MS in US cost in Indian Rupees | Masters in USA

While an education abroad isn’t cheap for middle-class students from India, there are certain international degrees that are cheaper than the others. For instance, if you are thinking of applying for a post-graduate Masters degree abroad (e.g. MBA / MS), the costs of an MS in USA are significantly cheaper than the cost of a top MBA in USA.

However, this is only in relative terms. You need to be aware of the various cost components that make up the total expenses of a Master of Science (MS degree). It can burn a hole in your pocket. If you plan well, you can limit the damages to the pocket and not end up burning the whole shirt [behold the power of graphic visualisation!].

While MS degrees are offered by universities across the world, for the sake of keeping it simple, we’ll only focus on the most popular MS destination for Indians.

The other thing we’ll do, given the diversity of MS courses on offer, is to generalise. We’ll use broad ranges and averages rather than accurately track the costs (which are ever changing every single day, thanks to the wildly fluctuating INR vs USD foreign exchange rates).

 

How much does an MS in USA cost in Indian Rupees and USD

We’ll take up the various expenses as they start appearing on your bank statements.

 

MS Entrance Exam Costs

You’ll need a GRE score, the primary requirement for MS applications. As on the day of writing this post, it costs $190 (11,400 Rupees). Read more about the GRE exam in India, GRE pattern / syllabus, GRE prep study plan.

You’ll also need the TOEFL score. The TOEFL fee in India is $170 (or 9,900 Rupees). Read more about the TOEFL IBT test format and preparation. There are additional costs (from $20 – $160 each) for late registration, rescheduling, sectional reviews, reinstating cancelled scores.

We’re skipping those overheads, assuming you plan and execute the MS entrance exams well.

 

MS Application fees

The average application fee for many of the top MS programs in the USA is $75 (4,500 Rupees). [Source: US News]

Additionally, if you haven’t planned your target MS colleges well and included them during the GRE exam (you are allowed 4 free universities) you have to pay $27 (INR 1,620) to send the score to each additional Masters university. Check the official site for the latest fee.

Similarly, TOEFL allows 4 free universities. The fee for sending your TOEFL score to additional MS universities is $19 (1,140 Rupees). Check their site for the latest fee.

Assuming, you are sending 10 MS applications, at an average application fee of $121 [$75 + $27 + $19] per MS university, you are staring at a total expense of $1,210 [Rupees 72,600]

While most universities have moved to online applications, let’s also factor in the additional expenses to send postal packets with your transcripts, financial statements (bank) and other documents. Let’s cap this at around 10,000 rupees.

Your F1 visa / SEVIS fee would add another $500 (30,000 Rupees). Read more about F1 visa requirements.

We’ve touched Rupees 1.1 Lakh already. And we haven’t even got into the plane yet.

Which brings us to the next major cost component.

 

Student Airfare Costs

A return ticket would be cheaper than a one way ticket. Also, applying earlier can get you good discounts from many airlines. This can range from 60,000 to 1 lakh rupees.

We’ll take the middle ground here and assume 80,000 for airfare.

 

MS Tuition Costs in USA

The big one! Unlike programs like MBA where you pay a fixed fee for the whole course, MS programs in USA charge a fee based on the credit hours.

Typically, you’d be expected to complete around 36 credit hours. The fee per credit hours depends on whether it’s a public school (funded by the state) or private school (more freedom and bigger need to fleece).

It will also depend how if you’ve got an MS scholarship or graduate assistantship, in which case the savings can be enormous.

Without any financial aid, the fee for MS programs in the US ranges from $10,000 to $80,000 (6 – 48 Lakh Rupees) for the 2 years. A top grade university like CMU would fall in the higher range.

Let’s take the middle ground again and assume that the average is close to $45,000 (27 lakh rupees).

 

Cost of living for MS students

If you are still recovering from that earlier blow, we aren’t done yet. Once you arrive in the land of dreams, there are other activities that you’d get involved in which cost money. Like living (rental costs), eating (if you’ve read the newspapers, the days of surviving on Maggi are gone), drinking (your phoren classmates won’t appreciate your home-made nimbu paani).

For shared rentals and a modest lifestyle, let’s assume that the cost of living in USA for MS students is roughly $1000 a month. Over two years, that adds up to $24,000 (INR 14.4 lakhs).

 

MS in US Costs that we haven’t considered

Opportunity cost for MS students

This is a notional (not real) cost of not having an income for those 2 years that you’ll be spending in the classroom. For students who join an MS program after a few years of experience, this can be a considerable amount. But many join MS colleges immediately after engineering (B Tech, B.E). At junior levels, the salary isn’t much. As we’ve done with many other parameters that increase the complexity of arriving at a number, we’ll skip one too.

