Thinking about going for MS in USA, Canada or Europe? You’re not alone. The idea of pursuing MS abroad is probably one of the most desirable goals among young Indians. Partially, the decision is out of a choice. However, quite often, the decision for going abroad for Masters is out of desperation.
If someone wants to study for a master’s degree at a top department or university, s/he is forced to look for foreign options. Barring a few top institutes, the quality of the masters program in India is not very encouraging. Considering the number of available seats at the top institutes in India, and the quality of foreign education, no wonder why so many Indian students aspiring to go abroad for higher studies.
Now comes the bigger question – which is the best destination for MS abroad? This article will help you to take a clear decision, as a comparative study between MS in USA vs MS in Canada vs MS in Europe has been discussed below with various notable aspects of the overseas education.
MS in USA vs MS in Canada vs MS in Europe
MS in USA – Eligibility, Costs, Scholarships, Jobs & Salaries
The US is the biggest market for overseas education. US has the presence of prestigious colleges like Princeton, Harvard, MIT, Stanford etc. As US is the hub for science and technology many students prefer doing MS in the US than in other countries. A 12-24 months course is a must in a US University, which could be thesis-based or non-thesis oriented.
For an international student, a 16-year education (4-year Bachelor’s degree) is mandatory in order to be eligible to pursue an MS degree in the US (a few exceptions are there). Additionally, a good GPA, GRE score and IELTS or TOEFL are also required by the university. Read How to Convert Indian CGPA and Percentage to 4.0-Scale GPA for US & Canada.
On average, the tuition fees for MS in USA will be about $15,000 – 60,000 per year (INR 10 – 30 Lacs) and the cost of living will cost about $10,000 – $15,000 (10 Lacs) per year.
Related Article: How to Study Masters Abroad for Free
Availability of Financial Aid & Scholarships for International Students
Expenses and tuition fees are very high in the US. But, there are many scholarships, student grants to avail from. The best place to start looking for scholarships is the university/department that you are applying to. Besides, there are external scholarship schemes as well. Read how to get scholarships to study in USA.
Quality of Education
The US is known for its quality of education. This is what makes USA the numero uno preferred destination for MS abroad, especially for the STEM fields. It’s a country where everyone gets enough opportunity to explore their possibilities to grow further in life.
The US is home to some of the most influential universities in the world. In 2018 QS & Times Higher Education world university rankings, almost 60 US universities featured in the Top 200 universities in the world. The US is by far the most popular destination for international students owing to its strong reputation for teaching, research, technology, innovation, and career opportunities.
Therefore, the admissions at the top universities in the US is cut-throat. The acceptance rates at the top US universities (Ivy League and Elite Schools) are around 5 – 7%. The figure is slightly encouraging for other universities, but it’s still very competitive.
The US has been the top attractant for foreign students for decades. The student community in the US is very multicultural, along with an excellent support mechanism for international students.
A majority of Fortune 500 companies are headquartered in the US, including the biggest tech companies like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Facebook etc. So, plenty of job opportunities are there for MS graduates in the US.
At the entry-level, an MS graduate can get a job with an annual salary of about USD 69,000 (INR 49 Lacs) to USD 90,000 (INR 60 Lacs) per annum. High paying jobs are usually available in the advertising, finance, IT, engineering, and management domains.
Work Permit and PR in the USA
The stay-back option for international students in the US is pretty good. In fact, it’s great for STEM students.
MS graduates can stay back in the US by getting temporary employment permission which allows a student to work there for 12 months (24 months for STEM graduates). Then the student has to apply for employment authorization documents so that the Visa can be extended further.
Permanent Residency is a long and slow process where the international student has to reside and work in the US at least for 5 – 10 years. A Green Card will be issued only after completing a certain period of time in the US.
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MS in Europe – Eligibility, Costs, Scholarships, Jobs & Salaries
Europe is the home to many prestigious universities like Cambridge, Oxford, Swiss Federal Institute, TU Munich which are ranked among the top 200 universities list in the world. The Master’s programs in Europe can take 18 to 24 months. However, one-year (9 – 12 months) Masters degrees are also very common in Europe.
