Deadlines and Intakes in the USA for Master’s Programs: A Complete Guide

This guide provides a comprehensive overview of the intakes and deadlines for Master's programs in the USA, covering all aspects from Fall to Summer sessions.

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Deadlines and Intakes in the USA for Master’s Programs: A Complete Guide
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Apr 17, 2023 04:44 AM
With more than 5000 Universities and Colleges in the country, the USA boasts of hosting the most international students in the world. With its rich multicultural diversity, cutting-edge education, picturesque landscape and abundant opportunities, it offers the very best in all aspects. Applying to Universities can be quite a hassle when you have to remember all the intakes and deadlines. Well, you do not have to worry about it anymore, because, in this blog, we have covered everything you will need to know about intakes in the USA to ensure that you are on time to land a seat at your dream University!

Intakes in the USA

There are two major intakes in the USA and another minor intake period.
Term Duration
1. Fall
August to December
1. Spring
January to April
1. Summer
May to August

1. Fall Intakes in the USA

From among the three intakes in the USA, the Fall intake is considered the primary intake session. This is the main intake period in which all the programs and courses across all Universities are open. The Fall intake is the most popular intake among international students. You can expect bustling classes, healthy competition and many opportunities in every field. You will start with the beginning of a new academic year in America!

Advantages of Applying in the Fall Intakes in the USA:

1. Easier acceptance at an American University as acceptance rates during this time is significantly higher than the other intake periods. 2. Since this is also the start of the academic year in America, it presents many more opportunities for networking and scholarships. 3. US Universities offer their flagship programs and courses during this intake. All Universities in America offer all their degree programs and courses during this academic session. 4. Applying during this intake also gives the students the advantage of getting more internship and assistantship opportunities as they meet the minimum nine-month degree duration criteria. 5. There is greater availability of scholarships and financial funding.

2. Spring Intakes in the USA

In this intake period, many, if not all, of the programs and courses are open. While it may not be the primary intake, you can opt for this semester if you missed out on the Fall intake, as most of the courses offered by most US Universities are still open. The Spring intake also gives students enough time to weigh their options carefully and apply to the selected Universities.

Advantages of Applying in the Spring Intakes in the USA:

1. There is less competition as a comparatively smaller percentage of students apply in this intake. The admission process is also simpler and smoother. 2. Since the Spring intake comes after the Fall intake, students have more time on their hands to utilize it fully by gaining experience via internships, volunteer work, research jobs and other such activities which will help them in the course. 3. Students also get sufficient time to prepare for exams and tests like GMAT/ GRE/ SAT/ TOFEL/ IELTS etc. 4. There is abundant availability of scholarships, internship and assistantship opportunities. The Spring Intake is just another admission period, and the curriculum of all courses is designed according to all the intake sessions so that the students can take advantage of it.

3. Summer Intakes in the USA

This is the Summer Intake period in which a few programs, Vocational courses or limited specialisation courses are available. Though Universities accept students for the Summer semester, only a few departments are open for classes in this intake. Some of the most popular programs during this intake period are the language programs offered to non-native English speakers and Education/ Cultural programs (like get-togethers, conferences, volunteer and community activities, language classes). This semester lasts for only 2-3 months.

Advantages of the Summer Intakes in the USA:

  1. The main advantage of this intake is the enhanced job opportunities it offers.
  1. It gives students the advantage of enrolling before the Fall semester and applying for job positions and other opportunities for internships and assistantships ahead of the other students.
Important note: Please check the University websites for the correct application dates and deadlines. They will differ according to the University and the course you are opting for.
Start your application process as early as possible to increase your chances of acceptance and complete all deadlines and intakes in the USA. You can follow a recommended application timeline below to assist you in this matter as best as possible.
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1. Do Your Research: 10-12 Months Ahead of the Intakes in the USA.

Start on this as early as possible!
  1. Look up Universities in the USA based on your field of interest, and shortlist them. Check the courses most suitable for you according to your field of study and in line with your career.
  1. Check the University websites for the application procedures, deadlines, tuition fees etc.
  1. Look for any financial aid, scholarships or educational loan if needed.

2. Take the Mandatory Standardized Tests: 9-10 Months Ahead of the Intake.

1. Most, if not all, Universities will ask for an English Language Proficiency test like IELTS or TOEFL. 2. Other Universities might ask for results of competitive exams like the GRE, GMAT or SAT results. 3. Check the selected Universities’ websites for more information about the required documents and tests. 4. You will have to take these exams early if you have to give them again.

3. Preparation for Application: 7-8 Months Ahead of the Intakes in the USA.

1. Once you receive your test scores, you will know where to apply. Shortlist and apply to Universities accordingly. Keep your preference and budget in mind. 2. Prepare all the necessary application documents like SOPs and LORs well before the due date. 3. Start collecting the documents at least one month before the application deadline.

4. Admission Procedures: 3-4 Months Ahead of the Intakes in the USA.

  1. Once you apply to different Universities, you will receive Admit Letters from some. Weigh your options carefully before responding to Acceptance Letters. However, do not wait for the deadline to accept, as some Universities might grant seats on a first-come, first-served basis (especially when the competition is high during the Fall and Spring intake).
  1. Some colleges and Universities might ask for live interviews, so be prepared for that.
  1. Once enrolled, you will have to pay the non-refundable confirmation fee.
  1. Check and apply for Scholarships, if necessary.
This blog about the Post Admission Process for a Master’s program in the USA might prove to be useful. Check it out here.

5. Visa Application: 2-3 Months Ahead of the Intake.

1. Most countries allow the application of visas three months before the date of arrival. Collect all your documents and apply for the Visa. You will also have to check which Visa to apply for.

Types of Visas:

  • F1 Visa – this Visa is issued to students who are looking to study in an American college or University.
  • J1 Visa – this Visa is for people who want to study a diploma or a vocational course and undergo practical training in the US.
  • M1 Visa – this Visa is for students who wish to pursue a non-academic course in the USA.
2. Processes take time, so do not wait for last-minute applications and risk the period of intakes in the USA.
You can click here, to visit the official US Government website for more information on Visas and to see which Visa will be most suitable for you.

6. Pre-departure: 1-2 Months Ahead of the Intakes in the USA.

1. Check for health insurance and accommodation facilities available (on-campus and off-campus). 2. Book your flights to avoid any last-minute hassle and delays. It is best to arrive at the University at least a week before classes start. Also, you do not want to miss orientation programs. 3. Make a checklist of everything you need to keep, documents and items. 4. Get an international debit/credit card for ease of transactions. 5. Gather all the necessary documents that you will need (and their photocopies, in case). 6. Pack all your things beforehand to avoid any last-minute inconvenience.
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Now you know that there are three intakes in the USA: Fall (primary), Spring (secondary), and Summer (minor). While each of the intakes periods have their advantages, some significant determiners, like the availability of the program of your choice, entrance test scores, academic records, etc., will help you decide the intake period and the degree program. You can prepare for the deadlines and intakes in the USA according to this blog’s step-by-step timeline and guide. We wish you Good Luck!
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