How To Pursue Master’s In the USA; A Comprehensive Guide

In this article, we will discuss how to pursue a Master’s In the USA and fully funded Master’s programs in the USA for international students. As the most popular study abroad location globally, the United States has a lot to offer international postgraduates. You’ll be one of over 900,000 international students, many of whom are enrolled in the country’s prestigious graduate programs. Although tuition rates are high, numerous financial aid options are available, including loans, grants, and scholarships.

People frequently travel to the United States searching for various higher education opportunities. This guide will explain every vital step in pursuing a Master’s degree in the USA. From course structure and grading to applications and visas, we have put together extensive advice on everything you need to know about pursuing a master’s in the United States of America. In the United States, there are about 4,300 universities and other higher education institutions. Only about 1,700 of them provide Master’s degrees.

However, there is still a wide range of universities you can select from. American graduate programs are world-renowned for their holistic approach to postgraduate education, which combines increased subject knowledge and research possibilities with the development of a set of transferrable skills.

How To Pursue Master's In the USA

Searching for Universities to Study For Master’s In the USA

Suppose you are at a loss as to how to distinguish between various American higher institutions or need help in your search for the school that is a perfect fit for you. In that case, a handy tool is the Carnegie Classification of Institutes of higher education. Though not a ranking of postgraduate institutions, It is based on the number of programs they provide at various levels and the dominance of specific topic areas in their research and teaching activities. The Basic Classification categorizes institutions based on the level and scope of their degree programs.

On its website, you can also use the filters to customize your search based on criteria like the strength of the research program, comprehensiveness, area of focus, etc. If a university offers postgraduate programs, you may also utilize its Graduate Instructional Program Classification to identify the most prevalent subjects. For many, this is often a first step on the journey to pursuing a master’s degree in the USA.


Masters Degrees in the US

Masters degrees in the United States serve a similar role to those in other nations. They are postgraduate degrees that follow a corresponding undergraduate program. Some of them provide the opportunity to go further into a particular academic field. Others offer advanced technical or professional education. The most significant variations between postgraduate credentials in the United States and their overseas counterparts are structural. Pursuing a Master’s in the USA generally entails enrolling in a graduate program at a university.

You’ll be working toward a degree while completing frequent assessments and training exercises. However, you will frequently receive more comprehensive instruction. As a result, you will be a well-rounded graduate with various transferrable abilities to complement your topic competence.


Types of Master’s Programs in the US in 2022.

Your day-to-day experience will be determined by the sort of Master’s program you enroll in and the anticipated results. These may be divided into two basic categories: academic and professional programs.

1. Academic Master’s programs

These are equivalent to standard taught Master’s degrees in other countries. They cover a wide range of topics and culminate in a large research project and the submission of a related thesis. They are, however, less specialized than their international counterparts. Rather than restricting their subject of study, those pursuing a master’s degree in the USA continue to gain a more thorough understanding of their discipline at an advanced level. This makes sense given the structure of undergraduate education in the United States, allowing students to explore various courses before deciding on one major.

Choosing a Master’s degree in a broad topic area is a kind of specialization for students going from such a system. In most situations, students enrolled in academic Masters programs select from a set of modules. (These are sometimes referred to as ‘courses’ or ‘classes.’) Modules that provide essential discipline knowledge or methodological training are typically required. Others will be ‘elective,’ allowing you to tailor aspects of your degree to your interests. The dissertation stage of an American academic Master’s degree will enable you to delve further into your unique interests.

2. Professional Master’s programs

These accomplish precisely what their name implies. They give vocational skills and technical training for specific professional fields. Many are accredited, allowing graduates to pursue professions in regulated occupations. However, as an international student, keep in mind that professional accreditation from the United States may not be recognized in your home country. Professional Master’s programs will most likely feature fewer elective modules than academic programs. Instead, you will be expected to finish a more stringent core training program.

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This guarantees that students graduate with the specialized skills required for a vocation (and its accreditors). Specialized graduate schools frequently provide these programs with proper names. MBA programs, for example, are often offered by specialized business institutions.


Master’s Student Visas in The United States

Although the United States has a rather stringent immigration system, the country admits many overseas students each year. In reality, nearly 900,000 individuals study in the United States. You should have no trouble obtaining a visa for graduate study in the United States if you are a legitimate student. In the following few paragraphs, we will be discussing requirements for international Master’s students in the USA.

What Type of Visa Do I Need to Pursue a Master’s degree in The United States?

To pursue a Master’s in the USA, you will need a visa. The US Department of State issues two types of student visas:

  • The F-1 visa is intended for students attending colleges and other higher education institutions.
  • The M-1 visa is only available for non-academic vocational training programs.

To pursue a Master’s degree in the United States, you will require an F-1 visa.


