Master degree in the USA

You know all this only from movies and haven’t found the time to travel to the land of the American Dream during your studies? Then a Master’s degree in the USA is an interesting option for you.

What makes a Master’s programme in the USA so attractive
One of the main reasons that motivates students to study in the USA is the excellent university system of the United States. The university landscape is very diverse, so that students can choose from several thousand universities. The technical equipment, service and support at universities in the USA are also exemplary in most cases.

In the USA, everyday life away from lecture halls also has its own special charm: most students live on campus, which in many cases is home to supermarkets, cinemas and cafés. Numerous student clubs and a huge range of leisure activities ensure a strong sense of community and an atmosphere in which international students quickly feel at home.

Targeted Specialization with a Master in the USA

Due to the immense number of courses on offer in the USA, students from Germany have access to courses of study that do not exist in this form in Germany. This gives them the opportunity to study their chosen course of study and, for example, to change their field of study.

Often, the home university in Germany does not offer the specialisation that interests the student most. In this case, it is also advisable to look for master’s degree courses in the USA with a corresponding focus.

Career advantage through Master’s degree in the USA

In particular, students who see their professional future in an international company or international research are well advised to obtain a Master’s degree in the USA. Business students can also gain a career advantage by studying abroad in the USA. The Master’s degree provides them with expert knowledge in their field, improves their foreign language skills and further develops their intercultural competence.

Because seminars at US universities are more interactive, students may learn new ways of working while studying for a Master’s degree in the USA. They participate in workshops, work on case studies and attend discussion classes. The practical experience gained as a result of this is welcome by employers.

Basically, a master’s degree from a renowned US university is always good on the CV.

Forms and Structure of the Master’s Programme in the USA

The Master’s degree in the USA is one of the graduate studies. U. S. Master’s programs are only available at universities and institutes of technology, not colleges. In general, the following basic data applies:

  • Duration: usually 18-24 months
  • Shapes: Academic Master, Professional Master
  • Possible degrees: Master of Science (M. Sc.), Master of Arts (M. A.), Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Role: Specialisation and specialisation

Academic Master

The academic Master’s programmes in the USA are generally designed for two years. These are research-oriented courses of study, often in the humanities or natural sciences. The scientific master’s programmes in the USA are usually composed of advanced master’s courses and seminars, comprehensive research projects and a thesis. Upon successful completion of their studies, students acquire the title of Master of Science or Master of Arts.

Professional Master

On the other hand, the job-related Master’s programmes prepare students for certain occupational fields, such as economics, law, medicine, journalism or social work. There is no uniform length of study. Some courses are designed for two to four years.

Students who choose a career-oriented Master’s degree in the USA often work on a special project during their studies. The courses of study are practice-oriented, which is why the proportion of research is low. An example of a professional master’s degree is the MBA, which is highly regarded in the business world. Other typical degrees are the Master of Social Work (M. S. W.) and the Master of Education (M. Ed.).

Professional doctorates

The so-called professional doctorates in the USA are on a level with the master’s degree. They are aimed at following the Bachelor’s degree. Typical examples are the Juris Doctor (J. D.) or the Medical Doctor (M. D.). After five to six years, some Bachelor’s programmes lead directly to a professional doctorate.

The professional doctorates in the USA are not to be confused with doctorates such as PhD. While the former correspond to the usual professional qualification, the awarding of a doctorate is tied to a previous doctoral programme with doctorate procedures.

In the case of state-regulated professions such as teachers, doctors or lawyers, it is advisable to inquire beforehand to what extent the Master’s degree from the USA is recognised in Germany.

Requirements for the Master in the USA

Applicants for a Master’s degree in the USA require a completed undergraduate degree, which usually means a Bachelor’s degree. Since the Bachelor’s degree in the USA takes not three but four years, there may be problems with the recognition of the German Bachelor’s degree. The individual universities check in detail whether the performance achieved in the Bachelor’s programme is sufficient to start a Master’s programme in the USA. They usually demand certificates, letters of recommendation, a curriculum vitae and application essays.

The grade point average plays an important role for admission to the Master’s programme in the USA. Generally speaking, the universities require applicants to have a grade of B, which corresponds to grade 2 in the German grading system. In addition, many universities attach great importance to the formal and content design of application documents. It makes sense to adhere to the structures that are customary in the USA in order to increase your chances of finding a place at the university of your choice.

Comparison of scientific and occupational subjects

The exact requirements for the Master’s degree in the USA vary from programme to programme. A first subject-related degree is often required for a place in a research-oriented course of study. In some cases, however, graduates from other disciplines also receive a place at university.

For the Professional Master’s degree in the USA, additional professional experience is usually required. In some cases, certain tests are common:

  • The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) for the examination of academic skills following undergraduate studies
  • The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) for Business Schools
  • The Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) for Medical Schools
  • The Law School Admission Test (LSAT) for admission to a Master of Laws (LLM) program

In any case, sufficient English language skills are required for a Master’s programme in the USA. These can be detected using TOEFL or IELTS.

The question of cost

As a service provider, all US universities charge tuition fees. Since the universities determine the fees individually, the price range is quite large. Depending on the university and course of study, a Master’s degree in the USA costs between US$ 7,000 and US$ 33,000 per year.

In addition, the average cost of living in the USA is US$ 1,000 per month. While undergraduate students are often obliged to live on campus, this is usually not the case for undergraduate students. As a rule, they can decide for themselves whether they prefer a student residence, a private apartment or a shared flat as accommodation for studying in the USA. Rental and food prices are based on local conditions.

Financial support for a Master’s degree in the USA

For graduate students, there are various funding options that reduce the high costs. Master’s students have the opportunity to apply for various scholarships:

  • Scholarships of the Fulbright Commission
  • Scholarships from universities in the USA, e. g. performance-related scholarships, one-off grants, in rare cases sports scholarships
  • Scholarships of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), which cover at least part of the study period

If none of the aforementioned grants are considered, a student loan can also be a way of financing the Master’s degree in the USA.

The so-called Fellow and Assistantships are also an interesting option for Master students from Germany. The latter can be compared with the Hiwi positions at German universities. The awarding of the fellowships is linked to outstanding academic achievements during the Master’s program in the USA. A fellowship exempts students from tuition fees and is partly linked to a scholarship. In contrast to assistantships, there are no research tasks or teaching assignments.

Visa and Immigration Information USA

Students from Germany require a F1 student visa to study in the USA. This can be applied for through a multistage application process at the American Embassy.

Health insurance is compulsory for studying in the USA. U. S. universities usually have several insurance packages to choose from. However, health insurance policies taken out in Germany for the USA are usually sufficient and often the cheaper alternative. Nevertheless, it is advisable to make sure that the insurance cover is sufficient.