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I enjoy how even when I leave the lab and walk out the building at the end of the day my learning doesn't stop....

Meet Simon McGabe
at University of Missouri - Columbia

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A group of students exploring natureApplication Expenses - Tuition and Fees - Cost of Living and Additional Expenses

As you consider postgraduate study in the US, it is important to know what costs to expect and to develop a plan to cover these. We recommend creating a detailed budget worksheet for each university, as the estimated expenses vary drastically from university to university. It is important to be realistic and to err on the conservative side when developing your personal budget.

Application Expenses

Keep in mind that there will be several expenses to actually apply to US universities:

Please note if paying application fees would present a serious barrier to your university entrance, you may be eligible to request an application fee waiver from the US university. You will need to enquire with the admissions office or department of each university to which you are applying to determine if fee waivers are offered and if so, how to request one.

Tuition and Fees

Tuition and fees rates can vary significantly from university to university, as there are no standard government set fees as in the UK. Rather, each university. and often each department, sets its own tuition and fees rates. This information should be readily available on the department or postgraduate admissions webpage.

As a general rule, private universities have the highest tuition and fees rates, followed by public universities. At public (state-funded) universities, in-state students often are charged a lower tuition rate, as state taxpayers. As an international student, you will be considered an out-of-state student for tuition purposes. However, often out-of-state tuition charges at a public university can be less than private university tuition charges. Typically, professional programmes (MBA, JDs, MDs, etc.) charge more in tuition than master's or PhD degrees.

While actual costs of attendance will vary greatly by university, geographic region and field, the average annual cost of attendance (the total cost of tuition, fees, books, educational supplies, living expenses and other education-related charges) for students in master’s degree programs at public institutions was $28,375 per year in 2007-08 and $38,665 per year at private universities. The average annual cost of attendance for students in doctoral degree programmes at public institutions was $32,966 per year in 2007-08 and $46,029 per year at private universities.

Cost of Living and Additional Expenses

It is also important to take into account cost of living and additional expenses you will likely incur during several years of postgraduate study. When calculating your estimated annual expenses, it is important to consider costs for:

You may also need to factor in health insurance (which some universities require international students to purchase), a PC or laptop and items to furnish your dorm room.

The cost of living can vary significantly by location and lifestyle. However, universities publish expense estimates tailored to their institution and local area, which should be readily available on the university financial aid or postgraduate admissions webpage.

A few general rules to keep in mind:


Please note the figures you will find on universities' websites often reflect the 'sticker price', rather than the actual amount most students pay if they receive university funding or an external scholarship. Keep reading for more information about these funding opportunities!