How to Get a Masters Degree in USA - (2023)

Getting a master’s degree is one of the first steps to getting yourself a professional career in the field of your choice. The field you choose is extremely important, but equally important is also the place you get your degree from. Different countries have a different expertise in education and finding a university which suits your needs is immensely beneficial.

Specifics Of Master’s Programs In USA

One of the most popular countries where people want to get a degree from is the United States of America (USA). A masters degree in USA is valuable and difficult to get. Many students embark on their journey to getting a graduate degree in their field within the US. The process is long and requires high qualifications. So before you start this journey, keep in mind the following things:

All in English

Any master’s degree in the U.S is completely taught in the English language. If your language skills are not great, then you should consider either getting more language learning courses or finding a different place.

Different teaching methods

Whereas in a lot of countries, professors are expected to completely teach classes themselves, professors in the U.S try to involve students in the teaching too. Half the classes are lectures and then the other half includes participation from students by getting into discussions and debates about issues that the class is concerned with.

Different learning methods

Since educational systems differ between countries, you might not be surprised to learn that U.S learning is different too. Students are not expected to learn on their own and few assignments are individual. Except for your final thesis or dissertation, most of the studying you will do will be in teams. You will learn that you have to trust others and find people you can rely on to perform well in class.

(Video) What it's REALLY like to apply for a Masters Degree.

High expenses

Graduate school in the U.S is very expensive. Programs can cost from around $30,000 to $100,000 and you’ll also have to pay living costs. Become informed about scholarship opportunities and make sure you have the necessary funds to get yourself through school.

So now that you’re aware of what it’s like to go to university in the U.S, you are ready to know how to get a master’s degree in USA.

8 Steps You Need To Follow To Get A Master’s Degree in USA

1. Select universities you want to go to

The US has a ton of universities. Each one offers different master’s degree programs that as well as different titles. Based on what your field is and what you want to get your degree in, you should start to research the university that fits you best. Look at their websites and curricula. If the courses that you want to take are not offered, you can research other universities and find them. There will definitely be an institution which has a tailored program that you want to complete.

2. Make a list their requirements

Select at least 9 universities you want to go to. Three of them will be schools you are completely sure you will get admission, three will be top universities which you know that it’s difficult to get into, and the other three are the universities you are aiming for.

After you choose these schools, make a spreadsheet of their requirements. Listing the conditions that you need to fulfill makes it easier for you to identify those that you meet and those that you need to work on getting.

(Video) Is It Worth Getting a Masters Degree in the United States? (Naveed Ahmed Janvekar) - KNN Ep. 93

3. Prepare your English Skills

To get a master’s degree in USA means that you will have to understand, speak, write, and read English in a level close to being a native speaker. A master’s program uses advanced language and terms which are not used in everyday life, so you’ll have to become an expert or at least close to an expert of English. One way to do this if you lack some skills is to get additional English courses. Pair those courses with watching movies in English and listening to music or podcasts in English. You will see that your language skills will improve.

Moreover, to prove your proficiency you will have to take a standardized English test. For the U.S, most schools require you to submit TOEFL scores. The TOEFL tests your reading, listening, speaking, and writing skills in English. To get into a graduate program, you will need to have a score of more than 90. The test has a total of 120 points.

4. Get ready for the graduate standardized tests

Another requirement of graduate programs in the US is graduate standardized tests. There are a variety of tests, each one targeting a certain field of study. The GMAT is used for business and management degrees, the MCAT is for medicine, and the LSAT is for law school. If your field doesn’t fall into any of the above, you will most likely have to take the GRE. The GRE is a graduate standardized test used for a variety of programs, from social sciences to STEM fields.

All of these tests are quite challenging and they measure the success you will have in grad school. The higher your scores, the more likely you are to get admission into the school of your choice. So you’ll have to start preparing very early, at least 3 months before to take these tests.

5.Ask for your recommendation letters

All application procedures in the US require recommendation letters. They play a major role in the admissions decision of universities. Most school require two to three recommendation letters, so make sure you submit ones that are valuable. They could be from your previous professors, work supervisors, or mentors. As long as the person who submits the recommendation knew you well and knows that you have great potential for graduate school in your specific program, you should be fine in this regard.

(Video) How to get admitted into a Masters Degree as an IMG (Cómo ser admitido en un Master Degree en USA)

6. Write your statement of purpose

You will also have to submit an essay. Or if your field of study is research oriented, you’ll have to submit a research proposal. Some universities might require both. The statement of purpose is an essay where you describe yourself, your qualifications, and why you are the right candidate for that graduate program. This is the essay where you will have to boast and unfold all of your achievements and it’s not the time to be shy. You should make sure that the admissions board knows you are capable of completing the program successfully and that you will use that degree to achieve professional excellence.

