Frequently Asked Questions
Note: If you have questions about financial aid, see Frequently Asked FINANCIAL AID Questions.
0. What do your students say about your program?.
For student comments on the M.S. in Computer Science Program please see:
1. How is this program structured?.
For international students, the program begins with seven to eight months of full-time study on the campus of Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa. This is followed by up to two years of curricular practical training — full-time employment as an IT professional at a company somewhere within the USA. Note that the student works under his or her student visa and receives full compensation from the employer. During curricular practical training, the student completes academic requirements for the degree by taking several courses via distance education.
2. How is the program different for U.S. citizens and permanent residents, compared to the program for international students?.
There are four fundamental differences in the M.S. in Computer Science for U.S. citizens and permanent residents:
- Study for 12-13 months at the University in Fairfield, Iowa
- Optional 8 months practical training at a U.S. company as part of your program (receiving academic credit and full compensation from the company)
- Possibility to graduate in 12-13 months
- Use Federal Student Aid with no initial cash payment, low interest, long term loans, including cash for expenses
3. What are my chances of finding employment?.
The United States job market has recently been through some of its most challenging times. Many experts think that the overall economy has started to return to a more normal state, although there are of course a variety of views and opinions on this. Data indicates that the IT market sector has fared better than most other parts of the economy, and many of the largest companies have indicated that they continue to hire, and have growth plans for this next year.
In any economy there are always people getting new jobs, the question is who has that success, and how to be part of that. Many experts recommend that in a scarce job market one of the best things to do is to return to school to improve one's skills. We pre-select students for the program who have a strong background and thus have an advantage in the U.S. job market. This is one reason that it is important that you accurately and realistically represent you background and all other information in your application materials, since that helps us assess your job skills and placement potential.
4. How easy is it to find a practical training job? .
Each student brings a unique set of talents to the job market, so the ease of finding work and time to locate a job varies from person to person. However, there are several factors working in favor of our students:
The U.S. IT job market has many openings for Software and Web Developers. Over 800 companies have hired our students, including 80 of the largest U.S. firms (Fortune 500 companies). Some of these companies include: Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com, AT&T, Bank of America, Cisco, Federal Express, IBM, Verizon, Wal-Mart, Sun Microsystems, and Oracle.
Although certain types of companies in the U.S. have decreased their workforce in the past year (such as banks), the overall trend for IT professional employment is good. Most firms continue to hire, although some have decreased workforce sizes in cost saving measures.
Our students have earned recognition for our program. Many recruiters check with our Placement Office when new positions become available because of the excellent reports they receive from employers of our students. Employer comments.
Our students are well-prepared for the job market because of the cutting-edge content and practical nature of our courses. In addition, we provide a number of strong support mechanisms to prepare students for professional placements, and to support them throughout the process of job searching. While on campus all students take a job search workshop helps them increase their self-confidence and their ability to get a job. It prepares them for job interviews, communication skills, and other job search methods, helping to make them more successful in locating their ideal job.
5. Does the University select my U.S. practical training position for me?.
You can apply for any IT practical training job you desire. The University has relationships with many U.S. technology companies, but you can apply for a practical training job with any other company. The University’s IT job specialists will provide support and advice. You are encouraged and expected to take the initiative in obtaining your practical training job. Our students have been hired by Microsoft, IBM, Sun, Amazon.com, Oracle, General Electric, Cisco, AT&T Bell Labs, and many other leading U.S. companies.
6. May I negotiate my own salary?.
Yes. The University's Computer Professionals Career Center will help you determine the appropriate compensation based on your skills, experience and geographic area of interest. The average starting salary for employed Computer Professionals students has been US$60,000 - 70,000 per year.
7. In these challenging economic times, what is the University doing to help students find good curricular practical training (CPT) jobs?.
This is a very important question. Recently, the University has instituted a number of programs and practices to help our MSCS students gain high quality CPT employment:
- For those who need some English improvement, we have additional help available after classes several days a week.