Test prep and Admissions Counselling cost

These aren’t simple expenses like the ones we listed earlier. The ambitious ones take up GRE preparation classes and hire MS admissions counsellors hoping to see some returns – like a higher chance of getting an admit and scholarship.

These are optional in nature and not all MS applicants would incur them. So, we decided to skip them.

We’ve also not considered your student income over the two years (like MS internships) which can reduce the overall costs of attending an American MS university.
 

Total cost of Masters degree | MS in U.S. Universities

Here’s the simple table we created to collate all the expenses. Read about the detailed cost breakup by unlocking the content below.
 


 

All in all, with all the individual expenses that we’ve covered (and ignored), the average cost of an MS in USA for international students would be around $70,000.

In Indian rupees, assuming an exchange rate of 60 Rs/$, the total average MS in US cost over two years is close to 43 lakh rupees.

That’s around half of what you’d see MBA students in USA shelling out. Of course, the post MS salaries aren’t the same as MBA salaries. But you win some and lose some depending on the choices you make.

Despite the big numbers you see here, it is not uncommon to see well-prepared Indian and international students like Anamika Agarwal who get into good MS universities in USA with full-scholarships and graduate with minimal (if not zero) debt.

If you are applying to MS programs in USA and need some formal counselling, drop us an email [info at mbacrystalball dot com] and we’ll hook you up with a solid mentor to guide you through the journey.

Read this related post:
When Indian banks reject your Masters abroad study loan
How to choose an International Student Loan

 

Source: US News, Other university / MS sites


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MBA Crystal Ball provides professional Admissions Consulting services. Hire us to improve your chances of getting into the top international universities. Email: info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com

Sameer Kamat //
Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Connect with me on Google+ | Twitter | Facebook | Linkedin

34 Comments

  1. ANAMIKA says:

    I have a predicament… I have long aspired for higher education, but due to one or the other reason I was never able to take it up seriously.

    I have now completed 10 years in the software development domain and am at a point of saturation. I have been a team lead for the last 2 years and led close to 10 people.
    Sorry, I am not writing in a resume, but I am kind of lost as to what should be my next step.

    I am checking out the MS programs but the more I read the more I am worried that is my long work experience going to be a deterrant?
    Are there any suitable courses for me?

    I am not considering an MBA since I do not want to work purely as a manager and dont want to detach myself from the IT domain completely.

  2. Sameer Kamat says:

    Anamika,

    While a majority of applicants taking up MS degrees tend to be younger and have lesser experience, there’s no real reason why you can’t go for it if you’ve decided to stick to the field you are in.

    The big challenge you’ll face would be at the time of placements, when employers recruiting on campus would come looking for junior professionals.

    But that doesn’t mean they’ll ignore you for the experience. In fact, if you can get a space on the discussion table and highlight the higher level of expertise you bring with you, they might be able to offer you more lucrative roles.

    And you can still tap into all the incentives MS students get – like the extended OPT tenure for STEM students.

    • ANAMIKA says:

      Thanks Sameer.

      Are there any courses suitable for people like me, who have more work experience?

      • Sameer Kamat says:

        The mainstream degrees would take you into the realm of MBA and PhD and I assume neither of those would interest you.

        Most of the courses for senior professionals are more focused and part-time / shorter in nature. You’ll find a wide range to choose from as everyone from universities to private companies offer them.

        Rather than degrees they offer certificates and aren’t very selective, so the market value changes accordingly.

      • Ram says:

        Anamika,

        I’m going through a similar phase in my career. I’m 31 years old with close to 9 years of work experience in IT under my belt. I have a passion for programming and I really would like to go back to school and study. At the same time, I’m worried about tuition fee and future job prospects. Just wondering, did you decide to go study?

  3. Hari says:

    There IS one area where doing a Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics (STEM) focused General/Specialist Master’s Degree in the in the US has a specific and MAJOR advantage over doing an MBA.

    If your University / College’s Graduate Program (Masters) in the US is LISTED under the US Government’s STEM-Designated Degree Program list, you are eligible to seek a 17 month extension in the US post your graduation & 12 month CPT/OPT period.

    A Normal 2 year Masters Degree in the US (including an MBA) offers the opportunity to work in the US for a total of 12 months. This is normally used up by a 2-3 month internship, while the rest is completed after Graduation. In a situation where the company is reluctant to sponsor & apply for an (already quota limited) H1-B visa, this short OPT period is often a big stumbling block for companies seeking talent.