If you have to submit a research proposal, then it has to be more specific. The research proposal is not about you, but it should be about something you are curious and passionate about. You must pick a topic which you’ve always wondered about and that has had little research done on it. Write down why it matters to you and how you will go about researching it. Be specific about the methods that you will use to collect your data, how you will analyze it, and why it will be an important contribution in the field. Universities want to know why that specific research is important since they will be the ones publishing it and they don’t want to publish irrelevant work.

Whichever piece of writing you will have to admit, take some time to write it. Prepare an outline and then a first draft. Have one or multiple people go over it to give you feedback. Take that feedback and incorporate it into your writing and have the final document. Make sure it’s professional and addresses all the points you want to get across to the admissions board.

7. Meet the deadlines

After you’ve prepared all the necessary documents and met the requirements, you should submit your application. U.S universities have specific deadlines to submit your core application, your TOEFL scores, and your standardized graduate test scores. Have a spreadsheet where these deadlines are written so that you keep them in mind. You can also create reminders so that you don’t forget any of them.

Most universities also accept early applications. Early applications have the advantage of being cheaper since you won’t have to pay the full application fee, the admissions board considers them first, and thus you get a response on whether you were accepted earlier than everyone else.

(Video) Easiest Master's Degrees... That you can Earn in Under a Year!

If you have missed a deadline, do not worry though. U.S universities also have late application deadlines, so you can try to submit your application by then.

8. Apply for a student visa

After you get responses from the universities you have applied to, you will notice that some might have accepted you and others have not. From the universities which gave you an offer for admissions, you will have to choose one of them. Take into account the curricula of the program, the location, the university ranking, as well as the expenses when you make that decision.

Following your decision, you will then have to apply for a U.S visa. Student visas for master’s degrees can be of two types:

  • J-1 Visa – which is given to students who are sponsored by international or governmental organizations to complete their degree
  • F-1 Visa – is for students who are going to the U.S to study without a sponsor and may or may not have a scholarship

Find out in which category you belong in and what the application procedures are. Gather your documents, complete your visa interview, and wait for a response from the U.S Embassy. Hopefully it will be a positive answer and you will get the visa so you can start your journey towards getting a master’s degree in USA.


Is it easy to pass a master's degree? ›

It's not easy. And not everyone who attempts a Master's program will actually complete their degree. Below are some of the most common hurdles to success we've seen. Procrastinators will quickly find that the constant, high volume of reading, writing, and research means that falling behind is not an option.

Can you do Masters with low 2 1? ›

The short answer is yes, absolutely. Many postgraduate courses will even include a 2.2 or above in their Master's entry requirements. Strictly speaking, you could do a Master's with a third, or even no degree at all.

How many credits do you need to pass a Masters? ›

Credits. To successfully complete a Masters course, for example, you'll need 180 credits.

How many credits are required for a master's degree in USA? ›

Usually a master's degree will take 1-2 years of full-time study to complete, but the number of credits required varies depending on your field of study and your experience in the field. Most master's degree programs require 30-60 credits.

What is the easiest masters degree? ›

Following is the list of easiest masters degrees that one can choose to specialize in.
  • Masters of Fine Arts (MFA)
  • Masters of Arts (MA)
  • Masters in Mass Communication.
  • Masters of Psychology.
  • Masters of Finance.
  • Masters of Human Resource Management (MHRM)
  • Masters of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Masters of Science (MSc)

Do people fail masters degrees? ›

Failing a Masters

A Masters is challenging, but you're still unlikely to fail. For one thing, universities won't admit students who aren't ready and prepared for the course.

What are the entry requirements for Masters? ›

All master's degrees require the completion of a bachelor's degree and usually require an undergraduate GPA of 3.0. Many schools also require taking entrance exams like the GRE or GMAT.

Are masters degrees hard? ›

Yes. Master's degrees are a bit harder than most undergraduate studies. However, a postgraduate course of study is the best way to improve your academic career and personal life. You'll find ways to adjust to the increased difficulty as you go.

Can a third class do Masters in USA? ›

yes you can do a masters degree with a 3rd class. but if it is a highly competitive course or university, you will probably be rejected.

Is 65 at Masters level good? ›

If you're scoring in the 60s, then you're at Merit level right now - if you're aiming for a merit, great, but if you're aiming for a distinction, you'll need to think about how to boost up your marks.

