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MS in Computer Science in USA as an international student

As more an more international and Indian students get attracted to MS in Computer Science degrees in the Mecca of technology (USA), the amount of curiosity also increases.

We wrote this post on what’s better after engineering – MS or MBA addressing a few aspects. But there are many more unanswered queries too.

What is the typical background of MS in CS applicants? How did they get into U.S. Masters programs?

How is life in the US in the class? How’s life after completing the MS program?

How easy is it to get a job after MS in US companies?

We thought it was best to have someone who’s gone through the Masters experience to shed some light. We invited Rahul to answer all these in a guest post.

MS in Computer Science in USA

Masters in US experiences as an international student
by Rahul Kotian

MS in Computer Science in USA

Profile in India before MS in US

Studying bachelors in Mumbai (BE in Information Technology); I always had my eyes for a MS in US. My sister who was doing her PhD from VCU was definitely one of the inspirations behind this.

But I still wasn’t sure by the last year of my Bachelors in Engineering whether I should pursue MS outside of India or not.

Several reasons kept me from taking a clear decision on this matter; the financial aspect, family aspect, the fact that you will be starting all over again. So I decided to work for a year and give myself some more time to decide on this.

Working in the software field gave me some first-hand experience of working in India and eventually I realized I can do better with advanced degree.

GRE Preparation & MS applications

Six months after I started working, I started to prepare for my GRE exam in India and gave the test a couple of months later.

I prepared for GRE on my own using the official guide and online resources. It was difficult to come after work and then prepare for the exam but I managed to get a decent score, not great score but good enough.

I did however take help for my application process and for short listing my colleges.

Expense was a major criterion for me in selecting the colleges. I had picked up some expensive colleges too thinking that I might get some scholarship based on my work experience.

Out of the 7 universities that I applied, I got 4 accepts. I did get some scholarship from my safe bet colleges, but then I got an admit from University of Texas at Dallas , which in my list was a good college because of its good academic standings, cost effective tuition fees and its proximity to big telecom companies like Cisco , Research in Motion , Ericsson, TI and many more.

The fact that Dallas weather is not too adverse also helped my decision making.

Experience in the Masters in CS class

Classes in US universities was a very different experience from back in India. Classes have a very informal feel to it and conversations are very open with the Professor. Don’t be surprised if you find that majority of graduate students are either from India or China with a few Americans sprinkled here and there.

Most of the universities will have an Indian Students Association (ISA) which helps incoming students with everything from accommodation to helping pick the right courses. ISA and other student organizations will be your family away from home and makes your stay more enjoyable.

One of the major advantages of doing MS from US is the opportunity to interact with students from all over the world; and I got ample opportunities to do that.

I have made friends from different parts of the world and also got to work on projects with them. This gave me a good understanding of different thought processes and got a glimpse of other cultures too.

Living in USA as an international MS student from India

Living in the US all by myself gave me a lot of confidence as here you have to take every single decision all by yourself – getting electricity connection, managing your expenses, doing groceries, doing your laundry etc will make you a lot responsible especially if you have not done this before in India.

Weekends were always fun (not when you have a deadline for assignments or a test coming up); everyone is high on the independence that they get from living all by themselves. Assignments and tests are usually done by doing night outs in the labs or libraries.

Getting internships was easier because of my job experience in India. I did get to intern at big companies like Motorola, Research in Motion (BlackBerry), and a couple of local companies.

This was a huge deal for me as I got to get the corporate experience as well as earn money to pay my tuition fees.

Life in USA after MS in Computer Science

I graduated in December 2008, not a great time to graduate because of recession. Most companies had a hiring freeze and it was even more difficult for foreign students to get a job as they would require visa sponsorship in the future.

I did some volunteer projects to maintain my proper visa status and kept hunting for jobs. Finally in April 2009 I got a job at a startup and it was a great learning experience.

I worked there for almost 3 years and then moved on to a more stable company (this company has a monopoly in Rewards Programming in the gas industry). I have learnt various new technologies on the way and it’s been an eventful journey so far.