To join any college in Europe for Master’s Degree, a student should have completed 15 years of under graduation education. A student should learn the concerned foreign language. for instance, to get a seat in a German-taught program, the student has to go through pre-requisite (B2/C1) in German Universities. IELTS or TOEFL is mandatory for European universities. Some universities also ask for GRE/GMAT score.
The cost of education differs from one country to another country. There are about 13 countries which have top universities in Europe. The cost of living in each country varies. On average, the tuition fee in European countries will cost around 12,600 EUR/year. Living costs will add up to an average of INR 6 – 9 Lacs per year.
Availability of Financial Aids to the Students
Though the tuition fees are comparatively less in Europe than compared to other countries, yet many financial aids are provided to the students. Availability of the scholarships differs from one country to other countries in Europe.
In Europe, many universities offer generous scholarships. However, full tuition fees scholarships are only for the meritorious & high-achieving students.
Few distinguished scholarships in European countries are Netherlands Fellowship Program (Netherlands), DAAD Scholarships with Relevance to Developing Countries (Germany), Eiffel Excellence Scholarship Programme (France), VLIR-UOS Scholarship Awards (Belgium), Swedish Institute Study Scholarships (Sweden), British Council and Commonwealth Scholarships (UK).
Quality of Education
As the European countries are the home for many top universities in the world, the quality of education provided here is quite very high than other universities. The quality of education is never compromised in any country. The education provided in European countries is more about research-based, which provides more practical knowledge than theoretical knowledge.
Though the European countries have a good educational background yet the unemployment issue is more than 50%, which means the availability of professionals is comparatively lesser in Europe. This shows the high demand for educated professionals in all the European countries.
The competition for getting jobs is stiff in Europe. However, for qualified and skilled candidates (technical & language), Europe is actually very welcoming.
Depending on the skills & job, fresh Master’s graduates can earn EUR 30,000 to EUR 40,000 per year.
Work Permit and PR in Europe
Acquiring a student permit is a quite easier task for a student. If a student gets a seat confirmation letter from the concerned university, a permit will be issued by the government for the entire duration of the course.
If a student wants to reside there in Europe, then the student has to become an EU national by getting the Permanent Residence Visa. A Permanent Residence Visa will be issued after residing for a continuous duration period of 5 years in Europe. Permanent residence documents are mandatory for residing in European countries.
MS in Canada – Eligibility, Costs, Scholarships, Jobs & Salaries
Canada, the most beautiful destination and also the fastest growing market for overseas education. The Canadian government had encouraged the education system in a broader context. There are about 98 universities in Canada which educate nearly about 1.8 million students annually. Both theoretical and practical experience is part of the Curriculum.
To join any University in Canada, an international student has to qualify IELTS or TOEFL and GRE/GMAT. Apart from the Common test, one should have proof of educational funding of the entire course in Canada.
Comparatively, Canada is considered to be the cheapest place to study Mater’s degree. The tuition fee and living expenses of an individual vary with the place they reside in and the university they opt. On average, the basic tuition fee in a Canadian college is about CAD$ 20,000 and average expenses of an individual are about CAD$ 10,800 for an entire year.
Availability of Financial Aids to the Students
Many Canadian Universities offer various financial aids like Student loans, Student grants, Educational savings, Scholarships and other Financial assistance to international students on the basis of their skill and talent. There are university-specific scholarships available to international students. Additionally, few scholarships funded directly by the government or external organizations such as International Research Linkages are funded by Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarships, Canada Asia-Pacific Awards (CAPA), Banting Postdoctoral Fellowship, Sauvé Scholars Program and many more.
Quality of Education
The Canadian government is very keen about the quality and quantity provided in the university. The quality of education in Canada is both thesis and non-thesis oriented, i.e. research and teaching oriented. Any student who wants to pursue a Master’s degree should complete 36 credit hours of classes in the college. Lesser than the 36 credits hours will be detained as per the university norms.