Is a 2.2 masters degree good? ›

Is a 2.2 degree good? In short, yes. You can still get a good graduate job with a 2.2 degree. The direction that a lot of employers are moving in is away from viewing a first or 2.1 as the be all and end all.

What is a good grade at Masters level? ›

Here is a general breakdown of what you require for achieving a certain master's grade and how that equates to a bachelor's classification for comparison: A Distinction is equal to a first and requires you to achieve 70%+ in your degree. A Merit is equal to a 2:1 and requires you to achieve 60-69% in your degree.

What is the age limit for MS in USA? ›

6. What is the maximum age for MS in USA? As such, there is no upper age limit for seeking a Master's degree from the US. To be able to apply for a US student visa, however, you must first secure admission into a SEVP-certified US university or college.

How many years is Masters Degree in USA? ›

Master's degrees typically take two years to complete, but the timeframe can vary from person to person. Depending on your degree program and whether you're going to school full-time or part-time, it could take you less time to get your master's degree – or more.

How much does Masters cost in USA? ›

The average cost of pursuing a master's in USA is Rs 30.27 lakh annually. This includes Rs 22.25 lakh as the first-year tuition fee and Rs 8.02 lakh as first-year living expenses.

What are the 2 most common master's degrees called? ›

The two most common titles of master's degrees are the Master of Arts (MA/M.A./A.M) and Master of Science (MSc/M.Sc./M.S./S.M.) degrees, which normally consist of a mixture of research and taught material.

What is the cheapest way to get a masters degree? ›

The most affordable graduate schools are usually public institutions because they receive more federal funding. According to the NCES, the average master's degree from public colleges and universities cost $13,758 less than at private schools.

What masters degree pays the most? ›

Best-paying master's degrees
  • Nurse anesthesia. Median pay: $165,000 per year. ...
  • Telecommunications engineering. Median pay: $141,000 per year. ...
  • Finance and economics. Median pay: $134,000 per year. ...
  • Electrical engineering. ...
  • Computer engineering. ...
  • Biomedical engineering. ...
  • Mathematics and statistics. ...
  • Technology management.

What is the pass mark at Masters level? ›

A typical masters degree will be graded using four terms: Distinction: A final grade of 70% or above. Merit: A final grade of 60-69% Pass: A final grade of 50-59%

Do grades matter for Masters? ›

Most graduate schools require students to keep a higher grade-point average than during their undergrad years. Usually, these programs require a B (3.0) equivalent at a minimum. (Compare that with the C, or 2.0, floor that most undergraduate programs demand.)

How are Masters grades calculated? ›

In the case of an integrated Master's, more weighting is applied to your last two years of studying. Once you've completed all your modules and you have your final mark, you get the grade depending on which boundary it falls into. You need to get 50% to get a Pass, 60% to get a Merit and 70% to get a Distinction.

What is the minimum GPA for Masters? ›

Your GPA is also important if you want to continue your studies and apply for a Master's or PhD degree. Once again, a good GPA will depend on the university and the type of programme you apply for. Some will accept students with a 2.75 GPA, others will demand minimum 3.0 or 3.5.

How can I apply for Masters in USA? ›

Document checklist for MS in the US:
  1. Recommendation letters ( minimum 2-3 lectures)
  2. GRE/TOEFL/GMAT/IELTS score proofs besides reporting the test scores officially.
  3. Academic Transcripts for the qualifications listed in the application form.
  4. SOP.
  5. Work experience certificates, if applicable.
  6. Photocopies of passport.
2 Sept 2022

How many types of Masters degrees are there? ›

Generally speaking, there are two main types of master's degrees: course-based (taught) and research-based.

Can I work full-time and do a Masters? ›

Embarking on a postgraduate degree whilst working full time can be extremely challenging in terms of trying to balance work commitments and personal life, with the demands of academic studies. Full-time employment may appear to be a stumbling block but it does not have to preclude you from taking a postgraduate degree.

How many hours a week for a Masters degree? ›

For classroom-based taught Masters, students will usually have between five and 10 contact hours per week, through a combination of seminars, lectures and workshops. Laboratory-based Masters will have more contact hours – often around 20 hours a week.

How can I study effectively for a Masters degree? ›

Top 10 Study Tips for PhD and Masters Students
  1. Plan a holiday away.
  2. Don't hide yourself away from the academic community. ...
  3. Stick to a work-life balance that suits you and your needs. ...
  4. Use all of the resources available to you. ...
  5. Make really thorough notes. ...
  6. Work out when and where you are most effective. ...
15 Jan 2021

Which country accepts 3rd class for Masters? ›

If you graduated with 3rd class and you seek to pursue your Master's degree, Australia now Awards Scholarships for African Students with 3rd class. And the good news is that you are eligible to apply for scholarship awards that can fund your stays through the study years.

