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Currently I am a student in the Netherlands following a bachelor program in computer science. I am currently considering applying for a master's program in the United States. It is hard to asses my chances, because of the large difference between the systems in the Netherlands and the United States.

There are a few factors which probably affect my chances.

  • I cannot directly compare my grades with grades used in the United States. In the Netherlands we use a 1-10 absolute grading system. I currently have a grade average of 8.0, only had 7s, 8s and 9s.
  • One thing I noticed is that in the United States a bachelor program is not naturally followed by a master's program, unlike in the Netherlands where this is the default.
  • The duration of a bachelor program in the Netherlands is three instead of four years.
  • Currently I do not plan on applying for a Ph.D position.

Do these factors significantly effect chances to be admitted to a master's program in the United States and how do I asses my chance to get accepted?

1 Answer 1

I don't think that there's a huge enough discrepancy between the technical content of the European three-year bachelor's and the four-year American bachelor's to make that a big concern.

However, where you may run into problems is that your GPA might not be considered competitive for a top program, if it's only in the 8.0's out of 10. (It might get translated to a 3.3 or so, which would be problematic.) What will make up for this is some statement that you're near the top of your CS cohort, and good letters of recommendation will also help.

Where you'll also need to do some research is on whether the departments you want to apply to offer terminal master's programs; if not, it will make it a little more difficult, as the expectation would be that if you are admitted to the master's program, you will then continue on to the PhD program thereafter. (At such schools, a stipend is typically offered during the master's phase of the program; at schools that offer a terminal master's, the funding sources for the master's degree-only candidates is usually quite distinct, if it is available at all.)