- The Computer Science Career Counseling Center offers all students:
- A 2-week job search workshop to develop resume and job interviewing skills, understanding of US workplace culture and practices, knowledge and use of job search research resources.
- Professional job search counselors to advise and work individually with each student throughout their job search and contract negotiation.
- An active database of more than 800 previous employers.
- Professional resume writing service.
- Transportation and housing assistance for students getting established in new CPT positions.
- Advice in dealing with issues that arise while working and living around the US.
- Our Admissions Office is giving greater consideration to applicants having at least a year of full-time professional experience.
8. Is it guaranteed that I will obtain a practical training position?.
Like any other university, we do not guarantee practical training jobs for all students since the U.S. economy and job market are subject to change.
9. What are the entry dates for the Computer Professionals Program?.
Fairfield town square during monthly ArtWalk.
Entry dates are in February, late May, and October. (Note: Entry dates are subject to change or cancellation by the University.)
10. What is the deadline for submitting an application?.
International Applicants: The time required to obtain an F-1 student visa varies with each country, so we have no formal application deadlines. If you apply for a specific entry date and do not obtain a visa in time, you may request that your application be used to apply for the next entry date.
Applicants currently in the USA: We have no formal application deadlines, but U.S. citizens and other applicants currently residing in the U.S. should apply more than one month before the desired entry date to ensure that the processing is completed in time.
(Note: Acceptance criteria are subject to change, so applicants who are accepted for one entry date may not automatically be accepted for a future entry date.)
11. What kind of visa is issued to candidates from other countries?.
If you are from a country other than the U.S., you will apply for an F-1 student visa as a graduate-level student. This visa permits you to study in the U.S. and also allows you to work up to two years in practical training positions with U.S. companies. We will issue you an I-20 form to be used in applying for your F-1 visa.
12. Is transfer credit accepted?.
If you have already completed some graduate study in computer science, up to two courses may be transferred toward your Master’s degree at Maharishi University of Management. Transfer credits are subject to the review and approval of the University’s Computer Science Department.
13. Is there a thesis option for the Computer Professionals Program?.
We do not offer a standard option for doing an M.S. research thesis in the Computer Professionals Program. This is because a research thesis requires a specialization in one area of advanced Computer Science, and our program is more targeted to applied areas of computing than research areas. In addition, Computer Professionals Program students are on campus for a shorter period of time than regular full-time M.S. students, and thus would not have adequate time to work closely and collaborate with the faculty for such a research track.
We do sometimes offer an option to have a student do a directed research course, in which the result is a written report similar to a thesis, but the requirements are less stringent in terms of requiring an original contribution to the research in the area, and are instead that the project and result demonstrate a significant achievement of original and creative nature.
Availability of such a special study course is contingent on the availability of faculty resources, and a match between the student interests and the faculty expertise and research areas.
14. How will an M.S. degree in Computer Science affect my future earning potential?.
A recent InfoWorld compensation survey found that the average salary of computer professionals with an M.S. degree in Computer Science is US$14,525 more per year than the average salary of those without one.
15. What is the Transcendental Meditation technique, and why is it an integral part of the academic program?.
The Transcendental Meditation technique is a simple, natural, effortless procedure for reducing stress and awakening the total creative potential of your brain. It is easily learned and practiced twice a day, sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It is not a religion or philosophy. It does not involve moral training, belief, or worship. More than five million people have learned the Transcendental Meditation technique throughout the world, including people of all ages, cultures, religions, and professions.
Students consider the practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique one of the keys to their academic and professional success. All students in the Computer Professionals Program are instructed in the Transcendental Meditation technique upon enrollment in the program. Twice-daily group practice of the Transcendental Meditation technique is a required part of the Computer Professionals Program.
16. How can I best prepare for your program?.
In a recent survey, here's what current students recommend:
- Practice your English.
- Learn Java programming.
- Bring warm clothing for winter (December - March).
- If possible, learn the Transcendental Meditation technique before coming to the USA.
17. Are there other special features of student life at Maharishi University of Management?.
Coon River recreation area, Missouri.
