Katie Schenk - July 11, 2017
In the United States, the academic year begins in August or September and wraps in May or June. While a lot of universities offer summer classes, you won’t find the full course catalogue available. Traditionally, grad students begin their studies during the fall term, continue through the spring semester, and then pursue an internship or special products during the summer.
But, not everyone wants to follow the norm – and there are reasons you might want to consider enrolling in the spring semester.
Whether you have a very specific plan or personal circumstances dictate that you begin your engineering masters in the spring, you should know that it’s not always on offer for all programmes.
Some universities such as Caltech, Princeton, and UCLA don’t offer any spring intake options in the engineering departments. If you’ve set your sights on one of these universities to complete your engineering master’s degree, you will need to plan on applying for the fall semester. Of the top 50 engineering programmes as ranked by U.S. News & World Report for 2018, these universities don’t accept spring applications.
Other universities don’t accept international students for the spring semesters. Often these universities – MIT among them – have significant numbers of international students and want to keep visa and recruitment processes streamlined.
Only a few engineering departments accept spring applications for all their master’s programmes. These are usually public universities including Arizona State University and Iowa State University.
Interestingly, the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor works on a quarter instead of a semester system; they have fall, winter, spring, and summer terms. But, you won’t be able to apply for spring admission, though some engineering departments allow for winter admission. Winter term begins in January which may make it an option for students that need to study based on calendar years as opposed to the American academic calendar.
The majority of universities accept master’s applications for some degrees in some engineering departments, but not all of them. We’ve made it easy to see which schools offer spring admissions. The ranking numbers relate to the U.S. News & World Report 2017/2018 engineering school rankings – not the rank of the individual department. The costs are for the academic year, as provided by the school.
There are a few engineering departments that will accept spring admits under special conditions or only for certain degrees. In some cases, you may be able to apply for a Masters in Engineering, but not a Master of Science in Engineering.
You’ll want to take a close look at the requirements; colleges that accept but strongly discourage spring applications will only consider special circumstances to make it happen.
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