college upto $100 approximately. Considering a student applies to 10 institutions on an average, the total expense goes upto whopping $1000.

4. Additional Application Expenses:

  • Counseling: Some candidates choose professional counseling or overseas education consultants, which may cost between Rs. 10,000 and Rs. 50,000. We estimate a charge of Rs. 25,000 for this service.

  • Documentation: Official transcripts, bank statements, affidavits of sponsorship, and mailing to institutions may cost about Rs. 8,000. Extra copies of Letters of Recommendation (LoRs) and Statements of Purpose (SoPs) may entail additional, if minimal, expenses.

5. Visa Application:

  • Visa Application Charge: The visa application charge for the United States is $160.
  • SEVIS charge: Once the I-20 paperwork is received from the institution, students must pay the $200 SEVIS (Student and Exchange Visitor Information System) charge.

6. Travel Costs: A one-way economy class travel to the United States usually costs between Rs. 40,000 and Rs. 60,000, with return flights costing between Rs. 60,000 and Rs. 90,000, depending on city, destination, and airline.

Aspiring students should be aware of these expenses to ensure they have sufficient funds to complete the application procedure and secure their student status. It's also a good idea to put aside some extra cash for any incidental or unexpected costs, such as Settling-In Fees, deposits, Seasonal clothing, renewal fees, and transportation expenses that may emerge.

The total of all the expenses:

The extra costs for the application procedure and the first trip to the United States might total over 2 lakh rupees. Counseling, documents, visa costs, SEVIS fees, and a one-way aircraft ticket are all included.

Tuition and related costs are as follows:

On an average, the cost of MS in USA for Indian students may vary between INR 30 and 50 lakh, depending on the university's location and whether it is a public state university or a private one.

  • Michigan Technological University is the most economical alternative you listed, with the complete MS program costing roughly 24 lakh rupees.
  • On the higher end, Stanford University's MS program costs around 67 lakh rupees.

These expenses indicate a wide range of what students could anticipate spending for graduate school in the United States, emphasizing the enormous financial investment necessary for such an undertaking. As part of their total budgeting, students should include living expenditures, which may vary substantially depending on the location and lifestyle.

Can I do an MS in Computer Science if I am an EE or ECE student?

Yes, you may pursue a Master’s in Computer Science even if your undergraduate degree is in Electrical Engineering (EE) or Electronics and Communications Engineering (ECE) or Civil Engineering. Students are free to apply for any specialization or major due to the open education system in USA. In your Statement of Purpose in MS application, you would have to articulate why you decided to pursue a different major.

Most institutions in the United States and throughout the globe welcome students from various engineering and other areas into their Computer and other graduate programs. A solid grasp of mathematics, logic, and analytical problem-solving is required, and EE and ECE curricula often cover these topics thoroughly.

If you did not study data structures, algorithms, or programming languages as part of your undergraduate education, you may be required to take preparatory courses in these areas. This prerequisite guarantees that all graduate students have a consistent knowledge basis from which to develop more advanced computer science abilities.

Furthermore, the multidisciplinary knowledge you earned in EE or ECE might benefit robotics, embedded systems, and hardware-software integration, which are essential to many computer science applications.

Finally, your EE or ECE expertise may provide a solid basis for a graduate degree in Computer Science. It's a good idea to go over the exact requirements for the programs you're interested in doing MS in USA and be ready to show your competency or desire to master the basic ideas of computer science. Transitioning to a master's degree in computer science is a well-trodden and viable road with dedication and proper academic preparation.

Is it possible for a Non-Computer Science graduate to pursue a PhD in Computer Science?

Yes, a graduate who does not have a formal degree in Computer Science may pursue a PhD in the discipline. Many Ph.D. programs accept diverse perspectives and recognize that the richness of research can be enhanced by interdisciplinary knowledge.

Admissions committees often look for evidence of research aptitude, a passion for the subject, and the dedication required to finish a demanding Ph.D. program. Relevant experience, whether gained via projects, jobs, or study in a topic related to computer science, may greatly strengthen an application.

