The Credit System for Master’s Courses in American Universities Part 1

Generally, in order to complete an MS or an MBA course you have to complete 33 credits, usually in a 2 year-period. The total number of credits is broken up in different ways. For example, if you opt to do a thesis, then the break up is:

  • Thesis – 6 credits
  • Course – 27 credits

If the course does not have the thesis option then you will have to do a project and the break up will be:

  • Project – 3 credits
  • Course – 30 credits

The credit system will differ from university to university, but by and large this is the system that is followed.

Students are awarded 3 credits per theory course (or subject) that they study in a semester. But in order to earn the credits for the course they have to undergo actual classroom instruction for 3 hours a week for the whole semester. You will be expected to take a minimum of 3 such theory courses per semester and thus will be awarded a total of 9 credits, 3 for each of the subjects.

Thus, given that there are 2 semesters per year, in the normal course, students take 18 credits per year. However, many Indian students take extra credits (e.g. 12 per semester instead of 9) and thus are able to complete their Master’s degrees 16 months time.

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