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How to Choose MS Specialization? Top MS Courses List

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Yocket Editorial Team
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Feeling overwhelmed by the pressure to pick the ‘perfect’ specialization? While some folks might think choosing an MS specialization is a piece of cake, it’s not always that simple. The pressure to choose the right one can be huge, especially in a system like ours, where grades often dictate your options. 

If you are unaware, in the Indian education system, grades are king. But did you know that just getting good marks isn’t enough to land the perfect MS specialization in a foreign university? Here’s the good news, in a foreign university, there’s more to grades and marks. You’ll have the chance to showcase your true potential because of its holistic admission policy. 

We see picking the right path for your MS as more of a journey than a quick decision. So, in this blog, we’ll share some steps to guide you on this exciting adventure. But before we jump into that, let’s answer some common questions about studying abroad for your MS.

10 Common Questions While Choosing an MS Specialization

1. Do I need to do a Masters at all?

As the name implies, a master’s degree is designed to equip you with the advanced skills and in-depth knowledge needed to truly master a particular subject. This makes it the ideal option for individuals who aspire to become experts in their chosen field.

2. Will my salary package depend on my qualifications?

Yes, your salary package will depend on your qualifications. Higher levels of education and specialized skills generally lead to higher salaries. However, experience, performance, and negotiation skills also play a significant role in determining your final compensation.

Here’s a table summarizing the average starting salaries for both professions, based on a 2016–17 Payscale survey:

Academic field

Salary after UG (in USD)

Salary after PG (in USD)

Business Administration

48,450

57,700

Computer Science

68,600

84,800

Human Resources

43,700

56,643

Mathematics

57,500

62,300

Mechanical Engineering

66,800

72,900

3. How do I decide which is the best MS specialization for me?

Finding the perfect MS specialization involves carefully considering three key factors:

  1. Interest: This is the most crucial factor, not only for your MS but for your overall career satisfaction. Choose a specialization that genuinely excites you and aligns with your long-term goals. Passion fuels motivation, which will be vital for navigating the demands of an MS program and thriving in your chosen field.
  2. Academic Background: Assess your core subjects and academic performance. This analysis will help you identify specializations that align with your existing knowledge base and skill set. While some programs might require specific prerequisites, others offer more flexibility. Consider your strengths and weaknesses in various academic areas to make informed decisions.
  3. Technical Skills: Evaluate your existing technical skills and consider how they relate to different specializations. Certifications, online courses, and independent projects demonstrate your commitment to learning and developing relevant technical expertise. Choose a specialization that allows you to leverage your existing skills while providing opportunities to acquire new ones.

4. What if I have an interest in more than one subject and I can’t decide on anyone for MS specialization?

If you’re passionate about multiple subjects, consider a program with interdisciplinary options or pursue two separate MS degrees. Alternatively, choose a specialization that bridges your interests or focus on developing technical skills relevant to multiple fields.

5. Do I have to choose the same major as my bachelor’s?

You are not obligated to choose the same major for your master’s degree as your bachelor’s degree. However, if you are considering a change, it’s crucial to build a strong academic profile demonstrating your preparedness for the new field. This can be achieved through relevant coursework, projects, internships, and certifications. Additionally, when choosing a country for your studies, consider its educational system. For example, the USA has a more open approach to education, making it easier to switch majors compared to other countries.

6. Which one should I prefer between general and specialized masters?

A specialized master’s degree offers a focused learning experience that equips you with in-depth knowledge and skills in a specific area. This allows you to develop niche expertise, making you highly desirable to employers in your chosen field. It also helps you converge your target industries sharply, increasing your chances of landing your dream job.

However, if you’re unsure which specific field to specialize in, a general master’s degree can be a valuable alternative. This broadens your knowledge base across various disciplines and provides a strong foundation for further exploration or career changes.

