US Education System
Most US universities have the tri-semester system - the fall, spring and summer.
The fall semester (Starts in AUG/SEP)
This is the first semester of the year, which starts mid August
and is less often called the autumn semester. The academic year begins in this semester and most aid and assistantships are offered during this period. More over most new intake is during this period.
The spring semester (Starts in Jan)
Classes begin around the first or second week of January.
Most universities (say 85%) admit new students during this semester, but the student intake is less compared to fall. The chance of an aid is lesser but other on-campus part time jobs are available year round, good enough to take care of your living, accommodation and personal expenses. Some universities call this the winter semester.
The summer semester (Starts around.. Beginning of Jun)
This is the shortest of the three semesters and spans for a period of two months
and usually begins in June. Very few universities have summer intake. Although the university on the whole may have summer intake, but make sure the department accepts new students (this is applicable to spring as well). In several cases regular students do not enroll for this semester and work full time on campus (40 hrs/week) or take up industrial training.
The thesis and non-thesis option
This is mostly applicable to MS students.
A thesis option requires taking up a thesis and at the end of which, a dissertation (should have genuine or original idea) has to be presented and defended orally. This is a must for students enrolling to masters programs leading to
doctorate (Direct doctorate degree after under graduation). It is advisable for students having a desire, to pursuit up to doctorate level at a later stage, to choose this option. Non-thesis option typically requires a project to be completed by the end of the course. Student's opting the project option on an average graduate in 4 semesters (1.5 years) and with a thesis option it takes on an average two years, with exceptions in both the cases.
What are credit hours?
The US system usually allows a student to choose papers
(apart from some mandatory basic papers) and each paper will carry certain number of credits say 3 or 4 (in case of project it would be 5 or 6). When the student full fills the required number of credits; he or she graduates. In most universities this requisite is 30 to 36 hrs for Non-thesis (usually carries a project) option. But for thesis option this requisite is much lesser, but with a thesis work to be presented.
General Difference between MS and ME
Master of Engineering Degree
Master of Science Degree
- Application and practice oriented
- Relatively inflexible curriculum due to accreditation requirements
- Includes both a thesis option and a non-thesis option
- Thesis standards established by Speed Scientific School
- Degree granted through Speed Scientific School
- Not accredited (nationally, no engineering M.Sc. degrees are accredited)
- Flexible curriculum
- Thesis is required
- Thesis standards established by the University.
- Degree granted through the Graduate School