In conclusion, although a Ph.D. in Computer Science may need more preparation for people without a Computer Science degree, it remains an accessible and attainable objective. Prospective applicants should prepare to clearly define their research interests and illustrate how their background and skills will contribute to the field's growth.

Is it worth it to leave a well paying job in India for some MS in US university?

Whether it is worthwhile to leave a well-paying career in India for an MS in USA is a personal choice that must be made. Each individual must compare the short-term costs against the long-term rewards that an advanced degree may provide.

An MS from a US institution may provide substantial benefits. It may provide doors to cutting-edge research, worldwide networks, and chances inside some of the world's biggest technology corporations. Studying abroad broadens cultural perspectives and promotes personal development.

However, the financial and emotional costs of such a shift might be significant. Tuition, living costs, and the loss of a consistent salary must all be factored in. Furthermore, the opportunity cost of quitting a position where you may be obtaining significant knowledge and the chance of professional progression must be considered.

Finally, the selection should be in line with your long-term job objectives, personal desires, and financial realities. If the MS degree coincides with your professional goals and offers a high return on investment regarding future wages or work happiness, the early trade-offs may be justified. It is critical to properly assess the possible risks and benefits, including obtaining assistance from mentors or specialists in your preferred sector.

In essence, it is a personal choice that should be taken after thoroughly examining the possible professional benefits, the financial and emotional commitment necessary, and the influence on one's career trajectory and life aspirations.

How feasible it is for a student from a core branch with low CGPA to pursue an MS in Computer Science?

A student from a core branch with a poor CGPA may find it challenging to pursue an MS in Computer Science, but it is not impossible. Admissions committees for graduate programs in computer science often seek a solid academic record, but they also consider various other aspects.

A lower CGPA may be compensated for by exhibiting exceptional promise in other areas. This can include a solid understanding of computer science fundamentals gained through self-study or certification courses, relevant work experience, research projects, or a clear statement of purpose articulating a strong motivation for pursuing the field, as well as how your background has prepared you for it.

It's also a good idea to obtain letters of reference from professors or experts who can attest to your talents and prospects for success in graduate school. These tips help put your CGPA into perspective by emphasizing your strengths and clarifying mitigating circumstances that may have influenced your results.

Furthermore, specific graduate programs may provide conditional admittance, which allows a student to demonstrate academic aptitude by maintaining a particular CGPA at the start of their graduate studies or by passing required courses with excellent grades.

In conclusion, although a low CGPA is a challenge, it is one that may be addressed via strategic planning and the use of other assets in your application. It is critical to convey to the admissions committee your enthusiasm for the discipline, your commitment to achieve, and the actions you are prepared to take to show your ability to manage graduate-level computer science work.

Is it possible to get into a good US university for Masters with a low GPA?

Admission to a reputable US institution for a Master's program with a low GPA is difficult but not impossible. Graduate program admissions are often holistic, meaning colleges evaluate a range of variables besides your GPA when making their judgments.

To compensate for a poor GPA, you might concentrate on other parts of your application to build a compelling argument for admission. This might include:

1. GRE or GMAT Scores: High GRE or GMAT scores may assist in indicating your academic abilities and preparation for graduate-level study.

2. Work Experience: Relevant professional experience, particularly if you can demonstrate advancement, leadership, or notable successes in your sector, will considerably boost your application.

3. Research and Projects: Participation in research projects, publications, or independent work related to your subject of study may boost your reputation.

4. Recommendation Letters: Strong references from professionals or academics who can speak to your credentials and potential may make a significant difference.

5. Statement of Purpose: A captivating statement articulating your aims, why you want to pursue a Master's degree, and how it connects with your professional ambitions will divert attention away from your GPA.

6. Supplementary Courses: Taking and excelling in supplementary courses to show your skill in crucial subject areas relevant to your selected field of study will also assist.

7. Interviews and Personal contacts: If the program conducts interviews, doing well in these contacts might create a good impression and provide you a chance to justify your low GPA.