    However, if your University/College is a STEM approved program / institute, you can apply for a 17 month extension to the 12 month OPT period. This means even with a 2-3 month internship, you can apply for and get >2 year work-authorization in the US. This period is enough for your employer to strongly sponsor either a Visa extension (H1-B) or Residence in the US. >2 Years is also a good length of time for US Multinationals to recruit, train and prepare a globally mobile talent base, of which you can be part…..

    Check this: http://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/17-month-opt-stem-extension

    Not only is this fortuitous, it’s also a HUGE indication that STEM educated professionals are seen as critical by the US Government and US companies, therefore helped with Policy. It’s also a nice little wake-up for those who were undecided between MBAs and MS programs.

    MBA Programs are NOT eligible for this extension.

    IF you are thinking about MS Programs with a healthy dose of Business & STEM, think of programs like: Engineering Management, Industrial Engineering, Decision Sciences and Analytics, Computational Finance, Financial Engineering, Management Science, Engineering Systems etc; all of which are part of the STEM listed programs / degrees / courses – therefore eligible for the extension. If you look at these, you will study BASIC versions of ALL these courses in your MBA. However, the MS in a STEM field offers deeper / more penetrative knowledge & skills that employers will continue to place high value on. Secondly – an MS Graduate in Computer Science (with management courses and some work-ex) stands just as good a chance with a company (like Microsoft for example) to get a job that an MBA will apply for. Career opportunities are just as good.

    Think – if you like technology, operations, supply chain, computing, mathematics – why not a STEM degree (with some management courses)?

    All the best

  4. Sameer Kamat says:

    Thanks for pitching in, Hari saar.

    It’s been a while since we published your earlier posts on MCB. If your work-schedule permits you to write on other topics, your fans (including me) would be thrilled.

    • Hari says:

      Sameer Saar! Yes, it’s been a crunchingly busy time the last couple of years, but I will come back with posts soon. My long promised post (long enough for you to have to split :-)) on Operations/Supply Chain careers post will come, hopefully soon…. Just need a 6-8 hour period undisturbed to myself, both to write and fight writer’s block….. Also have some other ideas (e.g. Finance simplified Hari-Puttar ishtyle)…..

    • ayush says:

      Does a Master in Finance also a STEM course??
      You have said that Masters in Decision Sciences and Analytics, Computational Finance, Financial Engineering, Management Science are STEM courses but I couldn’t find them in the official list. http://www.ice.gov/sites/default/files/documents/Document/2014/stem-list.pdf

      I have done B.Com(Pass). For what STEM courses I can be eligible??
      I have to do a 1-year regular course to complete 16 years of education.Which course would you suggest that will open more options to me for a Masters degree in STEM??

      Thanks a lot.

  5. Preksha Prasanna says:

    hi,I am interested in higher studies and i want to do MS.I am in 7th sem,BE,Industrial engg and management.I would like to go to the same field i.e management.are there any management subjects in MS..what should be my GRE score.please respond and thank u :)

  6. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Preksha: The management subjects in MS programs (which are primarily technical in nature) would only scratch the surface. They won’t be comparable to an MBA.

    Higher the GRE score, the better it will be. Why aim for anything lower than the maximum possible score?

  7. akshay says:

    Hi,

    Regarding the costs, I saw websites of US universities, and wanted to ask that whether the Cost estimates given on the websites are more than what is actually required for Tuition + Living for an Indian student in the US.

    For example below is the cost of MS at University of California Santa Cruz

    2015-16 GRADUATE STUDENT BUDGETS – FALL, WINTER AND SPRING TERMS

    Tuition and Fees $13,308

    Room and Board $16,695

    Books and Supplies $1,524

    Transportation $1,668

    Personal Expenses $2,877

    Campus Health Insurance $3,942

    Non-Resident Tuition $15,102

    Total Non-California Resident Budget $55,116

    Please tell how much inflated is this cost? And what is the actual estimate of expenses for an Indian student going for MS CS in the above university.

  8. Sameer Kamat says:

    @Akshay: The good and bad thing about estimates is precisely that…they are estimates.

    It would be incorrect (and dangerous) to plan your budget based purely on data published on websites.

    For instance, consider the US university website. They’ll talk about generalised estimates that can be used by applicants from across the world.

    The air-fare of $1,668 listed on the university site cannot be applicable for folks travelling from Canada, South Africa, Japan and India. However, universities can’t get to that level of detail.

    For every other expense head, similar uncertainties exist – due to exchange rates, seasonality, university location and many other aspects.

    – Use data from the university website as a starting point (that would be more relevant compared to general sites like MBA Crystal Ball) and create your own personalised list of expenses (to include additional expense heads).

    – Talk to current students from India to know how accurate the university estimates are.

    – Add a buffer to it, so that any minor (and major) fluctuations later on don’t mess up your finances.

