Post-Graduate Degrees in the US

Post-Graduate Degrees in the US

For many decades now, the US has been a leader in overseas education. Most international students today dream of studying in the US, and this is due to a number of reasons. The US is home to some of the most highly-ranked, prestigious universities in the world. These universities offer students state-of-the-art facilities, the most highly qualified faculty and a wide range of courses and programmes to choose from. Furthermore, the high standard of living, the potential of an international career as well as the chance of settling down abroad is very lucrative to students. Not only that, the US is a beautiful country with lots of scenic nature, lovely weather, a rich history and diverse culture. It is truly a melting pot of culture and ethnicities, where everyone finds acceptance and a community, no matter their background. Thus, rightly called the land of opportunities, America is a dream destination for any student wanting to study abroad. 


Post graduate degrees are very popular for international students to pursue in the US. There is, however, a certain criteria that needs to be fulfilled before being able to enrol in a Master’s course. Most US universities require students to have completed four years of undergraduate education. Some universities may accept a three year undergraduate student, based on their credits system and individual merits. Furthermore, students must attempt and obtain the necessary scores on admission tests such as the GRE or GMAT as well as English proficiency tests like the TOEFL or IELTS. Most universities ask students to submit Statements of Purpose (SoP) and personal essays, along with recommendation letters, academic transcripts, etc. Previous job experience is an added advantage for graduate applicants. Here are the different types of post-graduate degrees in the US:

Master of Arts (MA)

This degree is awarded for those completing post-graduate studies in the fields of social sciences like economics, psychology, sociology, etc. or humanities and arts such as literature, music, communications, history, linguistics, education, etc. Teaching methods in MA can differ vastly as per the discipline being studied, but most courses have lectures, discussions and seminars as well as a research element though a dissertation that is later evaluated separately. 

Master of Science (MS/MSc)

This degree is awarded to students who complete their post-graduation in a field that is classified under science, such as computer science, engineering, health, biology, zoology, physics, chemistry or any other such natural science. Some social sciences, such as economics, can also fall under this category, depending on the course material. An MS degree is quite technical in nature and is heavy in the research component, especially for natural sciences.

Master by Research (MPhil)

This degree is an advanced research-based degree, which is similar to other Master’s degrees but with more focus on primary research and academic writing. This degree is often a precursor to a PhD, allowing the students to attempt research at a smaller scale before committing to a Doctorate programme. An MPhil generally does not have a lot of lectures, and instead, students are asked to complete a large, independent research project.

Master by Research (MPhil)

Similar to an MPhil, the MRes degree is focused on research and is meant to train students to become expert researchers. This degree has a huge research element, wherein students are asked to work on independent projects, while also attending lectures to study various research techniques and tools. This degree is generally chosen by those wishing to pursue a career in research and complete a PhD.

Specialised Master’s Degrees

Apart from the Master’s degrees mentioned above, there are certain specialised post-graduate degrees that are awarded to students of particular disciplines. These degrees are highly specialised and focused on one particular professional area, allowing students to pursue a career in that field. Degrees like Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Social Work (MSW), Master of Fine Arts (MFA), Master of Public Administration (MPA), Master of Laws (LLM), Master of Public Health (MPH), are some popular specialised Master’s degrees. 

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