Specific programs may be more accommodating than others, and smaller or less competitive programs may be more willing to accept candidates with lower GPAs if the remainder of their application is solid.

In conclusion, although a low GPA is undoubtedly a barrier, your application may be strengthened in various ways. A well-rounded profile with skills in other areas will help you overcome academic inadequacies and secure admission to a reputed Master's program in the United States.

US universities require students to have undertaken an undergraduate program of 4 years in order to apply for a master’s program. Will I be eligible with 3?

Before applying to a master's program in the United States, most colleges need students to have completed a four-year undergraduate program. Students with a three-year undergraduate degree may still be qualified to apply, depending on the particular criteria of the institution and program.

Many colleges are aware of the global variations in educational systems. In some nations, for example, conventional undergraduate programs last three years. To account for these differences, specific U.S. colleges may examine a three-year degree individually, notably if the school from where the degree was received is recognized and approved.

Due to the length and depth of study, a three-year degree from a university that follows the British model of education (widespread in India, Australia, and parts of Europe) is generally regarded as comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree in the United States. If the three-year degree is deemed inadequate, institutions may compel you to complete extra coursework or a postgraduate certificate to achieve the four-year education requirement.

It's also a good idea to emphasize any postgraduate certificates, honors, or relevant job experience to demonstrate your academic preparation's equivalent to a four-year degree.

It is essential to contact the admissions offices of the colleges you are interested in directly to check your eligibility. They can supply the most accurate information about your school history.

In summary, although a four-year degree is usually required, many U.S. colleges will accept candidates with three-year degrees, mainly if they exhibit educational quality and rigor comparable to U.S. norms. It is critical to examine each institution's standards and be prepared to make a case for your degree's comparability.

Does it really matter what school you get an MS in CS degree from? Why or why not?

Beyond the university's rating, various factors come into play while selecting a Master's program in the United States, particularly in Computer Science (CS).

- Curriculum Consistency Across Institutions: The primary curriculum of computer science programs is generally consistent across various institutions in the United States. This implies that even if the school is not ranked in the top ten or thirty, you will still likely get same level education with industry requirements. For example, the University at Buffalo, which is part of the State University of New York system and is rated 62nd in the United States, provides current and relevant CS coursework similar to some of the top institutions in US.

- Course Selection and Personal Effort: The courses you pick and the attention you put into learning them provide you an edge in the job market. It's not so much about the school's name as it is about the actual skills and information you learn.

- The US Job Market: The job market in the US is the most open one and there is a huge requirement of talented programmers and people who have performed well in school and extra-curriculars. Outside of a few top-tier colleges such as Stanford or MIT, the American employment market prioritizes skill and performance above the status of your alma mater. Your capacity to exhibit talents is ultimately what leads to job prospects. Even students from prestigious colleges may struggle if they lack the necessary internships or practical experience.

- Leveraging Your Position: Regardless of whether you are attending a top 30 school or not, it is critical to maximize your opportunities. Strenuous effort and a good mindset may get you far, frequently outpacing people with a more famous school name but less ambition.

- The Importance of Difficulties: Starting at a lower-ranked university may motivate you to work harder and more aggressively take possibilities. Accept the journey, build connections, and immerse yourself in your studies and society. This experience, which includes hard work and involvement, is often as valuable as the degree.

In essence, an MS in USA from any institution, regardless of its ranking, may provide you with the knowledge and abilities required for success in the business. How you devote yourself throughout and after your education makes a significant impact on your professional trajectory.

Frequently Asked Questions

The United States is a prime destination for higher education, especially for Master of Science (MS) degrees, offering substantial learning and growing opportunities for international students. MS in USA are relatively more affordable than MBAs, with tuition fees ranging from $20,000 to $60,000 per year and living expenses between $9,600 to $20,400 annually. Additional costs include books, materials, travel, and activities. Students can reduce expenses through scholarships and financial aid. Overall, the total cost for a two-year MS program varies from $30,000 to $120,000, depending on the chosen university and program.

