Last Updated on August 16, 2022 by Charles Godson
If studying at an Ivy League university in the USA sounds like the holy grail for you, then you know your Master’s degree application is the key that opens it. But like many other students who dream big, you might be a little bit confused and maybe a little bit intimidated by the whole Master’s admission process.
After all, Ivy League universities are the most prestigious higher education institutions in the USA and getting into one of these schools is a highly competitive business. But with good information, you might be one of the brilliant students that will follow in the footsteps of great scientists, politicians, lawyers, humanists and businessmen who have started with a degree at an Ivy League school.
To help you, we are going to thoroughly explore what you need to know about applying to a graduate school at some of the 8 elite universities in the USA.
Masters at Ivy League universities are organised into graduate schools
Ivy League schools are private universities. When it comes to graduate studies a key thing to remember is that in most cases you will not apply directly to the university but to one of its graduate schools. Graduate schools are part of the university but only take in Master’s and Ph.D. students.
For example, if you want to pursue a graduate degree at Harvard University, you need to first know the subject you want to study and apply to the graduate school that offers a Master’s on that subject. Some examples are:
- Harvard Business School
- Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
- Harvard Graduate School of Education
- Harvard Law School
- Harvard Kennedy School
Because these universities do not have a centralised system of graduate studies, each school is responsible for establishing their own application procedure and requirements. That is why you should always check the admission details on the web page of the graduate school you want to apply to.
Luckily there are some common points for graduate admissions that apply to most schools. Up next we will look at relevant application information for Harvard, Yale, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, Pennsylvania and Cornell.
Application requirements for Ivy League schools
To put it simply, there isn’t a single magic formula to apply to an elite American school. Students who get accepted come from diverse academic and cultural backgrounds, but it is ultimately up to each Admissions Committee to evaluate if there’s a right mix between your goals, academic record, and experience and what the university has to offer.
In general, you need the following in order to be eligible to apply to a graduate program at an Ivy League school:
- the equivalent of a U.S. bachelor’s degree
- transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate academic institutions you have attended (GPA included)
- proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS, PTE)
- Standardised test scores (GMAT, GRE, LSAT)
- 3 Letters of recommendation
- Personal statement
- Resume/ CV
- Non-refundable application fee
Okay, these requirements are pretty much the same as at many universities around the world. So, what’s so special about applying to Ivy League universities? Well, they usually accept only students that have the highest test scores and language tests. Here are the average scores for accepted students:
- Average GPA: 3.71 on a 4.0 scale
- TOEFL: 100 or higher on the Internet-based TOEFL test
- 7.5 or higher on the IELTS test
- GRE average scores ranges: 155- 170 for all subjects
- LSAT: 173 and higher
- MCAT: 36.6 and higher
While most universities are happy with one or two recommendation letters, Ivy League schools want three of them – from individuals in academia or other professional sectors who know you well and can tell us about your qualifications for our programs.
How to apply to a Master’s degree at Harvard?
While you will find the above requirements with pretty much every Master’s degree application at Harvard, there are also special requirements depending on the subject. These include:
If you go for graduate studies in Humanities, Social Sciences, Journalism and the like, one requirement will be writing an essay which answers a specific question. Here are some examples of essay questions used in the past by Harvard:
As we review your application, what more would you like us to know as we consider your candidacy for the Harvard Business School MBA program?
The Harvard Kennedy School motto, echoing the President for whom the School is named, is “Ask what you can do.” Please share with the Admissions Committee your plans to create positive change through your public leadership and service.
Apart from topic essays, some grad schools also ask for both a personal history essay (talk about yourself including past studies and experiences), an optional statement (talks about you study and careers goals and how they match the programme you are applying to).
Professional experience and portfolio
Especially for graduate studies in Business, Engineering, Design and Architecture, Harvard Grad Schools only accept applicants that have at least 2 years professional experience and/ or a portfolio. Naturally, your experience should be related to the subject you want to pursue.
Interview and post-interview reflection
Depending on the school, you might also be invited to an interview. But that’s not all. Harvard also has a post-interview reflection. This means that within 24 hours of the interview, you are required to submit a written reflection through the online application system.
How to apply to a Master’s at Yale University?
Unlike Harvard, Yale graduate schools only have a few Masters available and tend to favour Ph.D. programmes more. However, if you are not ready for doctoral study, there are still some options for you at Yale. Here’s what’s special about graduate admissions at Yale.
At Yale, the GMAT is usually only required for Ph.D. admissions. Hurray! Also, the score accepted for different standardised schools varies according to programme. Surely, there must be one Master’s where your test scores are good enough.