What Is the Process for Obtaining an F-1 Student Visa?

There are multiple phases to applying for an F1 student visa, but the procedure is reasonable. The typical process for obtaining an F1 visa to study in the United States is as follows:

1. Acceptance to a SEVP-approved institution of higher learning.

To obtain a student visa in the United States, you must have successfully applied to a higher education institution recognized by the US Department of Homeland Security’s Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP).

2. Enroll in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System

If a SEVP-approved institution has accepted you, you’ll need to pay a SEVIS I-901 fee (typically $350 for an F-1 visa application). Your college should also supply you with a Form I-20 at this stage, verifying your acceptance and student status. You must provide this at your interview.

3. Fill out an online Non-Immigrant Visa Application.

This will necessitate completing Form DS-160 and printing its confirmation page to submit it during your interview. You will also have to upload a decent image of yourself at this point. Your photo should be in color, less than six months old, and provide a complete, unobscured image of your face against a white backdrop; more information is available on the US Department of State website.

4. Arrange for an interview at a US consulate or embassy in your native country

All candidates between 14 and 79 years will almost certainly be asked to attend an interview. You must bring your passport, your Form I-20, and the confirmation page of your Form DS-160 (see above). The US consulate or embassy will use your interview to determine if you are eligible for the F-1 visa and whether your travel and study plans are credible. You may be required to give copies of academic transcripts showing your existing qualifications and educational background in some situations, but acceptance into a recognized university should be typically enough. Your interviewer may take a digital fingerprint from you as standard security practice.

5. Pay any additional fees.

Depending on your nationality, you may be required to pay a visa application fee before or during your interview.

Also, you may need to pay for a visa issuance charge once your visa has been issued. If you pay for your visa application in advance, you must bring the receipt to your interview, as described above. You can obtain more information on the embassy or consulate’s requirements and procedure for fee payments. You may also search out visa fees on the US Department of State’s website.

6. Collect your visa.

The timeframe for granting a visa varies depending on nationality and individual. In most situations, your documents will be given to you by recorded courier or made available for pickup at the embassy or consulate where the consular questioned you. You may find more information about visa wait times here. Once you get your visa, you may begin your Master’s program in the United States.


What Documents Are Needed to Apply for An F-1 Visa?

As you can probably guess from the above, you’ll have amassed quite a collection of various paperwork by the time you’ve finished your visa application. You will undoubtedly require:

  • You should already have your passport. It’s also possible that your mother has it. In any case, you require it.
  • Form I-20 — Once you’ve paid the SEVIS I-901 registration fee, you should get this from your university. It confirms that you’ve been accepted as a student in the United States and have been documented as such.
  • Form DS-160 — This is the first section of your visa application that you fill out online. For your interview, print the confirmation page.
  • Fee payment receipts – Bring your receipt if you paid a visa application cost before your interview. It’s also good to save any additional receipts connected to visa payments.
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These may also be necessary:

  • Academic transcripts — You’ve presumably already sent these to your university as part of your Master’s application. Once you’ve been accepted as a student, your visa interviewer won’t need to see them, but it never hurts to have copies on hand.
  • Proof of financial assistance – Your interviewer may want to establish that you will be able to support yourself while studying. You can demonstrate this by evidence of suitable scholarships/assistantships or other current financial resources.


Master’s Tuition: What are the costs of a Master’s in the USA in 2022?

A Master’s degree at a public university in America will typically cost international students between $20,000 and $35,000 a year. However, as one might expect from a country the size of America, there is a great deal of variance among programs and organizations. It’s also worth noting that just a tiny percentage of Master’s students in the United States pay the entire cost of their program. Many are supported financially by their institution or other organizations, such as the Fulbright Scholarship Program.

Applying for a Master’s Degree in the USA

Applying for a Master’s degree in the United States may be a lengthy procedure. Universities want to ensure that students are placed in the appropriate graduate programs, so they devote time and attention to the admissions process. They anticipate that you will do the same with your application. This does not imply that it is more difficult to obtain a spot on a US Master’s program. However, you will be required to offer more data and explanation about your current qualifications than you may be asked for elsewhere. It would help if you also kept in mind that you will need to get a student visa and your university admission.


What Else Should I Include in My Application?

American institutions will want more from you than just an undergraduate degree. A comprehensive academic transcript, as well as academic references and personal statements, may be required. If English is not your first language, you may be requested to take a language exam. Graduate entrance examinations are frequently necessary for more selective graduate programs. If you are shortlisted, some will request an interview with you. All requirements for a Master’s in the USA for international students are detailed further down.

1. Transcripts of academic work

A complete account of your undergraduate degree is provided via an academic transcript. It contains information on the modules you’ve completed and your performance on particular tasks. American colleges frequently request this in addition to your total degree outcome. A transcript demonstrates how relevant your experience is to the Master’s program for which you are applying. It also shows how you have grown as a student. More competitive programs may additionally inquire about how your performance compares to those of other individuals in your year.