7. Can I go for a Master’s program despite my poor academic record?

While having a strong academic record is certainly beneficial, it’s not the sole determinant of your success in pursuing a Master’s degree abroad. Even with less-than-ideal grades, you can increase your chances of admission by focusing on two key areas: 

  • Building a strong technical skill set
  • Achieving outstanding test scores on language proficiency tests (TOEFL or IELTS) and standardized tests (GRE or GMAT)

8. What are the most popular MS specializations abroad?

Here’s an overview of some of the most sought-after MS specializations and the promising career opportunities they open up:

Specialization

Promising Careers

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Machine Learning Engineer, AI Engineer, and Robotics Engineer

Data Science

Data Scientist, Data Analyst, and Machine Learning Engineer

Software Engineering

Software Engineer, Software Developer, and Web Developer

Management (MBA)

Management Consultant, Business Development Manager, and Marketing Manager

Aerospace Engineering

Aerospace Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Flight Test Engineer

Electrical Engineering

Electrical Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Network Engineer

Mechanical Engineering

Mechanical Engineer, Systems Engineer, and Design Engineer

Finance

Financial Manager, Investment Analyst, and Financial Advisor

Industrial-Organizational Psychology

Human Resources Specialist, Organizational Development Specialist, and Career Counselor

Clinical Psychology

Clinical Psychologist, Marriage and Family Therapist, and Counselor

Want to learn more about these programs? Head over to our course guide section and get detailed information.

9. What are the most popular MS specializations in Computer Science?

The vast field of Computer Science offers numerous exciting specializations, each delving into specific areas of technology and application. Here are some of the most popular specializations:

Specialization

Examples of Careers

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Machine learning engineer, data scientist, AI researcher, robotics engineer, and natural language processing engineer.

Data Science

Data scientist, data analyst, business intelligence analyst, machine learning engineer, and statistician.

Software Engineering

Software engineer, web developer, mobile app developer, game developer, and software architect.

Cybersecurity

Cybersecurity analyst, security engineer, penetration tester, ethical hacker, and incident responder.

Computer Systems

Systems administrator, network administrator, database administrator, cloud architect, and high-performance computing specialist.

Web Development

Web developer, front-end developer, back-end developer, full-stack developer, and UI/UX designer.

Game Development

Game developer, game designer, game programmer, graphics programmer, and sound designer.

Bioinformatics

Bioinformatics scientist, computational biologist, bioinformatician, and genomics researcher.

Human-Computer Interaction (HCI)

UX/UI Designer, Interaction Designer, and Information Architect

Computer Graphics

Computer Graphics Artist, 3D Animator, and VFX Artist

10. Which are the top universities for MS specializations?

The QS World University Rankings for 2024 have identified the following institutions as leading universities for studying MS specializations:

How to Deal with Confusion in Selecting the Right MS Specialization?

1. I am unsure about my specialization; what should I do?

When applying to a foreign university, be aware that they will examine your entire profile, with a significant focus on your technical skill set. Consider Suresh, who enjoys Robotics but holds a Physics Honors degree. All of his prior internships, certifications, workshops, and projects have been focused on core Physics. From a university admissions perspective, would you be more inclined to accept him into a Physics or Robotics MS program?

If you’re unsure about your specialization and have the opportunity to attend a higher-ranked university, consider doing so and exploring your options through elective courses once admitted. This can provide the flexibility to explore Robotics further while pursuing a degree in Physics. Remember, your overall profile is important, and a strong foundation in Physics can be a valuable asset for someone pursuing Robotics, especially considering the numerous overlapping concepts and technologies between the two fields.

2. If I am sure about my interest but lack a relevant skill set, what should I do?

Aspiring students who prioritize acquiring relevant skills before pursuing their degree abroad should be aware that this approach might prolong the admissions process. Unless you have a clear vision of your target specialization early on, it’s crucial to balance skill development with application deadlines.

Take Ramesh, a Mathematics graduate with a passion for tackling business challenges. Eager to pursue an MBA abroad, he actively sought opportunities to build his skillset. He joined his college’s entrepreneurship club, enrolled in online financial management courses, and secured an internship with a firm. After graduation, he landed a job to gain further experience in relevant projects.

Ramesh’s dedication to skill development paid off. His combined work experience, internships, and certifications presented a compelling case for his chosen MBA specialization, significantly increasing his chances of admission to a top university. This demonstrates the power of strategic skill-building in achieving your academic goals.

How Do I Decide on an MS Specialization Abroad?

Understanding Job Trends

For students pursuing a master’s degree, securing a job after graduation is of paramount importance. This makes choosing a specialization that aligns with current job market trends a highly relevant and justified decision. After all, maximizing the return on investment (ROI) is a natural priority for any individual.