At this point of my career I feel I am ready to get into a more managerial role and would want to do my MBA soon (most probably start in a year or two).

Tips and advice for international Masters degree applicants

Looking back I feel there were some things that if I had known before I would have taken some different decisions:

1. If you get admission in a reputed but expensive college and you have partial scholarship or even no scholarship; I would say go for it. I know for someone coming from a middle class background and taking a huge loan doesn’t seem like a good idea ; but my point is once you get a job you can repay that amount in a year or so easily. Getting a degree from a good college matters a lot, because even your compensation will be more compared to someone graduating from an average college.

2. When choosing courses take tough courses which will teach you a lot and not courses which will give you good grades but doesn’t add much to your knowledge. Remember these courses are expensive so make it worth your money. This might be difficult for some of us coming from Indian education system where we give more importance to grades than to education experience. You might get a lower grade but make sure to get your concepts right; you will understand the importance when you are giving interviews at big companies like Google, Microsoft etc.

3. Work for at least a year after graduating from your Bachelors; it gives you crucial experience based on which you can make your future decisions. Many people find out that they were not meant for this technical field and it’s better to do something else, like MBA or MIS. Others will find out if they like a particular branch more than others and decide to do specialization (MS or PhD) in that area.

4. MBA vs MS: Like I mentioned in the previous point, working after you graduate will help you in making this decision. If after working for a year you find that you enjoy working in technical field and you see yourself in this field in the next 5-10 years at least then go for MS. If you find out that you don’t like the technical field you are in and want to completely change the direction than go for MBA.

For those who seek help with information, we would recommend our article on Guide to an MS degree abroad.

After over a decade of post-MS experience, Rahul went on to get his MBA from UT Dallas.

Drop us an email if you’d like us to review your MS Statement of Purpose:
info at mbacrystalball dot com

Also read:
How I got into MS in Stanford University and rejected it

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

46 thoughts on “MS in Computer Science in USA as an international student”

  1. Dear Sameer, I have 7 years experience in IT and looking to pursue MS from USA. With this immense experience, is it really worth to go for MS? Will I be treated as fresher during job opportunities? Require suggestions from you on this.

    • Anand, if you love what you’ve been doing in the technical side and want to continue the journey, then an MS is a good option even after having experience.

      While others in the class would have much lesser experience than you, it doesn’t mean you’ll get the same opportunities/salary as they do. You can target more senior jobs in USA after completing your MS.

  2. Hi Sameer!

    I love the content that you have managed to put together on the site!

    I just wanted to know – do you know of any MiM programs in U.S.A? Most of them are offered by Universities in Europe and Australia.

    I have applied to a few MiM programs in Australia – the idea is to study for two years and work for two more years, thereby gaining experience and making some money before I have to come back here. Hopefully it will work out okay.

    Thanks for your time 🙂

  3. hello,

    I am an automotive engineering graduate , I gt accepted for masters in international buisness 1 year program in france (ranked 22 in ft ranking 2014).I ve also been called for interview in ifim banglore for mba.i hv very limited wrk exp.
    wats ur thoghts on this?

    • Even if the program is ranked well, keep in mind the following:
      – you are going into a region that’s culturally very different from the one you’ve studied in
      – you’ll have no experience in the real world
      – I assume you have no knowledge of French either.

      Tread with caution!

  4. Dear Sameer,

    I am going to study post graduate diploma in management from the university of California riverside(USA). I hold a BBA degree from India. I wanted to ask you that pgdm is better or masters in international business ( I have a choice to do MIB from university of Auckland). Which degree from these universities will be more valuable for getting a job in India after I come back? Please kindly guide me.

    Thanking you,
    Noel Tshering.

    • The value of most degrees is very limited the minute you take it out of the country where you’ve obtained it.

      Rather than keeping India jobs as your Plan A, you will get a better RoI if you manage to get a job in USA or Australia (depending on the option you take up).

