You only know all of this from films 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 degree in the USA so appealing
One of the main reasons that students study in the United States is because of the excellent higher education system in the United States. The university landscape is very diverse, so that students can choose from several thousand universities. The technical equipment, the service and the support at the universities in the USA are mostly exemplary.
The student life away from the lecture halls in the US has also its own special charm: most students live on campus, to supermarkets, cinemas and cafes are on in many cases. 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.
Specialize in a targeted manner with a master’s degree in the USA
Due to the immense range of courses in the USA, students from Germany have access to courses that do not exist in this form in Germany. This gives them the opportunity to study their desired course of study and, for example, to change their subject.
Often the home university in Germany does not offer the specialization that interests the respective student most. In this case, too, it makes sense to look out for Masters courses in the USA with a corresponding focus.
Career advantage through Masters in the USA
In particular, students who see their professional future in an international company or in international research are well advised to do a Masters in the USA. Students from the field of business can also gain a career advantage by studying abroad in the USA. Learn more about USA and North America on politicsezine. With the master’s degree, you gain expert knowledge in your subject, improve your foreign language skills and develop your intercultural competence.
Since seminars at US universities are designed to be more interactive, students may learn about new ways of working during their master’s degree in the US. You will take part in workshops, work on case studies and attend discussion classes. The practical experience gained in this way is welcomed by employers.
Basically, a master’s degree from a renowned US university always looks good on your résumé.
Forms and structure of the master’s degree in the USA
The master’s degree in the USA belongs to the graduate studies. US master’s programs are only available at universities and institutes of technology, but not at colleges. In general, the following basic data apply:
- Duration: usually 18-24 months
- Forms: Academic Master, Professional Master
- Possible degrees: Master of Science (M.Sc.), Master of Arts (MA), Master of Business Administration (MBA)
- Function: technical consolidation and specialization
The academic master’s programs in the USA are usually designed for two years. These are research-oriented courses, often in the humanities or natural sciences. The scientific master’s programs in the USA usually consist of advanced master’s courses and seminars, extensive research projects and a thesis. After successfully completing their studies, students acquire the title Master of Science or Master of Arts.
In contrast, the job-related master’s programs prepare for certain professional fields, for example in the fields of business, law, medicine, journalism or social work. There is no uniform duration of study. Some courses are designed for two to four years.
Students who choose a career-oriented Masters in the US often work on a special project during their studies. The courses are practice-related, so the research share is low. An example of a professional master’s degree is the MBA, which is highly regarded in business. Other typical degrees are the Master of Social Work (MSW) and the Master of Education (M.Ed.).
The so-called professional doctorates in the USA are on a par with the master’s degree. They are aimed at following the Bachelor’s degree. Typical are the Juris Doctor (JD) or the Medical Doctor (MD). Some Bachelor programs lead directly to a professional doctorate after five to six years.
The professional doctorates in the USA should not be confused with doctorates such as the Ph.D. While the former correspond to the usual professional qualification, the award of a doctorate is tied to a previous doctoral degree with a doctoral procedure.
In the case of state-regulated professions such as teacher, doctor or lawyer, it is advisable to inquire in advance to what extent the master’s degree from the USA is recognized in Germany.
Requirements for the Masters in the USA
For a master’s degree in the USA, applicants need a completed undergraduate degree, which usually means a bachelor’s degree. Since the bachelor’s degree in the USA does not take three, but four years, there can be problems with the recognition of the German bachelor’s degree. The individual universities check in detail whether the achievements achieved in the bachelor’s degree are sufficient to start a master’s degree in the USA. To do this, they usually ask for certificates, letters of recommendation, a résumé and application essays.
The GPA (Grade Point Average) plays for the admission to the Master Program in the US does matter. As a rule, universities require applicants to grade B, which corresponds to grade 2 in the German grading system. In addition, many universities attach great importance to the form and content of the application documents. It makes sense to stick to the usual structures in the USA in order to increase the chances of getting a place at the university of your choice.
Scientific and job-related subjects in comparison
The exact requirements for the master’s degree in the USA vary from course to course. A first subject-related degree is often required for a place in a research-oriented degree program. In some cases, however, graduates from other disciplines also receive a study place.
For the Professional Master in the USA, additional professional experience is generally required. In some cases, certain tests are common:
- The Graduate Record Examination (GRE) to test 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, a good knowledge of English is required for a master’s degree in the USA. These can be proven using the TOEFL or IELTS.
The question of costs
As a service provider, all US universities charge tuition fees. Since the universities set the fees individually, the price range is quite large. Depending on the university and degree program, a master’s degree in the USA costs between US $ 7,000 and US $ 33,000 per year.
Then there is the cost of living, which averages US $ 1,000 per month in the US. While undergraduate students are often required to live on campus, this is mostly not the case for master’s students. You can usually decide for yourself whether you prefer a student residence, a private apartment or a shared apartment as accommodation for studying in the USA. The rental and food prices are based on the local conditions.
Financial support for a master’s degree in the USA
For students in the graduate area, various funding options come into question, which reduce the high costs. Master’s students have the opportunity to apply for various scholarships:
- Fulbright Commission Scholarships
- Scholarships from universities in the United States, such as merit-based scholarships, flat-rate scholarships, in rare cases sports scholarships
- Scholarships from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) that cover at least part of the study period
If none of the above-mentioned grants are eligible, a student loan can also be a way to finance the master’s degree in the USA.
The so-called fellowships and assistantships are also an interesting option for master’s students from Germany. The latter can be compared with the Hiwi positions at German universities. The award of the fellowships is linked to outstanding academic achievements during the master’s degree in the USA. A fellowship exempts from tuition fees and is partly linked to a scholarship. In contrast to the assistantships, there are no research or teaching tasks.
Visa and entry requirements USA
For a Masters degree in the USA, students from Germany need an F1 student visa. This can be applied for at the American embassy as part of a multi-stage application process.
A health insurance is to study in the United States duty. US colleges usually have several insurance packages to choose from. However, foreign health insurance policies for the USA taken out in Germany are usually sufficient and are often the cheaper alternative. Nevertheless, it is advisable to ensure in advance that the insurance cover is sufficient.