The USA is a dream destination for international students. Degrees offered by American universities and colleges are renowned worldwide and attract students even if the duration of the studies can be longer when compared to courses from European countries.
Graduating a Bachelor’s or Master’s program in the USA is also a great advantage since many of the country’s universities are famous for the brilliant academic environment and the innovative teaching methods and tools.
Tuition fees for Master’s studies in the US
How much is a Master’s degree in the USA? It depends. Tuition fees can vary depending on multiple factors, like discipline, length of study, university, city, and so on.
Based on the programmes listed on our portal, you can see that although people generally perceive the US as an expensive study destination, there are many affordable Master’s programmes you can choose from.
Most affordable universities in the USA
The following American universities have some of the most affordable tuition fees:
- The City University of New York (CUNY)
- California State University Long Beach
- Western Kentucky University
- South Texas College
Tuition fees at top-ranked universities
Here is a list with tuition fees at top-ranked U.S. universities:
- Princeton University – average tuition of 44,000 USD/year
- Harvard University – tuition between 5,500 – 33,000 USD/year
- University of Chicago – tuition between 13,500 – 39,500/year
- Yale University – tuition between 22,000 – 46,000 USD/year
- Columbia University – tuition between 23,000 – 59,000 USD/year
At these top American universities, some study programmes like Law, International Relations, Visual Arts, MBAs, and others can cost over 60,000 USD/year.
Online Masters from universities in the U.S.
Here is a short selection of universities offering online Masters in the U.S. in case you want to save up on travel and living costs and study from home:
- Walden University
- American College of Education
- Northern Arizona University
Master’s tuition fees in the US based on the study subject
Master’s tuition fees between 5,000 – 20,000 USD/year
- Some Business programmes, like MBAs, can cost over 70,000 USD/year.
- Some Engineering programmes can cost over 47,000 USD/year.
- Some Law programmes can cost over 50,000 USD/year.
- Some Medicine programmes can cost over 64,000 USD/year.
- Some Computer Science & IT programmes can cost over 55,000 USD/year.
- Some Humanities programmes can cost over 50,000 USD/year.
- Some Education programmes can cost over 40,000 USD/year.
- Some Social Sciences programmes can cost over 35,000 USD/year.
Scholarships for international students coming to the U.S.
Many universities and colleges offer financial assistance to international students. Study fields that usually receive more generous funding include Engineering, Physical Sciences, and Biological Sciences.
In addition to universities, there are other commissions and organisations that offer scholarships and financial aid to international students based on different criteria, like:
- Academic achievements
- Financial need
- Extracurricular activities
Some examples of scholarships you can apply to:
- The Fulbright Foreign Student Program – helps young artists and researchers to study abroad in the USA.
- Aga Khan Foundation International Scholarship Program – mostly for Master’s level courses but sometimes the foundation also considers applications for PhD programs.
- For university-specific scholarships, visit the school’s official website. You can also ask information about financial aid during your application process.
- Other scholarships are available on Scholarshipsineurope.com.
Living costs in the United States
Living costs in the U.S. vary a lot because of the large territory the country covers. In general, living in urban areas (in or near a big city) is more expensive than living in smaller towns or suburban areas. To give you a clearer picture of the general living costs of studying in the USA, we have included some estimates for the major regions of the country, in 2017.
The costs cover prices for a full year stay in the U.S. (academic year + vacation). As a general rule, locations in the Midwest region of the States have lower living costs, while those in the East and North-East are the highest. Living costs can vary significantly depending on four main factors:
- Accommodation on-campus or renting apartments outside campus
- Choosing meal plans, personal grocery shopping or eating out
- Traveling by public transport or by car
- Amounts spent on entertainment
Click on the cities to find out more about student life and living costs of studying there.
- Boston (Massachusetts) and Miami (Florida): 1,500 – 3,000 USD/month
- Atlanta (Georgia): 1,200 – 2,200 USD/month
- Philadelphia (Pennsylvania): 800-1.300 USD/month
- Washington D.C., and New York City: 1,700 – 3,000 USD/month
- Los Angeles (California): 1,500 – 2,500 USD/month
- San Francisco (California): 2,200 – 4,000 USD/month
- San Diego (California): 1,400 – 2,400 USD/month
- New Orleans (Louisiana): 1,100 – 2,000 USD/month
- Seattle (Washington): 1,500 – 2,500 USD/month
- Chicago (Illinois): 1,300 – 2,500 USD/month
- Detroit (Michigan): 1,000 – 1,800 USD/month
- Dallas (Texas) and Houston (Texas): 1,000 – 2,000 USD/month
For more exact yearly costs, contact the university you plan to study in and ask for an estimate.
Accommodation costs in the States
Accommodation costs are just as varied as general living costs in the United States. The average apartment can start from minimum 600 USD (one bedroom apartments in more rural areas) and go up to 3,000 USD (1 bedroom apartment in Boston).
Renting outside campus in America might be less expensive than living on campus – 450 USD/month for shared rooms.
Average room and board costs at universities amount to:
- 9,800 USD/ academic year at public four-year colleges
- 11,100 USD/academic year at private four-year colleges
Utility costs that come with accommodation
Utilities may or may not be included in the price, so you should check the contact before making a decision. Here are some of the most common values you will see for different utilities:
- Electric: 50 – 100 USD/month, depending on the size of your apartment, and if your heating is electric, the overall price may go up to 150 USD/month.
- Heating : 50 – 100 USD/month.
- Internet averages 45-50 USD/month.
- Most phone services average 50 USD/month.
- Water, sewer, and trash are usually covered by the landlord, but if you have to pay it will cost 50-75 USD/three months.
Food costs in the USA
Groceries for one person amount to 400 – 600 USD/month depending on your dietary habits and if some meals are included with your accommodation at the university. Look for some of the cheapest supermarkets like Wal-Mart, Target, Costco, Trader Joe’s, to do your shopping.
If you live in residence halls, you could select the on-campus meal plans, for which you would have to pay around 250 USD/month.
Examples of prices in restaurants
In Bowling Green, restaurants have affordable prices, a pizza will cost around 7 USD and you can get a coffee for 4.50 USD.
In Chicago, you can grab a meal for around 12 USD, while a beer in a bar is 6 USD.
International and American restaurants in San Francisco serve meals that cost around 15 USD.
Transportation in America
A public transportation monthly pass is between 45 and 100 USD (some universities have discounts for students, but not all). For instance, in Cincinnati, a metro fare card for students is 53 USD/semester and in Nashville, a monthly public transportation pass is 44 USD.
The biggest transportation expense will probably be flying from and to your home country. Be careful to plan your airplane tickets into your total budget, as this can have a great impact on your plans.
Try to factor in vacation trips to tourist destinations and weekend getaways in the U.S., as depending on your living location and your destination, you can spend as much as 500 USD/trip.
- Books and supplies: 400 – 1,000 USD/year
- Health insurance: 700 – 1,100 USD
Try to also have a budget for other personal or unexpected expenses for the year of about 2000 USD.