I am not a resident of the USA and I am not familiar with the system and the hierarchy of fields of studies and specializations.

I have several questions:

  • Computer Science is a Major Field of Study, right? Are Software Engineering and Computer Graphics its specializations? Or what are they?

  • Universities have several schools/departments. Each offers Bachelor's, Master's, PhD's programs. But these programs are called just like Master of Computer Science, for example, and there is no clarification in which specialization I can get this Master of Science degree. In my country I can apply for a Master's program, and It has a specialization, like Master of Computer Science with Software Engineering specialization, or Master of Computer Science with Information Security specialization. Why there is no such clarification? Or do I apply for a program and then select a specialization which determines the courses I will study?

  • Is there a complete list of fields of studies and their specializations? There is a Management specialization, how can I learn is it related to Economics field of study or Business?

  • Are there official codes for specializations common among all the USA universities? So I can search which universities offer this specialization, for example, Corporate Finances with code 130007? Or where can I find this information?

  • There are really too many questions here. Let me note, however, that there is no national US system of higher education. Universities are free to make their own decisions on many of your questions. The US federal government tends to keep statistics, however.
    – Buffy
    May 8 '19 at 11:48
  • As @Buffy said, there is no national standardization of academic programs in the US. However, the US Department of Education has created a taxonomy of academic programs that it uses for statistics and that are also used for some other purposes (such as determining eligibility for extended Optional Practical Training for non-resident students.) See nces.ed.gov/ipeds/cipcode/Default.aspx?y=55 May 8 '19 at 17:42

The goal of undergraduate education in the US (at prestigious, "4-year" schools) is to get a broad foundation in the "liberal arts." Students will choose their majors and maybe even a specialization within that major, but only a small fraction of their efforts go into advanced, specialized knowledge. Most of their efforts go toward "foundational" skills within their general area, and even "general education" requirements that have nothing to do with their long-term plans.

So, getting the degree with the exact specialization you're interested in is not so critical. Most students will have simply a "BS in Computer Science" or Computer Engineering, which will allow them to apply for jobs in dozens of computer-related skills. Specialized knowledge is usually obtained through internships or participating in undergraduate research (or on the job after graduation).

Note also that things vary by school -- different degrees, specializations, organizations, etc. all vary. You would do well to choose a school (e.g., University of [State]") and study their system -- there is certainly a way to become, say, a software engineer with a degree from that school. You should also consider whether that school will admit you, and how you will pay for it.

There are also "technical schools" and community colleges that focus more on useful skills. These tend to be cheaper and faster, and can be a better fit for someone with narrow interests and a well-defined career path. These have a rather poor reputation among academics, however, partially because they are not at all selective (most admit everyone who applies).

  • So If I want to get a Master's degree, I just need to find universities which offer a Master of Computer Science program and apply to it, right? I mean I don't need to check if that university actually offers some Software Engineering or Information Security specialization, because that is not the point of universities to offser some specific knowledges, I only want to get a broad foundation, there is no specializations in the USA universities, right? I only can check the list of courses which a university offers on its Master's program to see what I actually will study, correct? May 9 '19 at 8:44
  • Every master's degree is a little different -- some might be better choices than others. But yes, to become, say, a software engineer, a master's in computer science from a well-known school is likely sufficient even without any additional specialization.
    – cag51
    May 9 '19 at 15:02

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