US MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMME FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS: A GUIDE

The US, no doubt, is the best destination for every aspiring postgraduate student who wishes to study abroad. The country has the best universities in the whole wide world. Even students from most developed countries of the world like the UK, Canada, Australia, etc., make the US their perfect destination for their postgraduate studies. The reason for their choice of the US is not farfetched. There are numerous graduate programmes where, especially, international postgraduate students can benefit from. Many have benefited and the programmes are still open for all qualified students to benefit from.

The importance of guidance for foreign students who wish to study abroad cannot be overemphasized. There are many things one needs to understand in one's proposed country of study. The US is a unique country with 50 states, housing people of divergent, cultural, political and religious backgrounds. As far as you're an international student studying in the US, just understand that one way or the other your lifestyle can be influenced by the aforementioned factors. This article will help you with the basic knowledge you need for your US masters application.

 

WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THE US AS THE BEST DESTINATION FOR YOUR MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMME

The US has over 4,000 universities with around 1,500 of them offering masters-level degree programmes. Below are some of the reasons why you need to consider the US as the best destination for your postgraduate study.

(a) The US has the best universities in the world. Their tactical and comprehensive approach to education, especially higher education, have distinguished US institutions of higher learning from the rest of the world.

(b) In the US, there are many universities and various research and academic programmes to choose from.

(c) You must have heard how expensive it's to study in the US. Whereas the assertion should be admitted to be true, the good news is that there are numerous funding opportunities for talented international students.

(d) There is a structural difference between graduate programmes in the US and those of other parts of the world. US academic system, especially, at postgraduate level, is designed to inculcate in students not just theoretical knowledge of their subject areas but also vocational knowledge that can allow transferable skills.

 

UNIVERSITIES AND COLLEGES IN THE US

It must be clarified here that in the US, Americans often use the term 'college' as an equivalent term for university. In others, Americans use 'university' and 'college' interchangeably. However, structurally, colleges in the US are different from universities in that colleges don't offer postgraduate programmes. They only focus on few academic courses. The scope of a typical college in the US are those of specific subject areas. Before any institution of higher learning is considered as a university in the US, there must be a good number of schools and faculties dealing with serious academic and research programmes. As a matter of fact, colleges can be found within most advanced and expanded universities in the US. Serious academic and research programmes like Masters and PhDs are carried out at university level.

 

PUBLIC AND PRIVATE UNIVERSITIES IN THE US

As obtainable in other countries of the world, universities in the US are classified into public and private ones. Unlike in most countries where most public universities are administered as part of state university system rather than the federal government. Whereas some states maintain a single state university system, some other operate more than one. In any case, public universities in the US are relatively cheaper because they are always supported by state funding. However, it's important to note that private universities in the US are not funded by the states. Hence they are more expensive than the public ones. Nevertheless, private schools in the US have their own ways of encouraging and supporting students through scholarship initiatives.

Apart from universities and colleges, US also has what is termed 'graduate schools'. The main focus of graduate schools in the US is on professional programmes. They are different from academically oriented universities. Examples of graduate schools include: Business Schools, Medical Schools, Law Schools, etc.

 

DURATION FOR MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMME IN THE US

Master's degree programme in the US takes minimum of two years on full time to complete. The programme takes more time in the US because of structural factors aimed at inculcating in students all the requisite skills needed for survival outside the four walls of the university. It's important to note by students who would wish to go for their PhD after their master's programme that holding American masters can be advantageous as their duration for PhD can be shortened. Running a master's programme in the US can take 3-4 years on part-time, depending on one's academic area.

 

ACADEMIC MASTERS AND PROFESSIONAL MASTERS

Academic master's programme is the normal or traditional programme which one undertakes after first degree in all other fields of academic endeavours aside professional areas. On the other hand, professional masters is quite different from academic masters in that professional masters provides both technical and vocational trainings to help students with transferable skills that can be useful to them after they have left the four walls of school. Professional masters can be carried out in fields such as engineering, architecture, law, medicine, etc.

 

COST AND FUNDING FOR MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMME IN THE US

Average annual tuition fee for a master's programme in the US is around $30,000 - $35,000. However, financial expectations differ as not all the courses take as much as professional courses do. The programme even becomes financially less burdensome when one runs the programme on scholarship, grant, or bursary. Other fundings can also come from the universities or other charitable organizations.

 

 

 

APPLICATION FOR MASTER'S PROGRAMME IN THE US

The first step to be taken while applying for a master's degree programme in the US is to secure a student visa (f-1 student visa). However, it's important to note that the process of application for a master's programme in the US can be rigorous and demanding.

Therefore, it's advisable for one who wishes to study for masters in the US to start the process of application as early as possible. This is to enable you beat time and rigorous procedure involved in the application. The best time to apply is usually within the first quarter of the year.

Moreover, it's important to note that one can actually apply to as many universities as possible simultaneously. To qualify for masters in the US, you need 2:1 (second class upper) in your first degree. However, some universities also accept 2:2 (second class lower). Other important requirements for your application shall include: academic transcript, academic references, personal statement, and language test result.

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