Generally, your undergraduate university should be able to provide you with a suitable transcript upon request. However, it would help if you gave them plenty of time. If you haven’t finished your undergraduate degree yet, your university should be able to offer a projected outcome. It would be best if you formally validated any transcript you supplied. Sending marks or other information on your own will not be accepted and may cause your application to be delayed.

2. Graduate admissions examinations

These are more commonly required in the United States than in other countries. They enable your institution to evaluate general skills like abstract reasoning, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Other examinations are available, but the two most prevalent are the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) and the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT). The GRE general test is not discipline-specific (though some subject-specific variants are offered). The GMAT is commonly connected with MBA applications at graduate business institutions.

Your desired university should be able to inform you which tests are necessary. Some programs will take either the GRE or the GMAT. You should not have to take both unless you apply to various universities with differing exam preferences.

3. Personal and academic references

Masters programs in the United States are likely to request references from individuals who know you as an undergraduate. These are known as ‘letters of recommendation.’ Typically, you will be required to produce two or three such letters. Choose a variety of referees who can talk about various areas of your personality and experiences. As a general rule, you should include at minimum one academic referee with appropriate knowledge of you as a student. A project supervisor or the professor for an optional module related to your Master’s degree interests can be an excellent choice.

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4. Statements of personal experience

In addition to references, personal statements are an excellent method to provide a university with more information about your experience and interests. If you are requested to make such a remark, take it seriously. This will be your primary opportunity to speak directly with your university about your qualifications as an applicant and your future as a Master’s student. If you are selected for an interview, you should anticipate your statement to form the foundation of a portion of the conversation.

For additional information on drafting a personal statement for a Master’s degree in the United States, see the website of your desired school; or the Fulbright Commission’s website.

5. Language examinations

Although the United States is a multilingual country, most Master’s programs at American colleges are taught in English. If English is not your native language, you may be required to submit the results of a recognized academic language exam. American graduate institutions widely recognize the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) and the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). However, since the pandemic of 2020, many are now accepting official Duolingo scores as a test of English proficiency.

Your target university will be able to tell you which test(s) it prefers (many will accept more than one), as well as the minimum score(s) required. Students who have already finished (or are enrolled in) an English-language degree program may not be required to submit an extra test score, but you should verify with your school. Whatever academic discipline you choose, a Master’s degree from a US college will be supported by the prestige of one of the world’s most popular and known education systems. You’ll graduate with a qualification recognized globally for its academic excellence and the variety of transferrable skills that distinguishes a US graduate school.



Higher education in the United States is world-renowned. Studying in the United States gives a diverse cultural and social experience and a comprehensive, well-rounded education challenging to find abroad. The United States provides a comprehensive higher education program that prepares students for life after college, allowing them to choose whether to stay in the United States or return to their home country after graduation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Long Does It Take to Get a Master’s Degree in The USA?

A Master’s degree at an American university typically involves two years of full-time study (though some courses are shorter). This is lengthier than in some other nations but reflects the more prominent focus on organized training and frequent evaluation in a US graduate program. In most circumstances, the additional growth possibilities and transferrable abilities you gain during your degree will more than compensate for its length. Also, having an American Master’s degree may help reduce the time necessary to obtain a PhD in the same area.

When should I apply for a Master’s degree in the United States?

It would be best if you strived to start your application to study abroad in the United States as soon as possible, ideally before the conclusion of your second year of undergraduate studies. In most situations, you should aim to have filed your complete application by the end of March of the academic year you want to enroll. (If you are continuing directly to postgraduate studies, this will be your final year of undergraduate education.) Some colleges will also accept applications in December of the preceding year. If you want to be considered for scholarships and other forms of funding, meeting this earlier deadline may be advantageous.

How can I apply for a Master’s degree in the United States?

Applications for Master’s programs in the United States are made directly to the universities. There is no restriction to the number of courses you may apply to simultaneously. However, keep in mind that US graduate schools sometimes want a large amount of supplemental information with your application. The majority of them will additionally charge an administrative fee. As a result, you’ll be better off making a brief list of institutions to submit your application. Searching and comparing the US Master’s degrees offered on this website is a brilliant place to start.

What Credentials Will I Require?

Admission to a graduate school in the United States will necessitate completing a suitable undergraduate degree. This should be in a field related to your Master’s, but it does not have to be the same topic. Universities determine their minimum criteria, although you’ll usually need a 2.1 or equivalent. The prerequisites for highly selective colleges will be substantially tighter. Whatever the outcome of your degree, it will almost always need to be transformed into a GPA before you can use it for an American master’s degree application.



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