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evaluate my chances of MS in Computer Engineering


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My GRE score is 1360 (800 quants n 560 verbal). My toefl score is 118/120. I have very good acad records all throughout school n college. I have topped all throughout school and got 92% and 90 % in 10th and 12th cbse respectively. I have done Btech in Comp.science from NIT DGP, india. It is a tier 1 , branded institute in India, and stood 3rd overall with CGPA of 9.3/10.00 (absolute scale).The topper had a CGPA of 9.4. I have interned at European Organisation of Nuclear Research for 2 months and worked in ALICE Project, basically in the fields of software engineering and Computer NEtworks. I am currently working in IBM as a software developer specializing in e-commerce applications.

Well I am in a fix because i cannot seem to decide a to which colleges i should apply to.

I am thinking of applying to the following colleges












Moreover after weighing the pros and cons of MS and pHD, I have more or less decided in going in for MS. I know about the lack of funding etc in MS. But hopefully would get some assistantship somewhere down the line. I dont think i would be able to make the cut in phd in any of the colleges because of high competition etc. So i am applying for MS.

I want to know if the college selection matches my profile or not.

Thank you for your help.

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Please take my advice with a pinch of salt as i maybe be a little bit wrong as i too am new to the whole process of admissions but if i am not wrong, i present to you my understanding of things so far:

First off, are you interested in research? that should be your criteria to choose between ms and phd. Ms is a terminal degree that will lead to corporate jobs. a Phd is meant to be a foot through the door into research. So you might want to reconsider your decision. If you have done any substantial research till date(whether it lead to a publication or not), you are on track for phd admissions.

Now assuming that you want to apply for an ms, you could try for CMU, CALTECH, MIT, Stanford, Cornell and the other top ranking private colleges. You only seem to have chosen the top ranked state schools. You missed Washington btw. Your chances of getting in are pretty good afaik. try and get a recommendation letter from the professors you worked with at CERN. Those will carry a lot of weight with the admissions committee..

As far as your safe schools go, i think uv really gone too far down the safety net.

PennSUUniPark, most of the other UCs, USC, Purdue, Ohio these could be added to your moderate to safe list though im not sure of their exact categorisation. of course some of the colleges i named are around 20th-30th rank but your application seems strong enough for them to me..

all the best.


Some1 more knowledgeable than me please correct me if i am wrong. thank you.

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Thank you for replying.

I think it is easier to get admission in MS than in PHD since phd is totally funded. Hence I am thinking about an MS first and then depending on how i fare in it and how much i like it over there, the courses, etc I would decide on pursuing PHD or joining the corporate bandwagon.

I chose state colleges because of the lesser fees (atleast somewhat), given that MS won't get me much scolarship anyhow.

But i think i would give one or two private colls a shot for MS as you say.

I will get strong LOR from my supervisor at CERN.

I think i will combine my applications with MS and PHD ones. For the top ranked schools i would go for MS, just to increase my chances and for the safe and moderate ones i would apply for PHD.

I m interested in research but it is the money factor which is more of an issue for me.

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That is, in my opinion, a very bad approach to things my friend. Your profile is quite strong according to me. To beef up your chances of getting into a phd program try getting an internship with some prof at tifr or iisc or one of the iits. Any research you do with them will be beneficial to both you masters and phd apps. If you are lucky, you may even publish and that is invaluable!

If u are interested in research, most universities advice you to apply for a phd directly. Do you have an area or a couple of areas you are interested in doing research in? If you can name some areas that you are interested in or even better narrow it down to one or two, visit all the university websites and read up on the faculty and the various research groups at those univs and see if what they are doing is inline with your interests. apply there and specifically state who you want to work with etc.

If that is not the case you can always apply to any of the unis that have a large cs school so that you are not later limited in options of what you wish to study.

A lot of small top 50 schools have really good research groups for particular topics but not for all of them that is why you should visit faculty sites and do some research on this matter.

As for applying for ms and then deciding on the phd: If u do go on to do a phd, you will have, in my opinion, wasted quite a sum of your own cash. This is because the ROI on an ms is much better if u go into the corporate world after finishing it than if you stay in academia. there is also the concern of repaying your student loan that you incurred during your masters study. and the interest that it incurs will be a source of pain. :D

So, in my opinion ms and then phd just becomes really expensive. but then if you are really not sure whether research and academia is your thing, do go for the ms first. But do not be afraid to apply for that phd program because you think you are not good enough. As i said earlier to really improve your chances for both phd and ms, take a year off and contact a couple of the professors maybe at cern or one of the labs here and do some research with them. wont cost you much but at least you'll know whether ms or phd is your thing. and the research may lead to a publication which is just invaluable.

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Amogh, you have some good advice for the OP! I concur that if your aim is to do research, then you should be looking at PhD programs rather than MS programs. There are some research based MS programs but funding is limited and not all the top schools have research based MS programs, so your options would be limited if you are looking for research opportunities at the Master's level. Some schools in the US have a MS/Phd track option, where they admit you at the Master's level with the expectation that you will go on to do the PhD after. Alternatively, you could look at schools in Canada, that admit students with bachelors first to the (research based) Master's before the PhD. A lot of Master's programs in Canada are funded so this may be an option to get more research experience before applying to a top PhD program.

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