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Cost of Masters in USA – University Fees & Cost of Living

Updated on 26 October, 2023

USA is one of the most popular study abroad destinations for Indian aspirants looking to pursue quality MS programs. The country offers top-class academics and research options along with the best amenities. The approximate master’s in USA costs are estimated to hover around $40,000 to $80,000. There should be thorough preparation and planning to meet the anticipated cost of a master’s degree in the USA for international students by arranging sufficient funds to meet all living costs, tuition fees at the chosen university/college, and other miscellaneous expenses incurred such as the cost of attendance. Today, we take you through the different master’s programs in the USA and the cost of studying them and give you an idea about the pre-arrival expenses that need to be taken care of. 


Read More: Part time jobs in USA for international students

Types of Master’s Programs in the USA

Master’s degrees also known as ‘graduate degrees’ in the USA are offered by a host of universities in the USA across a variety of subjects. The duration of a master’s degree varies across universities. While some offer it for one year, there are several universities whose master’s degree is of two years. Comprehensively, there are two types of master’s degrees in the USA.

Academia or research degrees

These degrees are designed for students who want to make a career in academia or research and the duration of these programs varies from one to two years. Master of Arts (MA), Master of Science (MS, MSc), Master of Research (MRes), Master by Research (MPhil), and Master of Studies (MSt). 

Professional degrees

These degrees are designed to prepare students for a specific profession. This two-year degree focuses on developing a student’s career in a particular profession with hands-on training in practical components to enhance the skills required to work professionally in the chosen field. Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master of Library Science (MLS, MLIS, MSLS). 


Masters Fees for Top Courses in the USA: University-Wise Costs

UniversityMaster’s programAverage annual tuition fees
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)Chemical Engineering$27,755
Electrical Engineering and Computer Science$27,755
Business Analytics$85,250
Finance$82,150 (for 12 months) $113,700 (for 18 months)
Management Studies$78,954
Stanford UniversityComputer Science$56,487
Applied Physics$56,487
Chemical Engineering$66,297
Electrical Engineering $66,297
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)$63,747
Harvard UniversityMBA$73,440
Master of Engineering in Computational Science and Engineering$59,968 (first year) and $29,984 (second year)
Master of Science in Computational Science and Engineering$59,968 (one year program)
Data Science$59,968 (first year); $29,984 (second year: one term only)
California Institute of TechnologyBioengineering$56,364
Chemical Engineering
Computer Science
Electrical Engineering
University of ChicagoMaster of Fine Arts in Visual Arts$62,640
MS in Financial Mathematics$27,622
Masters program in Computer Science$25,121
Masters program in Analytics$20,852
University of PennsylvaniaMBA in Management$84,874
MBA in Finance$84,874
Doctor of Medicine (M.D.)$63,434
Electrical Engineering$30,168
Princeton UniversityComputer Science$60,410
Chemical and Biological Engineering
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Yale UniversityComputer Science$45,700
Electrical Engineering
M.S. in Public Health
M.S. in Statistics and Data Science
Cornell UniversityComputer Science$29,500
Electrical and Computer Engineering
Master of Law (LL.M) in Law, Technology, and Entrepreneurship
Biomedical Engineering
Columbia UniversityComputer Science$75,419
Chemical Engineering$54,528
Master of Science in Applied Analytics$72,840
Executive LL.M. in Global Business Law$78,668

Additional Costs for Master’s in USA

Till now, we have discussed the master’s in USA cost in terms of the tuition fee, but that’s not all. There is a cost of attendance that students have to bear which differs from one university to the other. Here is a breakdown of the annual average cost of attendance students have to incur while undertaking a master’s course in the USA.

Cost of Attendance for Master’s in USA

ExpensesAverage cost of attendance per year
Student life fee $400
Housing rent$12000 – $32,000
Books and supplies$850 – $2400
Health insurance fees$1900 – $5000
Transportation fee$1300 – $3500
Personal expenses$2400 – $4800

Pre-arrival Cost For Master’s in USA

ExpensesAverage cost 
IELTS exam fee₹15,750
TOEFL exam fee$190
GRE exam fee$213
GMAT exam fee$275
Application fees$1,100
Visa fee$160

$350 (I-901 SEVIS Fee F or M visa applicants)


$220 (I-901 SEVIS Fee J visa applicants)

How Part-Time Jobs and Scholarships Help Reduce the Cost of Living in the Us

The total cost of MS in the USA for Indian students ranges from $40,000 to $60,000, which varies across the universities. As the fees are on the higher side, international students need to find some way out with which they can aid their studies in the USA. Therefore, applying for the scholarships provided by various universities to international students or doing a part-time job becomes a viable option.

