Master’s and Postgraduate degrees in the USA for International Students: A Complete Guide

Masters and Postgraduate degrees in the USA

The diversity of cultures and cities in the United States is an invitation to expand your academic horizons.

The large number of world-class universities is a key factor that makes this country the main destination for studying masters and postgraduate courses in the USA.

International students recognize and value the academic quality of the USA and the complete comprehensive curriculum offered by its institutions.

Thus, one of the main advantages of studying in the United States is, without doubt, the quality and prestige of their education, which has positioned the nation in the world as the number one in teaching and academic preparation.

Hence, annually in American universities enroll an average of 5% of international students, students who come from more than 90 countries in the world.

Another feature that makes the American educational system stand out has to do with flexibility, especially when it comes to distributing schedules and time.

It is usually possible to adapt it to your needs and choose the number of subjects you wish to study in each semester.

This creates an additional advantage because when you study a master’s degree, an MBA or a doctorate in the United States, you can complete your studies in parallel with a job that provides economic benefits or simply for personal activities.

In addition, if you are a European graduate of careers such as Medicine, Law, Architecture, Engineering or Psychology, you will need to make an “enabling master’s degree”, according to the Bologna Plan.

Therefore, if your destination is the United States, check the following information. You’ll learn:

  1. The 2 types of graduate programs that exist in the United States (Master’s and PhD)
  2. Admission process to a graduate school in USA
  3. Requirements to access a graduate
  4. How much does a master’s and a post-graduate degree cost in the United States?
  5. The 3 best masters in the United States
  6. Universities recommended for masters in the United States
  7. 5 Scholarships to study masters in the United States

Types of Graduate Programs in the United States

Once you finish your university degree (Bachelor’s degree in USA), you have the possibility in the United States as in many countries of the world to continue specializing in your academic branch by means of:

  1. The masters: whose duration is two years except for some that last 4 and which are obligatory for certain professions in the United States, such as for example to be a doctor or lawyer.
  2. Or the doctorates: whose duration in three years and where you can research about a thesis of your branch of study, which the university has previously approved.

Both have in common that they require the same type of visa, the student visa (F1), although the purpose of both is somewhat different. Masters in the US are more focused on study, while doctorates are more focused on work.

For this reason doctorates are easier to finance, since they have no cost and you even get a salary in return.

For their part, the master’s degrees in the US are more complicated to finance, although as you will see at the end there are 5 scholarships available to study masters in the United States.

Admission process to Graduate Programs in the United States

Admission process to Graduate Programs

The process of admission to US universities is complex.

In this country there are more than 4,000 universities and the requirements to study in the United States vary among institutions.

However, all have in common that it is a long process, so I recommend you start the process well in advance, at least 1 year before.

To start the procedures, you must do it in the web pages of each university.

For this, you will have to think very carefully about where you would like to do your postgraduate course, since the process to apply in some universities is free but in others you will have to pay.

Later in this guide you will see the best universities to study for a master’s degree in the USA and some recommended universities to facilitate your choice.

Requirements to take Postgraduate courses in the United States

Although the requirements usually vary according to the university, these are the most common:

  1. Statement of Purpose(SOP)it is a document, considered the center of the application, which explains to the admissions committee who you are, what you expect from the postgraduate course, what you want to do with your career, etc. It is written in English and in essay form.
  2. Curriculum Vitae: you must synthesize on your resume what has been your academic and career path so far. You should advise on the required style.
  3. Letters of recommendation written by university professors: make sure they include the seal of the university and the contact information of the professor.
  4. Certified university notes: at a minimum, the university record must accumulate an average grade of 6.5 in the last three years, although the average grade recommended is 7.5.
  5. Degree title: duly legalized title, apostille and homologated.
  6. TOEFL exam: the minimum qualification required is 80. However, there are many more options that require a grade higher than 90.
  7. In some graduate programs it is also necessary to pass entrance exams such as Administration or Business where you must demonstrate your analytical capacity in the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or in the field of education, you will be required to take the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). There are also two more specific to study medicine in the USA (MCAT ) and to study law in the US (LSAT).

How much does a Master’s and a Postgraduate degree cost in the USA?

Master's and a Postgraduate degree cost

As I mentioned before, doctorates do not cost anything. Moreover, if a university accepts you, you may have a salary.

As for the master depends. The price of a master’s degree in the United States is tied to the type of institution you choose. Here I leave an approximate price:

  1. Private universities: the prices of master’s degrees in the US range between $ 28,000 and $ 55,000.
  2. Public universities: between $18,000 and $30,000.
  3. Community colleges (Community College): in this case the total price will be less than $ 25,000, include two years of career and is paid for each class.