To aid in this crucial decision, a LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report analyzed data on its members’ job positions from 2015 to 2019. This analysis identified the fastest-growing jobs across various popular study abroad destinations. The top job titles for each location are summarized in the following table:

Popular Study Abroad Destinations

Top Job Titles

United States (USA)

Data Scientist, Software Engineer, and Artificial Intelligence Specialist

United Kingdom (UK)

Data Analyst, Digital Marketing Manager, and Business Development Manager

Canada

Machine Learning Engineer, Business Analyst, and Software Developer

Australia

Data Scientist, Health Informatics Specialist, and Project Manager

Germany

Software Engineer, Data Architect, and Cloud Computing Specialist

The high career growth potential of STEM fields is undeniable, as evidenced by the popularity of master's specializations in these areas.

Building Interest and Skill Set

We recognize that selecting the ideal MS specialization is a continuous process, not a snap decision. Therefore, we want to share some helpful steps you can take during your undergraduate studies to prepare for and ultimately choose the right direction for your future.

By actively engaging in these steps throughout your undergraduate years, you can gain valuable insights and experiences that will guide you toward a fulfilling and successful MS specialization.

Note: The following suggestions are designed for 4-year undergraduate programs such as B. Tech. However, they can be adapted and applied to 3-year programs such as BS as well.

First Year of UG

While the first year of undergraduate studies might seem far removed from a Master’s degree, laying the foundation for future success begins early. Here are some crucial steps you can take:

  • Actively engage in and excel in laboratory-based assignments and projects. These experiences provide valuable hands-on learning and demonstrate your commitment to practical application.
  • Don’t be a passive listener during lectures. Participate actively in Q&A sessions, ask insightful questions, and engage with the material. This demonstrates your intellectual curiosity and deepens your understanding.
  • Don’t be afraid to approach professors outside the classroom for further discussion or clarification of concepts. Building relationships with faculty shows initiative and can open doors to future opportunities.
  • Supplement your academic learning by following relevant blogs and channels on social media. Explore platforms such as Business Insider, TechCrunch, Forbes, or others based on your specific interests. This keeps you updated on current trends and broadens your perspective.

Second and Third Years of Your UG

If your college offers the option to change streams, consider your interests and the subjects you enjoyed in practical work. This can be a valuable opportunity to align your studies with your true passion.

  • Experiment with electives: Even if your major is electrical engineering, if you have a curiosity for machine learning algorithms, take an elective course in it.
  • Join clubs: Participating in clubs like entrepreneurship or robotics connects you with like-minded peers and provides valuable hands-on experience.
  • Independent projects: Take up independent projects or courses on online platforms, even if they don’t directly relate to your major. This helps you develop new skills and explore your interests.
  • Professor recommendations: Seek guidance from professors for course recommendations based on your interests and goals.
  • Seminars and workshops: Attend seminars and workshops to gain practical training and stay updated with the latest advancements in your field.
  • Organizing workshops: Consider organizing workshops for your peers or juniors. This allows you to explore your own interests while helping others learn.

The Final Year

The final year of your undergraduate studies is a crucial time to solidify your career goals and make strategic choices that will pave your path forward. One of the most important decisions you’ll need to make is selecting the right specialization for your Master’s degree. To guide you through this process, here are some essential steps to consider:

  • Analysis: Start your journey by identifying your most compelling interest. If you have multiple passions, delve deeper to discover their common thread. This introspection will help you zoom in on the subject that truly ignites your curiosity.
  • Projects: Invest your time in choosing the right mini-project. Avoid opting for projects solely based on their perceived ease or peer recommendations. Instead, conduct thorough research and select a project that aligns with your interests and learning goals. This deliberate selection will ensure a meaningful and enriching experience.
  • Internships: Actively pursue relevant internships, regardless of their paid or unpaid nature. Internships offer invaluable industry exposure, provide real-world project experience, and challenge you to thrive in a professional environment. This hands-on learning can clarify your career aspirations and equip you with valuable skills for the future.

From the Desk of Yocket

Choosing the right MS specialization can be a daunting task. Whether you’re an undergraduate or a working professional, the key to choosing the right specialization lies in aligning your short-term and long-term goals with your MS program. By visualizing your career path and aspirations, you can make an informed decision that propels you forward.

Are you ready to start your MS journey? For personalized guidance on your MS abroad studies, look no further than Yocket Premium. Sign up today and get access to a world of resources and expert support.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the financial implications of studying abroad for an MS?

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How important are grades when choosing an MS specialization?

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