When I was back in home country (India), I used to ask others questions like :
- How long is MS program in US ?
- How many classes should you take ?
- Can you graduate early ?
- How to graduate early ?
- Is the degree valid if you graduate early ?
- Will I get CPT and OPT if I graduate Early ? Will I get advanced quota for H1B filing if I graduate early ?
Some of you may have similar questions if you see programs at schools where they say you can get a masters in One year. It can be confusing at times. I will share some of my thoughts on this and my personal experience.
How long is MS or MBA program in US ? How many Classes or Years ?
Just to clarify, it is not the length(i.e., how long you study) of the program that determines the degree, it is the number of classes that you take in the program that determines the completion of program to graduate. It is up to you how long you take to graduate. Schools in US let you graduate anywhere from 1 year to 8 years. Some students just do classes part time one class a semester. Some students are aggressive and they take 12 credits a semester and take all 3 semesters to complete 36 credits and graduate exactly in a year. In fact, for my MBA program, I followed the same strategy and am graduating in one year. Typically, full time students take anywhere from 1 and half years to 2 years to complete coursework. They do not take summer classes, so it will be two falls and two spring terms.
Is the degree valid if you graduate early ? OPT Validity ? H1B quota ?
Yes, the degree is valid as long as you graduated from an accredited US University. Yes, you will get OPT even if you complete your degree in One year. Also, Yes you will be counted towards the advanced degree cap if you apply for H1B visa. Also, you can do CPT too when you are studying. The reality is, it would be way too much work load to study 12 credits a semester and can be hard to balance everything. Remember, as an international student you have to maintain GPA of 3.0 to be in status.
What’s the best duration to study and graduate ?
There is nothing set on stone. It depends on your goals and capacity. I know students who have taken 12 credits and did very well in Masters, also I know students who could not handle the work load and went out of status as their GPA dropped to below 3.0. If you are coming from other country and it is your first semester, I would not recommend you to hastily take more classes to graduate. Take the minimum number of credits to be enrolled full time and just understand how system works. Once you are comfortable then you can take the call and take extra classes. Most of the students take anywhere from 1.5 years to 2 years.
What do you think is the best duration to graduate ?
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