As soon as the MS degree is acquired, there are many job opportunities for students. There are many companies in Canada which are always in search of a Master’s graduate. Master degree holders can earn an average of CAD $ 50,000 to 65,000 annually at the entry-level.
Work Permit and PR in Canada
To study in Canada the student permit Visa is Mandatory. If the concerned course which you have applied for, has a duration lesser than 6 months than the Visa is not required.
To get a permit Visa a student should have the offer letter from the university and also the acceptance certificate from Government in some provisions of Canada.
To get settled or getting a permanent Residency Visa is not that difficult in Canada. There are 3 ways of getting a residence Visa like Express Entry System, Quebec Skilled worker Program (QSWP), Provincial Nominee Programs (PNPs), etc. for professionals. If any individual, manage to get a permanent or a secure job then, getting a PR by the Canadian government is quite very easy.
MS in USA vs MS in Europe
The curriculum at the American Universities and European Universities curriculum very much on par. Approximately 50 US universities and 90 European universities feature among the World Top 200 consistently every year. Both USA and Europe maintain a very research-oriented curriculum.
In the Times Higher Education (THE) World University Rankings, the UK as a whole was the most represented country with 72 universities in the top 200, compared with 27 from the US.
In the US, getting admission to the top universities depends on overall profile & holistic evaluation. In contrast, European universities put more emphasis on Bachelor grades, research experience, and technical skills. In the US, it’s hard to get a good university without an above average GRE score (read more than 320). But, it’s possible to get admitted into a good European university without a GRE score (or something around 305 in GRE).
Europe is far cheaper than American Universities. The Cost of Living is also higher in the US. Both countries provide many financial Aids to students who want to pursue their masters in their respective countries. However, US universities are more generous in terms of providing financial aid.
Job opportunities are equally the same in both the places but the pay scale is comparatively more in the than European countries. In the US, the average annual starting salary for US graduates is around USD $70,000 (INR 48 Lacs). In Europe, the figure is around EUR 35,000 (INR 28 Lacs).
In Europe, the knowledge of local language also plays an important role when it comes to getting jobs.
In the US, dependents of H1-B visa holders are not allowed to take up employment. In Europe, dependents can take up employment. Know more about the recent changes in H1-B visa rules (effective from April 2019).
MS in USA vs MS in Canada
Both the US and Canada are very good destinations to pursue Masters but there are few significant differences.
When it comes to world university rankings, the US universities clearly dominate. But, only 7 – 8 Canadian universities find a place in the World Top 200.
In the US, more often than not, you need to apply to the University or Department directly. In Canada, more often than not, you are supposed to contact a potential thesis supervisor before submitting an application to the University.
Expenses are 30 – 40% cheaper in Canada than the US. The cost of living is also lesser in Canada than compared to the US. However, you can earn 30 – 40% in the US.
Getting a PR is a bit easier in Canada while in the US it is a slightly lengthier process.
The job opportunities in Canada are more and bit secure than compared to the US market. US job market is bigger than the Canadian Job market.
MS in Canada vs MS in Europe
Europe has high standards of an educational backdrop than compared to Canada. Europe is a hub of top 200 universities which Canada is ranked among the top 300 – 500 universities in World.
Europe either provides free education or the costs are lesser than the costs of Canadian universities. The Living expenses are also comparatively lesser than the Canadian country.
In terms of financial aid & scholarships, European universities are more generous than Canadian counterparts.
Getting a job in a European county could be slightly difficult as the student has to go through the regional language barrier. In Canada, there is no language barrier.
Acquiring PR is also a little difficult in Europe. An individual has to wait for 5 long years to get a Permanent Residence Visa.
It’s not that I am trying to be diplomatic. But, choosing the right destination literally depends on your profile, budget, career goals, and personal priorities. Each and every country has got its own pros & cons. There is no best country for pursuing MS abroad. You need to figure out which is the right country for you.
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Acknowledgment: This article has been co-authored by Parinita Gupta, a Banking & Digital Marketing Professional.
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