  5. Hi Sameer ,

    I need your help man .

    I am currently working with 1.5 yrs of Experience . I am Bachelor of Technology in Mechanical . I got a call from Hult for Masters in Marketing which is a 1 yr program. Please suggest will it help me if I pursue and take this course and moreover is the market responding to the this particular course ? Can I compare to the level of MBA degree in India. Just want to make sure will I get a good job in management area.
    and how good is HULT as an institute according you .
    Please help me

    Awaiting for your response on same.


    • Look around the internet for reviews about the program, you’ll get your answer.

      Btw, other Masters (like MS, MiM, MPhil etc) are not alternatives for the regular MBA program. They attract different demographics.

  6. Hi..

    I have 5 yrs of IT experience in India. Now I am planning for GRE. Can any one please guide me?

    If any one who has good material can you please share those with me?


  7. Hi,

    I have 5 yrs of IT technical experience and i have completed B.Sc.I.T. So can I go for MS in US or UK..??
    For MS only GRE score is mandatory or GMAT is also accepted..??

    Can u please provide good colleges in UK or US??

    Thanks in advance


    • Manoj, with 5 years of experience, MS would ideally be an underkill. You will be shortselling yourself. MS is more apt for those with 0-2 years of experience. There might be a few specialized courses which you may research on further such as the MS in Analytics at IE, Spain. Not a lot of options for MS in general though for your experience bracket.

  8. Hi sameer,
    I have done my engg in IT from India and worked in Accenture for 3 years.Post this I have done my MBA and worked as business analyst for 2 years in an mnc again.Now I will be going to the USA in h4 and want to pursue education there.But confused as to what will add value to me ….ms\ MBA or PhD.Please guide

    • Mansi, MS won’t make sense given your experience and prior MBA. PhD is a big commitment and usually means more of a research career (though this depends on your field). A second MBA might be a good idea to explore.

  9. Hi Sameer,

    I have around 4.5 years of experience of application development and maintenance from CMM Level 5 companies. Since last 2-3 years, I have developed a set of interest in database and I want to grow further in the same field. Because of the mentioned reason I am planning to pursue MS in Computer Science with specialization in Database from USA. Will this step be worthy for my career. And does my experience will help me to fetch job in USA or will I be treated as a fresher post the completion of MS.

    Looking forward for your suggestion.

    Thanks & Regards

  10. hey sameer i am from 1st year student from iit and my branch is cse ,i want do ms in usa after doing 1 or 2 year job ,plz gide me what should i do from now or maybe after 2 years

  11. hey , i am an IT student . my interest is basically in the research field. what do you think would be best for me? ph d, Ms, or MBA? i am very eager to go out there. and plz tell me the exams to which i have to clear! 🙂

  12. what if graduated from a tyre 3 and tyre 4 universities in MS IN CS when compared to North eastern university, University of texas dallas.

  13. Sir
    1st of all i wld like to appreciate you for your time and dedication for writing this post

    I wish to peruse MS in US
    i would be going on a educational loan
    So it is extremely important that i get a Job in US after my MS program

    So What are the Chances for Indian Students getting a job in US..?

    Is it east to get a job in US…?

    Thanking you and awaiting for your response

  14. Hi ,
    I have done my bcom(hons) finance from India and 1 year NIIT Course in information technology and now i want to pursue ms in cs from usa

    Will i be considered , will i be accepted by the universities .if yes then which university

    Will i be able to get a job later on.

    Thank you

  15. Hello Sir,
    Your Post gives a very good and clear information I personally Thank you for writting such a good blog and I understand and appreciate the time spent.
    Please try to analyze my profile
    myself i work for a start up company in india and i am planning to do ms in cs and my questions are
    will my startup experience count??? and i have certificate from famous institute in bangalore where i pursued my it courses and to add upon I myself am building a personal project which i a website/portal application type project !!!