While most of the scholarships in the USA are available based on the financial needs of a student, a lot of universities provide grants based on merit. Illinois State University offers a merit-based scholarship with a waiver of $5,000 per semester. 

Read More: Key Requirements for study in USA

There are many other sources of scholarships apart from the ones offered by the universities based on their gender, merit, or ethnicity. There are two scholarships for girls – JN Tata scholarships and Gates Millennium scholarships, providing benefits up to $12,785 per year. New York University offers a Dean scholarship and Public Service Scholarship that waives full tuition amount and partial or half-tuition scholarships.

The cost of MS in the USA for Indian students can be reduced by earning some money through Teaching Assistantships (TA) and Research Assistantship (RA) opportunities during the junior and senior years. They can earn up to $2000 for each course. Besides, there are also part-time jobs like an interpreter and translators, or any other jobs in the related field of study. Moreover, using some tricks like renting books or living in a down-scale accommodation can help in cutting back costs. 

Study Master’s in the USA with upGrad Abroad

Do you want to pursue MS in the USA? upGrad Abroad is your one-stop solution for choosing amongst varied courses and universities and fulfilling your study abroad dreams. With one-fifth savings on the tuition costs to following blended model courses of studying where you study online for the first year and then jet off to a university of choice in the next, the counselors at upGrad Abroad would assist you in every step. 

Popular Masters Programs in Abroad

MS in Data Science in Germany

MIM in Germany
MBA in Germany

MS in Computer Science in Germany

MS in Data Analytics in USA

Masters in Business Studies in Ireland

MS in Data Analytics in Ireland

Frequently Asked Questions

Is the USA expensive for Indian students?

Though the cost of living and annual tuition fees in the USA is quite expensive, a degree from the country holds a lot of importance in the student’s professional life. However, they can reduce their expenses by applying for a fully-funded university scholarship. States like Arkansas, California, Oklahoma, Missouri, Washington, Kentucky, and Tennessee offer tuition-free community programs for eligible international students.

Is only IELTS enough for MS in the USA?

Either IELTS or TOEFL score is necessary for pursuing an MS in the USA. Most institutions accept a minimum IELTS score of 5.5, and this cut-off varies from one university to the other. While there are many other requirements that need to be met, furnishing their English language proficiency scores like IELTS is one of them

Which university in the USA is the cheapest?

A degree at Purdue University involves an affordable master’s in the USA cost ranging from $20,000 – $30,000. Apart from this, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Clemson University also has affordable tuition fees ranging from $13,000 – $35,000 and $21,000 – $27,000 respectively. 

Is GRE compulsory for MS in the USA?

Though GRE is mandatory in many colleges, there are a few universities that allow students without GRE to pursue MS in the USA. They are Purdue University, University of Dayton, Ohio, California State University, University of Bridgeport, and the University of Cincinnati. However, even in the aforementioned universities, GRE scores might be required in certain programs. A university might also waive the GRE score if a student has received their bachelor’s degree from an accredited university with a GPA of 3.0+. 

Can I study MS in the USA for free?

To study MS for free in the USA, students need to apply for the scholarship programs provided by the universities. The New York University offers the Dean’s scholarship which provides a full-tuition fee scholarship. The Northcentral University in San Diego, California also offers the New Beginnings Scholarships for the students who are newly graduated and covers the full tuition cost.

What is the salary after MS in the US?

The salary a master’s graduate can expect is much higher than the amount invested in studies. While a graduate with MS in Business can expect a base starting salary of $91,000, a student with a degree in Mathematics and Sciences can expect somewhere between $75,000 to $1,20,000.

Is an MS in the USA worth investing in for an Indian?

If a student has the resources to aid their studies in the USA, then investing in an MS in the USA is absolutely worth it. The high-quality education in the country and flourishing job opportunities after MS in the USA are the primary reasons that investing in the degree is worth it.

How do so many Indians afford to do an MS in the US?

Most Indians in the US afford to do an MS as there are a lot of scholarships and TA/RA/GA fellowships. Not just that, many universities have strong industry connections which help the students to get an internship, and the stipend earned through them is used by them to aid their studies.

How much does TOEFL cost in India?

The Test Of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a standard test that assesses the English proficiency of students willing to study in the USA, Canada, the UK, Australia, and New Zealand. To appear for the TOEFL examination, an Indian student has to pay $190.

Pratishtha Ghosh

A post graduate in Journalism and Mass Communication, Pratishtha enjoys penning down things significant. What interests her the most is exploring and researching on gamut of study abroad.

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