Which university accept 3rd class for Masters? ›

Lagos State University (LASU)

The Lagos State University is among some of the universities in Nigeria where you can apply for master's with third class and get admitted. Lagos State University is a world-class university situated in the heart of Lagos State with good facilities and enough resources to aid learning.

Can a second class lower Do Masters? ›

The answer to that question is an emphatic yes I did some post graduate studies in Nigeria and the majority of my classmates had 2.2.

How difficult is masters degree? ›

Master's degrees are difficult, but depending on which type you enroll in, your workload will vary. While each master's program is built differently, at the end of your 2-year studies, you will leave with expert knowledge of your chosen subject.

Why is a Master's degree so hard? ›

In general, master's degree programs are more difficult than undergraduate programs. That's because they build on existing concepts and skills. When you're going for your bachelor's degree, you spend your time reviewing what other people have discovered.

How many students drop out of Masters? ›

The study found that dropout rates of master's students are 12%.

Do Masters grades matter? ›

The only time the grade truly matters is if you are considering a PhD after completing the masters program. However, showing that you have improved your skills across the course is just as important as getting the best grades right from the start.

How do I prepare for a Masters degree? ›

How to prepare for a Masters degree
  1. Consider your reasons for studying a Masters. First of all, you must be passionate about your subject. ...
  2. Practice your time management. ...
  3. Get ahead with reading. ...
  4. Research your university location. ...
  5. Immerse yourself in your subject. ...
  6. Get organised. ...
  7. Build your CV. ...
  8. Study a preparation course.
29 Nov 2020

What do you call someone with a Masters degree? ›

The official title is "Master of xxx" for someone who has attained a Master's degree in a given topic.

How can I study effectively for a Masters degree? ›

Top 10 Study Tips for PhD and Masters Students
  1. Plan a holiday away.
  2. Don't hide yourself away from the academic community. ...
  3. Stick to a work-life balance that suits you and your needs. ...
  4. Use all of the resources available to you. ...
  5. Make really thorough notes. ...
  6. Work out when and where you are most effective. ...
15 Jan 2021

Is a Bachelor better than Masters? ›

Is It Better To Get a Bachelor's Degree or a Master's Degree? Both a bachelor's degree and a master's degree can offer rewarding learning and career opportunities. However, you may consider it advantageous to earn a master's degree if it aligns with your personal goals and is required in your career field.

Do you have to write a thesis for a Masters? ›

A thesis is an academic paper completed near the end of a student's course of study for a master's degree program. Note that most master's degrees require the completion of a thesis for graduation.

How long is a Masters thesis? ›

A master's thesis is generally 40-80 pages, not including the bibliography. However, the length will vary according to the topic and the method of analysis, so the appropriate length will be determined by you and your committee. Students who write a master's thesis generally do so over two semesters.

Which degree has highest dropout rate? ›

According to the latest findings, computing science degrees have the highest number of students dropping out. The most recent research available says that 10.7% of students never graduate from computing. Advertising comes second, with 7.7% of dropouts. Then, there is agriculture, with a 7.4% dropout rate.

What degree has highest dropout? ›

Computing college degrees have the highest dropout rate with 10.7% of students not completing their study, followed by advertising at 7.7% and agriculture at 7.4%
  • Agriculture – 7.4%
  • Art – 7.3%
  • Architecture – 7.2%
  • Business – 7%
  • Engineering – 6.9%
  • Biology – 6.7%
  • Education – 6.1%
  • Medical – 5.9%

Which university has the highest dropout rate? ›

Arden university

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that this university tops our list, with 38.2% dropout rate. *This article uses data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency. There you have it.

Is 65 at Masters level good? ›

If you're scoring in the 60s, then you're at Merit level right now - if you're aiming for a merit, great, but if you're aiming for a distinction, you'll need to think about how to boost up your marks.

What is a good GPA for Masters? ›

Most colleges like to see at least a 2.5 or a 3.0 from master's program applicants. Some programs set their minimums at 3.3 or higher. The minimum GPA for a doctoral program may start at 3.3. In addition to your overall score, the classes you took might be factored in as well.

Is a 2.2 masters degree good? ›

Is a 2.2 degree good? In short, yes. You can still get a good graduate job with a 2.2 degree. The direction that a lot of employers are moving in is away from viewing a first or 2.1 as the be all and end all.


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