  16. hello,
    i have completed my bachelors degree in information technology(Bsc IT), this is
    a 3 years bachelors program. i am pursuing my first year in masters(Msc it) to
    complete my 16 years of education to be eligible for admission.
    i dont have any work experience in India ,will i get a good job in u.s after completing my
    MS in CS program?
    please guide

    Thank You.

  17. I gave GMAT this year and scored 730. I have 1 yr experience in IT but mostly bench 🙁 . I am looking foward to MS Finance, MS Business Analytics and MBA. What will be the best fit for me. From what i have searched equity research is a field that excites me. Location is not a constraint for me be it India or abroad. What will be your suggestion? What should i go for?

  18. Hello Sameer,
    Its really nice of you sharing much valuable information and experiences here.Thanks a lot for that.

    secondly, I have a question regarding MS, I have B.Tech in electronics and communication. Currently i am working in Networking domain from 13 months, now i am looking forward to take my carrier to new heights. I want to do MS and after that want to work in US in the same field. Finance is not a really big problem for me but job opportunities after MS is more of a concern for me. What do you suggest me , Is it worth to go and peruse MS if my goal is getting a good job there at the end. ?? What are the essential points that i should be considering before i go for it ??

    Again thanks in advance for giving your time and wisdom to help us.

  19. Hi Sameer,

    I graduated in Btech (Computer Science) in 2014. I missed my GRE due to my fathers sudden demise. As my family was not stable, I have to get into a quick job and right now I am still working for an MNC but into IT Operations. I didn’t get a job in my core technical or into development as I did not invest time in them. Now I almost have an year of experience, but still have a dream of Pursuing MS in US. I need some suggestions on how to approach the idea of getting there and working there. Need some guidance to sustain in the US market and lead there. Also please advice me on how I can get a financial aid from colleges as well as banks in India.

  20. Hi Sameer,

    I like the basic idea,layout and the content of your site.It’s really very informative and helpful.

    Well, I would require your valuable insight into my situation.

    I am a professional with 10+ years experience in Supply Chain, Strategic Sourcing and Management consultancy areas.I have BE and MBA degrees,both from different Indian universities.My BE degree is in Industrial Engineering.

    Although my primary field of work has been in the areas of Supply Chain Management, however there are many activities /responsibilities which coincide with the basic idea and responsibilities of ”Industrial Engineering”. This,alongwith the desire to try out opportunities in USA, I wish to upgrade myself further by doing an MS in Industrial Engg (or any other relevant field) from any US University.

    I would need your valuable opinion on the situation as cited by me. Do I stand a chance to get a visa for doing an MS at any US university and also get a job after completion of the course? As I already have a Masters (MBA),will that pose as a deterrent in getting a student visa or a H1B visa afterwards? Does it make any sense to do Masters by coursework (in areas like Supply Chain or General Management)?

    Also,how would be scenario in terms of getting scholarships/stipends in case I get through the admission for an MS degree?

    Too many questions,as you can see. That’s mainly because of the level of confusion I have at this point of time!

    Would look forward to your valuable input on this..


    Sourav Chakraborty

  21. Hi Sameer,

    I have a Diploma degree in Computer Networking and BTech in IT, I am currently working in IBM for past 2 years as System Engineer. My GPA 8.03/0, GRE score 305.5 and TOEFL 95/120. All top universities are demanding for higher GRE score, If I apply for good universities which demand for higher GRE will they consider my application for my profile or will they straight away reject it?

  22. Hi Sameer,

    I am working with reputed IT Product based company for 2+ yrs as Software Tester and now studying for GRE. I would like to know what is the current IT Industry recruitment status in USA? IS it good for International students, specially Indian students to take such huge educational loan for MS in current USA IT situation? How much risk is involved doing MS in USA?

    Kindly guide me & share your thoughts.

    Jayant G.

  23. hello sir this is sainihar and im an enginnering student. im unable to decide which is best i mean the MS or MBA and then after job. if i move to MS in US after my completion of MS then which side i have to move on either procedural or non-procedural side…….plzz get me out of this confusion…..

