Cost of MS in the USA

Master’s education in the USA is a huge step for many of us- professionally and financially. So It’s always good to have an estimate of how much it would cost at each and every step of the application process, which will help us plan better.

What’s the cost of Tuition Fee for a Master’s program?

This is a very common question and can be compared to questions like, what’s the cost of buying a good car? It really depends on what you are aiming for- Brand of the car? Performance? Mileage? Maintenance?…. Sorry about going off track but I’m just trying to give you an idea. 

Short answer is, the average total cost of education would be around Rs 45,00,000/- or around $60,000 inclusive of living expenses (but that’s like taking an average of all cars in the market). In reality, it could be anywhere between $10,000-$70,000+ or 7 Lakhs to 50+ Lakhs. 

Costs vary as per-

University –  Whether it’s private or public. Public and State Universities are usually cheaper than private ones, but not always. The USA has many Public and State universities for all kinds of student profiles (which are not talked about on popular forums) but it doesn’t mean all of them are good. You need to be careful in picking the right ones. 

Location– Universities in cities cost more than the ones in Towns. Living expenses are also low in towns (except for towns in Northeast America, everything is expensive there). Actually, many well ranked universities are in “University Towns” like Purdue, Texas A&M College Station, Cornell etc..

Brand and Rankings– Generally, the costs of studying in an Ivy league school and other top ranked schools are pretty high. It’s like buying a Volvo car is nice, you can’t go wrong with it, but the majority can’t afford it. It doesn’t mean you cannot buy a car that serves the purpose it’s built for. 

  Similarly, it doesn’t mean only branded universities provide quality education  and outcome. Many universities have top notch faculty, a well- structured curriculum, good labs, and hey … decent basketball players too 😉 ( Ray Allen is from University of Connecticut). 

Length of the course– Length of master’s courses vary from 9 months to 24 months. You can finish some courses within 18 months. By finishing early, you can save upon living expenses. Tuition fee is  dependent on the number of credits you need to finish the course and not on duration.

Other Variables  (which unfortunately you don’t get in cars 😛 )- 

Variables such as Scholarships, Assistantships, part time jobs etc.. reduce the cost of education drastically. These are dependent upon your profile and the work you have done so far..


As far as tuition fee is considered, it really depends on how much your budget is. It’s good to have a budget in mind (and maybe discuss it with your sponsors) to help you choose which universities you want to apply to, because the USA has a wide range of universities to choose from based on your budget. Good quality master’s programs need not always be expensive

Other Expenses- 

Cost of Tests-   GRE and IELTS exam fee–  GRE ($213*74.62= INR 15,900/-) and IELTS (INR 14700). 

Application Process: Let’s assume you’re applying to 7 Universities. 

University Score Reporting- GRE Score reporting– To report your GRE score for every university electronically, you need to pay $27. So that’s $27*  74.62 * 7= 14,100/-.

However, on your GRE exam day (at the end of your test), you can send your scores to 4 universities for free. So you can save about $27*74.62*4 = Rs 8050/- . You can decide this based upon your Average GRE scores in Mock tests. However, a little professional guidance might help you hit the right target. 

IELTS Score reporting- 

To some universities you can report for free, some charge Rs 250, and others charge Rs 1250. I’ll take an average of Rs 500 and times 7 is 3500/-. 

University Application Fee – 

This fee varies from $0 to $100/120. Let’s take a safe estimate of about $80. So the total cost would be approximately $80*7*74.62 = 41,800 /-

Visa Fees- Once you get your admits, you need to pay a

Visa fee-$350 = Rs 26,117/-

So the total cost for Test Reporting, Applications, and up until Visa would be around- INR 1,00,000/- ($1300-$1400).



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