Essays, portfolios, and research proposals
Depending on the school or subject, you will be required to add some essays or a portfolio to your application. Essays are frequently required for Journalism, Humanities and Social Sciences focus. Portfolios are common in Architecture and Design. Also, most M. Res and M. Ed. programs ask that you also include a research proposal.
How to apply to a Master’s at Columbia University?
General requirements apply of course, but let’s see what sets Columbia University apart when it comes to the Master’s application process.
While a GRE is usually required, for certain subject areas you need a special GRE score. For example, studying Applied Physics requires an official GRE Physics Subject Test Score.
Another aspect is that not all graduate programmes require GMAT scores. MBAs, for example, require it. Some Masters also include an interview in the application process so get ready to impress them face to face or via video.
Sample of writing and essays
Humanities and Journalism degrees will include a writing tests, written work samples together with general essays on personal and professional interests and specialisation essays. Sounds like a lot of writing, but there’s an upside. Most degrees that are not STEM or Business related don’t require your GRE (it is optional).
How to apply to a Master’s at Dartmouth College?
Like the other universities, the application to a graduate degree at Dartmouth College includes the usual suspects: undergraduate transcripts, three letters of recommendation, and scores from the General Test of the Graduate Record Examinations (GRE). But application requirements also vary by program. Here is what is special about graduate applications at Dartmouth:
Recommendation letters and writing samples
Dartmouth is very keen about you getting the recommendations from scientists in either academic or industrial positions, preferably including letters from research advisors. It’s time to do some networking in the scientific community if you want in!
Another frequent requirement is a writing sample which is a scholarly essay or excerpt of an essay and/or an essay answering one or more questions.
Like the Columbia University, Dartmouth likes special GRE scores, such as a GRE including Chemistry testing. They also strongly recommend the Test of Spoken English (TSE) along with IELTS or TOEFL, if you are a foreign student.
How to apply to the University of Pennsylvania?
Because graduate admissions at Penn are not centralised, all applications go to the graduate schools. Moving past the general Master’s application requirements, you should keep an eye on the next specific aspects:
Writing samples, portfolios, research proposals
Portfolios, writing samples and research proposals are quite common with most Master’s degrees. Some graduate programmes have essay questions like:
How do you expect to apply the expertise you would gain in the Master of Chemical Sciences programme?
At Penn GRE scores are required for all applicants. No exception. Also, while they say there is no minimum GRE or TOEFL score requirement, this is still an Ivy League school. They will expect top achievers to apply.
Plus, unless you graduated from another programme in the USA, you will need to submit TOEFL exam scores to demonstrate English proficiency, even if you have an English-taught degree from somewhere else.
How to apply to Brown University?
Brown University‘s Graduate School offers 33 master’s programmes, including those from the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health, and the School of Professional Studies.
Writing samples and no GRE
Apart from the general admission requirements what sets Brown apart in terms of graduate admission process is the writing samples and the fact that GRE scores are not necessary for Liberal Arts, and most Social Sciences and Humanities degrees. The writing sample is usually something that has to do with you study area.
Best One Year Masters Program in Europe (Updated 2019)
Table of Contents
- One year Masters program in Europe
- One-year Masters program in Social Sciences and Humanities
- One-year Masters program in Science
- Maters in International Business Management
- Masters in Information Design
Europe tops the list of every student who wishes to study abroad. It has been an ideal study destination for students from all over the world for decades. Master’s program is the most popular choice for every student who has completed the bachelor’s degree. The competitive world today demands high qualifications which practical skills. To pursue a Masters program in Europe is the most common dream among students. The continent harbors a variety of institutions that offer different courses. It is a perfect place to study so that you can be future ready. One year Masters program is a coveted program which most of the students prefer.
One year Masters program in Europe
MBA has recently gained much importance. MBA is a program designed for students with practical skills. The practicality of business is decoded. It provides the understanding of the key functions of business areas. Read here if you are confused about one year MBA or two year MBA. Europe has a number of quality business schools which makes it a great destination for MBA. An international MBA degree gives you a lot of advantages in your career. Read here to know more. The best MBA courses in Europe are:
MBA in Economics
MBA in Economics ensures a promising career in the corporate world. This is a business qualification that stresses on the Economic aspects of business Well-paid careers awaits you as an economist or a financial consultant you can also be an educator, regional management posts or statistician. This course makes the students future ready to tackle all challenges in this field.
MBA in Aviation
An MBA in Aviation will equip the students with advanced knowledge and skills to be leaders in this field. The aviation industry requires updated knowledge of technology, skills , and understanding of how dynamic the industry is. This course offers expertise in aviation operations and air transportation to its students
MBA in Fashion
This course is meant for the creative people interested in the fashion industry. Their talent is elevated to a professional level and blended with business skills. MBA in Fashion is the perfect course for this who wish to excel and sustain in the field of fashion. It provides students with the ability to maintain the lead in the dynamic field of fashion.