Studying MS in USA can be a life-changing experience that can offer you global learning and perspective. The MS universities in the USA have excellent rankings in and across the country. Here is the list of top MS universities in the USA you can consider for your Master's education:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • California Institute of Technology
  • University of California Berkeley (UCB)
  • University of Chicago
  • Princeton University
  • Yale University
  • University of Pennsylvania
  • Cornell University

Students willing to enroll for MS in USA must meet specific eligibility criteria for successful admission. Below is the list of documents required for the MS program in the USA:

  • Undergraduate Degree: A graduation degree from a recognized university
  • English Proficiency Test: IELTS or TOEFL tests to know the student's familiarity with English.
  • GRE or GMAT Score: The minimum score for GMAT is 600 to 740; for the GRE, it is 318 to 329. However, the scoring criteria depend on the universities.
  • Transcripts: Official transcripts that ensure your previous education history and records.
  • Letter of Recommendation: LOR from a professor or previous employer.
  • Personal Statement: Also known as Statement of Purpose, this document defines your interests, goals, and purpose of studying abroad and in a particular university.
  • Resume/ CV: A Resume or a CV detailing your work experience.
  • Financial Proof: A statement or a record demonstrating that you have sufficient funds to cover tuition, living, and other expenses.
  • Visa Application: A student must obtain a visa after enrolling in the university.
  • Passport Copies and Photos: Recent passport-size photographs and copies of your passport.

Pursuing an MS in USA opens the doors to broad career opportunities. Students gain knowledge of academic excellence along with excellent research skills. The benefits of studying MS from the USA are:

  • Top-Tier Education System: MS programs in the US provide an advanced and innovative learning experience
  • Globally Acclaimed Universities: Universities in the US have a greater rank, and they are recognized worldwide.
  • Excellent Career Opportunities: An extensive learning and growing experience prepares students to work globally.
  • Networking Opportunities: The networking opportunities allow students to build a strong connection with peers, alums, and industry experts.

As an international student, you must take a language test to prove your abilities to learn, write, and understand in a foreign country. The two common English Language Tests conducted for applying for MS in USA are:

  • IELTS (English Language Testing System): Students appearing for IELTS must score at least 6.5.
  • TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language): Similar to IELTS, some universities conduct TOEFL as an assessment test to know your English language skills.

However, the test scores may differ by university and program. Some universities have their own set of scoring criteria where even minimum marks are considered., whereas few universities expect a higher score.

The eligibility criteria for pursuing MS in USA can vary depending on the university. However, some standard eligibility criteria for a candidate for MS studies include a bachelor's degree or a graduation degree from a reputable college in a relevant field, with a GPA score on a scale of 3.0 on a 4.0. Most US universities have a standardized test that includes the GMAT or GRE score, an English Test that proves the student's learning abilities.

Work experience is not mandatory to pursue an MS in USA. Several universities in the US prefer candidates with relevant work experience, while most US Universities allow students to pursue MS without any work experience. Some of the universities in the business and technology domain require students to have minimum work experience. It is mandatory to check the institution's eligibility criteria for the MS program you are interested in. Consider choosing a program that aligns perfectly with your career goals and objectives.

Pursuing an MS in USA offers students a multitude of career opportunities, particularly in high-demand fields such as technology, finance, research, and marketing. These prospects are further enhanced by the global market's growing demand for specialized skills. On average, international students with an MS degree from the U.S. can expect to earn around $94,000 annually. Graduates from top-ranking universities often have access to even higher salary ranges. However, it's important to note that the minimum salary a student can expect depends largely on their individual educational skills, the university and program they graduated from, and their professional qualifications.

Students willing to pursue MS in USA must have a graduation or a bachelor's degree from a recognized university with a GPA that varies from 2.5 to 3.5 on a 4.0 scale. A decent test score on the GRE or GMAT is required to be eligible for applying for MS in the USA, whereas some universities don't consider this exam. An English proficiency test is conducted to evaluate the ability of the student to learn, write, and understand the language. Additional documents such as a statement of purpose, letter of recommendation, financial statement, and CV are required. The requirement of documents varies from institution and the specialization you are opting for.

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