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THE USA: Subject Guides

Studying Computer Science in the USA

Computer science student

As the birthplace of Microsoft and Apple Inc, earning a degree in computer science in the USA can provide diverse experience. The USA has the innovation to create computer systems that have brought the world together through a screen. The continued progression makes a postgraduate degree in this subject an ideal tool for a steady career in the current economy. Hotcourses Abroad describes what it takes to earn a master’s of science in computer science (MS) in America.

Choosing to go to graduate school is a big decision, deciding on what to study is an even tougher choice and can make or break what happens after graduation.  U.S. News article ‘The best Jobs of 2012’ out of ten careers, five make the list that can be achieved with a master’s in computer science, making it a degree that’s hard to ignore. With 50 states to choose from, and a varied range of tuition costs, there’s no end to the possibilities of computer science study.  


Course overview

The beauty of a postgraduate degree in computer science is that it’s individualised to the student. Computer science covers a range of topics such as computer design, graphics, games, artificial intelligence and database networks to name a few. Most postgraduate degrees require a set number of credits to be earned in order to graduate, and the student has the choice of which courses to pursue the credit total. The options are endless and this type of degree provides the student with the flexibility to decide what specific area of computer science to have an ‘expertise’. Graduate assistantships may also be a part of the course or available through the computer science department and offer excellent experience within the professional academia.

Depending on the university and the course, a thesis may or may not be required. In some instances the student has the option to choose whether to take a master’s track with a thesis or without. Likewise, the student may also have the choice of a day or evening course schedule.


Duration and requirements

A postgraduate course in the USA varies by student and the degree course, although usually they are around 30 credit hours. A good standing bachelor’s degree is required with a GPA from 2.85 and up (on a 4.0 scale) depending on the university. A student visa is also required as well as relevant undergraduate computer science courses. A TOEFL exam or IELTS exam must be taken if English is not a first language and the results can’t be more than two years old. Letters of recommendation and a statement of purpose may also be required.


Cost and scholarships

The cost of the degree varies by state, be sure to check with the university of your choice for the exact details. Programs can cost anywhere from $7,000 to $30,000 per year. The USA has many unique cities and even more unique universities that tailor their courses to their best strengths. Scholarships and fellowships are available, usually directly through the university and are competitive. The criteria can range from test scores to an essay or based on the student’s need.


Related content:

'Study in the USA'

'Applying for US visa'

'Financing your studies in the USA'

Study in the USA


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