Dear Mentor:

How should I prepare for an MS in IT?

I am an Indian student and I want information from your side urgently; i.e., I want to do MS in Information Technology. Kindly please guide me with all the relevant information for the same, so that I can plan my career accordingly. I am into final year of my education and have only 3 years of formal education after my 10+2 education. USA needs 4 years of education; so, can I do a foundation course for one year and then do MS? Also suggest me the universities - good ones - and score required by them, so that I can really work on it. Hope for your reply soon.

Getting Ready, India

Dear Getting Ready:

Typically the Information Technology programs in the US are Computer Science and Computer Engineering. We offer a complete list of such colleges on iMahal.

The basic required academic qualification for an MS in Computer Science in the US is a Bachelor's degree in any discipline. If the Bachelor's degree is in a discipline other than Computer Science, then one is required to do additional courses in Computer Science to fulfill the basic knowledge-needs of the programs - kind of a "pre-MS" program, before undertaking the regular MS program. These courses are in the areas of structured programming, computer architecture, and databases. The additional courses are a part of the extended MS program, and one is not expected to do one year of courses elsewhere before joining the regular MS program. The long and short of all this is that you are "academically qualified" to apply for the MS in Computer Science program after your Bachelor's degree, without taking additional courses. But if you have time, we encourage you to do the basic courses in the areas specified above.

Such is not the case for Computer Engineering. One is expected to have completed a Bachelor's degree in Computer Engineering or a closely related field. So we are not sure if you would be academically qualified to enter an MS in Computer Engineering, since we do not know your current specialization.

In additional to the academic qualification, one is expected to take a standardized entrance exam - namely, the Graduate Record Exam (GRE). You are also required to submit 2-4 letters of recommendation and an essay or two.

Those are the typical entrance requirements. Whether you are accepted into a particular program depends on your performance. Just as the case is in India, the expected performance level varies across colleges. You can use the iMahal College Finder to find colleges that best match your performance and needs. You should visit the iMahal Education Section to conduct further research. In this section, we also offers links to various sites that offer college rankings so that you can find the "good ones."

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