I am an Indian citizen and I'm planning to go for my bachelors to Germany. Since schooling in Germany is 13 years in length, I'll study 1 year in India before going there. I wanted to ask that after completing my Bachelor's in Germany, will I be eligible to apply for Masters in USA straightaway right after my BS (I plan to pursue a BS in Computer Science). I had this doubt in my mind as BS in Germany would be 3 years compared to that in USA which is 4 years.

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    Please note that school nowadays takes 12 years in Germany (although I don't see how that's important), and that most Master programs are two-year programs.
    – Niko
    Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 20:56
  • related: PhD in the US compared to Europe and to some extent: academia.stackexchange.com/q/34457/10643
    – Cape Code
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 6:47
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    @Niko - It depends on the state. Some states have 12 years of school, others have 13. Whether it is 13 or 12 is in constant flux, and sometimes a student can even choose.
    – DCTLib
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 8:26
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    My friend started PhD in Caltech after 3-year Bachelor's in Poland - so it's certainly possible. But as there is no 1-1 mapping between Continental European and US degrees, it may depend on a university, field, some exceptions being made (or not) etc. Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 9:23

3 Answers 3


The answer to your question is yes, no, and maybe. It all depends on where in the US you want to go.

As Brian indicated in his answer, these are some universities that don't accept a three-year bachelor:

However, there are certainly universities that do accept a three-year bachelor:

And then there are who evaluate the three-year bachelor on a case-by-case basis:

Certainly, this list is incomplete. So, do your own search if you like to apply in the US, and if a university does not state anything about the three-year bachelor, ask their Graduate Admissions office.

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    Some may "accept" the degree, however, you then might need to take additional Bachelors level courses before being admitted to the Master's. This is also common in the US where one changes fields.
    – MikeP
    Commented Nov 1, 2016 at 21:45

Many universities in the US will not admit foreign students as graduate students after a 3 year bachelor's degree. Students in this situation typically complete a master's degree, some kind of post graduate certificate or an "honors degree" in the English system.

You're right to be concerned about this, but there aren't any easy solutions.

Some examples (from a quick google search): San Jose State University, UNCC, and University of Idaho.

  • So If I pursue MS also from Germany which is of 1 year again , will I then be eligible for admission into the Masters programme in USA because then, wouldn't i have 2 masters degree? Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 19:38
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    Yes, you could then apply to MS and PhD programs in the US. Some programs might make you start by earning a second MS degree, depending on how strong your application looks. It's not uncommon for students to earn 2 masters degrees on the way to a PhD. Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 19:51
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    Can you clarify your answer a bit more, what is the reason they won't admit foreign students into Masters after Bachelor? I myself applied for a US Masters after my Dutch 3-year Bachelor. Although I did not get accepted in the US, I went to another country. When I did join a summer project in the US, I met plenty of Masters students from Europe - and at least in the Netherlands all Bachelor degrees are 3 year. So I must admit, I very much doubt the correctness of your answer.
    – DoubleYou
    Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 6:07
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    @DoubleYou the idea behind such policies is simply that 3 year bachelor's degrees aren't equivalent to four year US bachelor's degrees. That's a debatable point, and I don't want to personally defend such policies- I'm simply stating the fact that such policies exist in many universities. Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 12:33
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    Of course, I understand that. However, I felt your answer was quite negative and did not provided a complete answer to the OP. Therefore, I posted my own answer. I did link your examples in it too.
    – DoubleYou
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 9:10

There are some schools that try to make up for their lack of goodness by making it harder for prospective students to get in.

But the best schools only care about enrolling people who will succeed.

A friend of mine is a case in point: she got into a prestigious MBA program even though she'd never attended university at all, never mind having a degree. She'd gone into the world of work straight out of secondary school, married, had 2 kids, and only thought about going back to school when her kids were teenagers, she was divorced, and she wanted to go into management rather than remain a Principal Software Engineer at a major company in the computer industry.

The school took one look at her record of accomplishment, brushed aside her lack of tertiary education, and 2 years later awarded her an MBA with honors.

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