  24. Hi Sameer,

    I am currently doing B.E. in Computer Engineering from Gujarat Technological University(GTU). I have done diploma in the same. I am currently in 3rd sem of degree. So, I’ve time to prepare for doing MS in USA as I’ve 2.5 years to complete my B.E.. I’m interested in networking and going for CISCO Certifications as well. So, please give me some advice on how to prepare for this 2.5 years and then get into MS in USA.

  25. Dear sir,
    My son has MS mechanical engineering degree from Arizona university.Since he had exposure in doing research projects using coding ,he got interested in computers and got into I T job and worked for 2years. Due to his company acquisition,he was laid off.He feels that this is the correct time to gain more knowledge in computer science and wants to do another MS in computer science.will he get admission into MS computer science since he is from mechanical background.will his experience in computer science help him in getting admit for MS computer science.what colleges should he try
    Thanking you

  26. Hai sameer , i really like your post and it is useful for me.I have one query.I am doing my B.E in sastra university .Its my 3 rd year right now.My life time dream is to do ms(computer science)in usa.But as per finacial aspect ,i am coming from middle class family.
    1…If i got chance to do it, is it worth it to do by taking loans and can i repay it back?
    2…Doing ms in usa without work experience is that is a good idea r not?
    3…please help me out. I got confused

  27. Hi Sameer,

    i really appreciate your answers to so many people coming from different domains on this forum. If you dont mind even i would like to seek your advice upon one quandary in which presently i am struk in. I am a dentist by qualification and i passed out last year. Owing to the fact that many private dental colleges have opened up in the last decade in our country, there is a lot of saturation in this field, so i dont think investing 40 lakhs and 3 years for specialisation in this profile would be a wise decision. Instead i am thinking to apply for masters in health administration (MHA) or masters in health informatics in USA for fall 2016 session. presently i am working with an MNC which has 7 treatment centres in California and florida and i got an enriching knowledge about US healthcare in my organisation. now the problem is that if i go for MHA, then firstly neither it is a techncal course nor it will equip me with any sort of skill set of which there would be any shortage in US and i think this will diminish my chances of securing h1b after i completing my course. on the other hand, if i go for MS in health informatics it is more of a technical field. Do you opting health informatics over MHA with my profile would be a good idea. Please do share your inputs. any perspective would be much appreciated.


  28. hello sir,

    myself himanshu nandan studying b-tech in 2nd year and will be graduate in 2018. My query is this that can I go for the USA for MS in Cs just after completing my b-tech in 2018 or i must go to some job experience in IT sector. And from Which Exam will I Qualify For Admission in USA .

    Please Give me Suggestion

  29. Hello Sir,
    I am currently in b-tech 3rd year and have been placed at a package of 25 lac and i have also got a good score(322) in GRE.
    i am sure to stay in cs field so should i go for a masters in a good us university or opt for the job ?

  30. Hi,

    I have 5+ years of experience in Software Development & I am willing to do my MS as I have got a good GRE & TOFEL score. So I would like to have a overview how will my experience impact my career after doing MS in US. What type of Positions or designations will be after doing MS in CS.

  31. Hi Sameer,

    Myself Subu from Chennai.I did my Masters in Engineering(CSE) and I have 4.5 years of teaching experience in an Engineering college.Now I wish to do M.S in USA.I got GRE score of 298 and tofel score of 74. I have very good profile with 10 international research publications & 5 life time research memberships.Could you plz suggest me some good universities which are open to good profile rather than GRE score with good scholorship.

    Thank u

  32. Hai sir I have completed my undergraduate study in civil engineering now I am planning to study MS in CS in US is it worthable to do so or my undergraduate degree will influence any differences in software field?

  33. Hii,
    My name is abhishek modi ,i have a 2 years experience in QA(Automation and manual Testing).I want to apply for MS in CS.Will LOR from my manager help me to get into decent uni.??


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