The 3 best Masters in the United States

For excellence, the best master’s degrees in the United States are MBAs. The business schools of this country always appear in the world rankings of the best universities in the USA and here you have a summary of the most outstanding, although they are usually the most expensive:

  1. Harvard: the programs of this school are based on the application of cases and prepare students for the challenges of the real world. Students develop the skills they need to face difficult decisions in their professional life. Approximate enrollment: $ 112,400.
  2. Stanford: has the most selective MBA program in the world, because they reject 94% of the people who apply. The school is located in the middle of Silicon Valley, and offers different teaching methods. Approximate enrollment: $ 106,236.
  3. Columbia: offers students tools for success in the industry. One of the characteristics of the program is its flexibility and it has 73% of the employability rate of its graduates. Approximate enrollment: $ 107,824.

Types of Graduate Programs in the United States

Recommended Universities

Below we will share some of the most prestigious universities in this country to perform fourth level studies, as well as financing options to add this plus to your academic and professional training.

1. Western International University

It is an innovative institution specialized in business education and technology, whose curriculum focuses on the global community, which allows the student to prepare himself in the best possible way to face the new technological challenges, really understanding the whole commercial field, political and cultural that shapes the future.

In this prestigious institution, you can take different MBAs, such as, for example, the MBA – Master of Business Administration in Marketing, a program that prepares students to excel in a sophisticated, rapidly changing environment, where companies must comply with the demands of national or global markets.

2. Florida International University-University Graduate School

This public research university focuses on the student and with a privileged location in Miami, exceeds all expectations in its commitment to learning, research, entrepreneurship, innovation and creativity so that its graduates are always ready to succeed in a market global.

One of the MBA offered by this institution is the Joint Degree Program – Master of Science in Management Information Systems / MBA – Master of Business Administration, an interesting double degree program where students obtain both degrees in a significantly shorter period of time than it would take them to do both courses consecutively.

3. Iowa State University

It was one of the first universities established on land granted by the federal government that was founded on the principles of equal opportunities, practical teaching and knowledge exchange.

Currently, it welcomes approximately 36,000 students (of which more than 4,000 are foreigners) and offers prestigious undergraduate and graduate programs. The Iowa State University conducts high-level interdisciplinary research in a wide range of fields and topics of international relevance.

4. Texas A & M University Commerce

Founded in 1889, it has been considered as a leading institution in the provision of excellence education. Both faculty and staff of A & M-Commerce work closely with students to understand their dreams and aspirations.

It has a student population of about 6,000 undergraduate students and 4,500 graduate students. Here you can take the BPA and MBA – Master of Business Administration with a Minor in Accounting, a professional accounting program that reinforce the skills and work skills of students in business and accounting. In addition, topics of audit, advanced financial control, advanced accounting, income taxes and other special topics are worked on.

5. University of Tennessee

It was established in 1794 in eastern Tennessee. It is a public institution with a total enrollment of around 26 thousand. It offers degrees through its colleges and schools of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Communication and Information, Education, Health, and Human Sciences, Engineering, Graduate School, Law, Nursing, Social Work, Space Institute and Veterinary Medicine. Some of the most popular programs are Supply Chain Management, Engraving, Postgraduate Education, Clinical Training (laws), MBA and Postgraduate Program in Nuclear Engineering.

5 Scholarships for Master’s degrees in the United States

Scholarships for Master's degrees in the United States

As you’ve seen before, masters in the US can be very expensive. However, here I present you 5 scholarships for masters in the USA that can cover 100% of your expenses.

  1. Sports scholarships: if you are an athlete you have an advantage, because there are scholarships for masters in the United States at your disposal, which cover different levels of athletes and facilitate the opportunity to combine studies with the practice of your favorite sport without leaving aside the activity physical.
  2. Fullbright Scholarship for International Students: Fullbright scholarships offer 4,000 scholarships to master in the United States for international students, which are financed and managed by the State Department. They are prestigious, demanded and their selection system is very long and strict. They are present in 157 nations of the world. You can find more information here.
  3. Ritchie-Jennings Memorial Scholarship. Master’s or doctoral students of any nationality can opt for these scholarships, if their area of ​​interest is related to Accounting, Business Administration, Finance or Criminal Justice. There are 30 scholarships with a grant of between US $1,000 and US $10,000. You can apply here.
  4. Teaching Assistant Fellowships. Some universities offer free master’s places in exchange for some classes at the university. This is a very good opportunity to finance your master’s studies in the United States. You can find these offers on any American job page.
  5. Coaching Assistant. Similar to the “Teaching Assistant Fellowships”. If you have played a sport or have experience as a coach, you can apply for these scholarships where you are paid for your master’s studies in the US in exchange for being an assistant coach on a team at the university. You can find offers for these jobs on different websites, for example at:  or on the official website of the NCAA (the American university league). 


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