  9. Shorya says:

    Hello sir, i m shorya Gupta.IN 2016 I will complete my btech(CS).Now i m planning to do MS from US,so i want to know-
    1) How hard is MS in CS for an average person.
    2) Is job experience required for getting admit in US universities for MS programs.
    3) How hard it is to get job for an Indian student

  10. sathwika gowda says:

    I am in 2nd year cs engineering i have plans of doing my MS in abroad. How much will it cost in whole of MS and what is the eligibality for writing GMAT. Please let me know what is right time to start preparation for gmat.

  11. Ashwin says:

    It is good, doing an MS after B.tech. Many are saying work for few year and then go for MS.

  12. Jessie says:

    I am going to complete my B.E in industrial. I want to do M.S. US can I do that. Will i able to get job there after completing my graduate program. How much will cost me?

  13. Piyush goswami says:

    Ive done vid my btech (ECE) and iam from 2014 batch…. Iam looking for Ms in USA, so what will b ur guidance to mee.. As im right now working in a company which are security system manufacturers. As alwys der is a budget issue for planning Ms in USA im gaining some experience from.ds company. Will ds b benefitted for me as far as money is concerned or budget of university…?

  14. Jacob Paul says:

    Hello Sameer ,

    Im done with the graduation in in 2014 B.com Regulars and i intend to go to US to complete my Masters , I also do have experience working as a Tech support for IBM for a period 9 months and now presently i work as a Research Associate for a research & market solutions profile company , Its been 10 months now with the present role and company . Would you be able to suggest me for better for opportunities with courses and career!

  15. Mahendra govind Chauhan says:

    Very good site and your information

  16. rajni saini says:

    Plz tell us full fees of MS college in USA

  17. lav kumar says:

    Sir
    My daughter is doing her MS in computer science can she visit for a week to india to celebrate her borther’s wedding in April 2016, her second semester has started, will she be permitted to visit.

  18. Sankalp says:

    Hello ,I have completed civil engineering in 2013 now working as an civil engineer ,now thinking of to do ms in construction management ,however funding is big issue for me ,so what’s yours suggestion?

  19. Shubham says:

    I currently have a Year down or a gap as many would say,after 2 years of BE. I got 2 years left. Can I think of doing MS in US after my degree. Is it possible that I’ll get any university if I have an aggregate of 60% all years?

  20. shankar hegde says:

    Hello,
    my daughter is working in an architectural firm from last one year after completing her B Arch degree in a college in Karnataka.She wants to join Masters in landscape in one of the U S colleges. Funding is an issue. What is the cost of completing 2 years masters in U S ? Whether GRE or TOFIL is necesary ? Please guide me sir,

  21. Aadish Chopra says:

    I received admission letters from the following universities in MIS(Management Information Systems) for fall 2016
    UIC
    Iowa State university
    Oklahoma State university
    IIT,Chicago
    From here on WHAT factors should i keep in mind to choose the right university ?

  22. sarabesh says:

    hi,

    i am a be cse student from a velammal eng college,chennai,..which is not very greater,..like iits,..;;
    i wish to do ms in us or uk with scholarships,..after seeing the fess structure of my courses in university websites,..i just had the feeling that i must drop this idea,..and settle with job in some local it companies,via placements,..what do you think?..pls mail me,..n.r.sarabesh@gmail.com

  23. shrinivasa says:

    There is no chance to doing ms in USA when we leave the GRE and ielts exams.

    Pls help me am really confused . but am interested to studying ms in USA . and money problem is there . pls help me I am a poor person

  24. Nivash says:

    Hello Sameer,

    I have now completed 7 years in the teaching domain in Embedded systems and am at a point of saturation. I have been a assistant professor for (B.E and Masters) the last 7 years, but I am kind of lost as to what should be my next step.

    I am checking out the MS or MBA- ONE YEAR programs but the more I read the more I am worried that is my long work experience going to be a deterrant?

    Are there any suitable courses for me?

    Helpme to sortout.

  25. Alok says:

    Hi, I’ve completed MCA from Pune University, now working as Software Engineer in Pune & now planning for higher studies, I’m little bit confused whether to do Phd, or MS in Software System. What you all think that what option should I select.

  26. Ajay Mitkari says:

    Hi sir, I have done graduation in Bsc comp. sci (3 year degree) and after that done PGPM in Marketing (2 year full time course from non AICTI approved collage) in 2014. Now I am working with reputed bank in finance department from 1.6 years and I am planning for MS in Finance so is it suitable for me or not??

    Pls help

  27. pirahana says:

    Hi,
    I have 3 years of experience in IT.My GRE score in 313(Q-165,V148,AWA-3.5) .Kindly suggest some good colleges for MS in CS or MIS/BA.

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