Frequently Asked Questions: The MSA Program
- Is the MSA available as a part-time or distance program?
- What is a cohort-based program?
- May I start the MSA during the fall or spring semesters?
- May I complete the MSA over two years instead of one?
- May I register for MSA courses if I have not been accepted into the program?
- May I transfer credits from prior coursework toward the MSA?
- When are classes held?
- May I work while pursuing the MSA?
- How much does the MSA cost?
- Is financial aid available?
- Do you offer graduate (teaching or research) assistantships?
- What additional expenses can I expect to incur while I am a student?
- Does the MSA program offer job placement assistance?
- Who employs MSA graduates and for what positions do MSA graduates qualify?
- What is the average salary for MSA graduates?
- What is the employment outlook for international MSA students seeking jobs in the U.S.?
Frequently Asked Questions: Our Admissions Process
- Am I eligible to apply?
- What are the deadlines for application submission?
- Do I need to complete all prerequisites before applying to the program?
- Am I required to take the GRE or GMAT?
- As an international student, am I required to take the TOEFL or IELTS?
- Do I have to have all of my recommendation letters, transcripts and scores before I submit my application?
- Will you notify me if something is missing from my application?
- What is the required length of an applicant’s personal statement?
- Are interviews required?
- When and how will I receive an admission decision?
- May I re-apply if I am denied admission?
- How do I qualify for North Carolina residency?
- Where can I find more information for international students?
Is the MSA available as a part-time or distance program?
The MSA is an intensive, cohort-based learning experience, offered only as a full-time program on campus. Our students’ success can be attributed to a great extent to the campus-based format, which requires full immersion in study.
What is a cohort-based program?
A learning cohort is a group of students who move through their courses and related learning experiences together from the beginning of their program of study to its completion. Peer-to-peer learning and feedback are critical aspects of the MSA experience. Cohort-based learning prepares students for employers who value teamwork and collaboration.
May I start the MSA during the fall or spring semesters?
May I complete the MSA over two years instead of one?
No. All members of the MSA cohort begin studies in late June (NC State’s Summer II term) and complete the program over 10 months. Graduation is held in early May. There is no year-to-year carryover of students.
May I register for MSA courses if I have not been accepted into the program?
No. All courses that are part of the MSA degree curriculum are restricted to students accepted into the program.
May I transfer credits from prior coursework toward the MSA?
We do not accept transfer credits. All students must complete the MSA 30-credit hour curriculum. Additional elective courses are not permitted while completing the degree.
When are classes held?
Classes are scheduled Monday through Friday between the hours of 9:00 am and 5:00 pm. Students are involved in team exercises and other program activities when not in class and, therefore, do not schedule other commitments during these hours.
May I work while pursuing the MSA?
No. The MSA is an intensive full-time learning experience. Students typically spend 60 hours per week on MSA-related activities. Students should not attempt to hold a job while completing the degree; those who do so risk failing the program. Job responsibilities that interfere with school work are unacceptable, and are grounds for termination from the program.
Is financial aid available?
MSA students are normally self-financed through personal savings or educational loans. You may apply for federal subsidized and unsubsidized direct loans, and if qualified, for fellowships and other awards offered through the Graduate School. As a ten-month intensive program, the tuition and fee costs for the program are considerably lower than M.S. degrees requiring registration for four or more semesters. Regrettably, the MSA program itself does not have the financial resources to accommodate prospective students who require a fully-subsidized education.
Do you offer graduate (teaching or research) assistantships?
Does the MSA program offer job placement assistance?
Yes. Over 90% of MSA graduates seeking employment are placed with the Institute’s assistance. We provide dedicated career services to all students throughout the program, including resume review; interview coaching; and exposure to dozens of companies/organizations through employer information sessions, networking receptions, and on-site interviews.
What is the employment outlook for international MSA students seeking jobs in the U.S.?
While the economy and other factors may create unpredictable obstacles to U.S. employment, and while some employers cannot or choose not to hire non-citizens, to date, 97% of MSA alumni are employed in the U.S. International students holding the MSA (a STEM-qualified degree) are eligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT). Please review our Employment Report for the latest information about student outcomes.
What are the deadlines for application submission?
We are currently accepting applications for admission to MSA Class of 2021, which begins studies in June 2020. International applicants should apply by December 31 to meet the Graduate School’s priority deadline. Domestic applicants should apply by one of the three deadlines detailed here. All available seats are filled by the end of April.
Do I need to complete all prerequisites before applying to the program?
You may complete prerequisite coursework concurrent with your application. You should inform us of any in-progress coursework and will need to provide a transcript once you have completed the course.
Am I required to take the GRE or GMAT?
No. We do not consider scores from standardized entrance exams such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) or Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) as part of the MSA admissions process.
As an international student, am I required to take the TOEFL or IELTS?
It depends. Refer to the English proficiency requirement to determine whether you qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS waiver.
Do I have to have all of my recommendation letters, transcripts and scores before I submit my application?
No. You may submit your application and send other materials later, but please note that the MSA admissions committee will not review an application until we’ve received all supporting documents. Please encourage your recommendation providers to submit their letters by the deadline under which you’re applying.
Will you notify me if something is missing from my application?
Applicants are responsible for ensuring the submission of all application materials, and should monitor their submission status via the Graduate School’s applicant portal. We will acknowledge receipt of your application and will make an effort to contact you if your application is incomplete as the deadline approaches.
What is the required length of an applicant’s personal statement?
There is no specific length requirement or page format. The typical personal statement, otherwise known as a statement of purpose (SOP), is 1-2 pages long. We are less interested in a narrative of your educational and/or work history, and more so in your professional aspirations and interest in our program.
Are interviews required?
We select applicants to interview based on the quality of the completed application, and we will not offer admission until a candidate has completed an interview with our admissions committee. If invited, you will receive an email containing instructions for scheduling your interview. We conduct interviews here at the Institute or remotely via video conference.
When and how will I receive an admission decision?
Please refer to our admission timelines for US citizens/permanent residents and international applicants for admission decision notification dates. You will receive an email notifying you that a decision recommendation is available in the Graduate School’s applicant portal. To protect student confidentiality, we do not provide admission decisions over the telephone. All admissions decisions are final.
May I re-apply if I am denied admission?
If you are denied admission, you may re-apply to the program in the future. We encourage re-applicants to highlight how you have strengthened your candidacy since your previous application.