One-year Masters program in Social Sciences and Humanities
Humanities and Social Sciences is a field of study that prepares students for a wide variety of careers. Corporate and industries have requirements of an expert in social science. Those who wish to work in the field like social services, education, art etc. would get all that they need to have an upper hand through this course. This course offers exciting careers like Technical Writer, Artist, Counselor, Event Organizer, Foreign Correspondent and many more.
One-year Masters program in Science
After the completion of the bachelor’s degree, it’s a common choice to choose Masters in the same field. Science offers a variety of courses with even more varied job options. Masters in Science have many interesting specializations. Some interesting one-year courses you can opt for in Europe are:
MSc in Natural Science
Origins of natural science can be traced as far back as preliterate human societies, it mainly consists of life sciences and physical science. Natural Sciences is a field that includes biological science, botany, zoology, physics, chemistry, Earth science and astronomy etc.
Natural science is a branch of science that mainly deals with observations, understanding and predictions of natural phenomena.
MSc in neuroscience
Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. This one-year M.Sc. course is designed to provide a multidisciplinary training in the neurosciences. It gives advance knowledge in topics from molecular to behavioural neuroscience.
The course is who wish for specialized knowledge in this field. This is a perfect course for a career in biomedical, pharmaceutical or neuropsychological research. This course will equip with all skills necessary to be a Laboratory Technician, Clinical data manager, researcher, educator etc.
Maters in International Business Management
This one-year course will make you ready to face the challenges in the global economy. This course is the ideal one for who wish for a detailed study of international business and have completed business related degree.This course aims to offer a deeper understanding of business in an international context. This course will give a better understanding of international business and global economy including its limitations, relevance and other possible applications. Students have an opportunity to enhance their skills and practical knowledge.
Masters in Information Design
Masters in information design one-year course is apt for the students who wish to enhance their skills in the field of information design.This Masters program will fully elevate your practical skills and theoretical knowledge to the next level. This course promises job opportunities mainly in corporates, business and communication consultancies.Its employment scope extends to service companies, design studios, as well as NGO’s government agencies, research institutions etc.Students who complete this Masters program can start their own consulting business.
Choosing a career that fits you the best is the most important. In whatever choice you make sure you achieve satisfaction. The numerous options available in Europe gives the freedom of choosing whatever career you want to pursue. If you’ve got more to add, please feel free to add it to the comments section. Do pour in your feedback and suggestions too.
- MBA (Economics): This business qualification stresses on the economic aspects of business ensuring a promising career in the corporate world. This course makes students industry ready to tackle all challenges in the field. After completing the course, students can find themselves in well paid careers like Economist, Financial Consultant, and Statistician etc. One can also chose to become a professor in reputed universities.
- MBA (Aviation): A career in the aviation industry is a challenging one, requiring constant updating of technology, skills and deep understanding of this dynamic industry. An MBA (Aviation) degree aims to provide exactly that, along with equipping students with advanced knowledge and skills to be leaders in this field. This course offers expertise in aviation operations and air transportation to its students.
- MBA (Fashion): MBA (Fashion) is the perfect course for those who wish to excel and sustain in the fashion industry. Many creative people from the fashion industry often opt for this course and find their talent being elevated to a different level along with inculcating business skills.
- MSc (Natural Sciences): Natural Sciences is a field that includes biological science, botany, zoology, physics, chemistry, Earth science, and astronomy, etc. Any Master’s degree in Natural Sciences opens up a plethora of options for the students to pursue. One can join government departments or join academia while also continuing their research in the concerned field.
- MSc (Neuro Sciences): Neuroscience is the scientific study of the nervous system. This one-year M.Sc. course is designed to provide multidisciplinary training in the neurosciences. It gives advanced knowledge of topics from molecular to behavioral neuroscience. The course is about who wishes for specialized knowledge in this field. This is a perfect course for a career in biomedical, pharmaceutical or neuropsychological research. This course will equip one with all the skills necessary to be a Laboratory Technician, Clinical data manager, researcher, educator, etc.
- MSc (Nanotechnology): Nanotechnology is science, engineering, and technology conducted at the nanoscale, which is about 1 to 100 nanometers. Nanoscience and nanotechnology are the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering. It equips students with adequate skills to participate in the design, development, characterization, and application of smart and clean materials. This rapidly growing multidisciplinary activity has enormous economic, social and environmental benefits that offer worldwide employment opportunities.