University life has been structured for our students to enjoy maximum growth. As a result most of the activities that cause problems and suffering at other educational institutions such as crime are virtually nonexistent on our campus. The use of drugs, alcohol, and tobacco products are not permitted on campus.
Students enjoy a rich and wholesome vegetarian diet. No meat, chicken, or fish is served on campus. Near the campus are several international restaurants (including Chinese, Indian, and Thai).
University courses are taught on the block system — one course per month. This system allows students to go more deeply into each subject and retain more knowledge with greater ease and enjoyment.
18. What will happen if I fail the initial Direct Track Qualification Test?.
Upon arrival at the University, students who do not perform well on the Direct Track Qualification Test are reviewed for accuracy of their application materials, and may be allowed to instead take the Preparatory Track Qualification test to enter that track.
19. What will happen if I fail the initial Preparatory Track Qualification Test?.
Because the Fundamentals of Programming Practices (FPP) entrance requirements are the minimal to enter the program, students who do not perform well on the Preparatory Track Qualification Test are subject to dismissal, though each case is reviewed individually. For this reason, it is vital to be accurate in all of your admissions materials for accurate evaluation, and sufficiently prepared to meet entrance requirements before coming. Make full use of the review and self-evaluation materials we provide here and make sure you meet the standards described in the Requirements section of this website.
20. What will happen if I do not pass FPP or MPP?.
Because the Modern Programming Practices (MPP) course serves to both verify entrance requirements and to give an adequate introduction for all other courses, it is a requirement to pass it. Students who do not pass MPP are asked to return home and strengthen in the required entrance areas, and then re-apply. Similarly, because FPP is a prerequisite to MPP, a student who fails FPP is also subject to dismissal. We have found through experience that those few students who do not pass FPP or MPP have arrived here without sufficient background in Computer Science basics, and often with inaccurate evaluations of experience and background on their applications. This observation underscores the importance of applying for the program only after the basic prerequisites have been met.
21. How can students and parents learn more about the University and the community?.
The University publishes an annual University Report which provides an informative summary of accomplishments and news about MUM and the Fairfield community.
22. What practical training positions are Computer Professionals students getting? .
In the past few months, our students have gotten full-paying practical training jobs in US companies as:
- Software Developer
- Software Programmer
- Database Administrator/Developer
- IT Consultant
- Network Administrator/Developer
- Network Engineer
- Quality Assurance Engineer
- Software Engineer
- Software Engineer in Test
- System Analyst
- System Engineer
- Web Developer
23. What is the weather like in Fairfield, Iowa?.
24. What do employers say about your students? .
Please click here for employer comments.
25. Is there a program for students who already have a Masters degree in Computer Science?.
We do not currently offer a post MS degree program for students that have completed an M.S. in Computer Science. However, because MS programs vary in focus and specialization, individuals with a masters degree may apply to do our MS program which focuses on object oriented programming.
26. Is it possible to get a Continuing Education Master's degree by Distance Education?.
We offer most of our M.S. in Computer Science courses by Distance Education. The mode of learning is either through DVD's (of recorded on-campus lectures), or by streaming videos online. However, the University policy is that no more than 2 courses can be taken until the introductory course in the Science and Technology of Consciousness (STC) is also taken. The STC course is available online starting August 20, 2012. That is also the date that our whole degree will be available by Distance Education, but please note that all students must first learn the Transcendental Meditation technique (http://www.tm.org) before final acceptance can be given. So, right now, anyone can sign up for 1-2 Distance Education courses (see http://decourse.cs.mum.edu) to apply for a course, but if they would like to take the whole degree, they must apply to the general MS program first to make sure that they qualify for the degree program.
27. Do you offer a Management Information Systems (MIS) program by Distance Education?.
Yes. Starting in August 2013, MUM will offer a Graduate MIS Certificate to help meet the great demand for dynamic MIS professionals who know how to effectively align and deploy information systems to support business strategy and maximize business performance. Targeted at programmers and junior IT professionals, this competitively priced 18-credit online Graduate Certificate program in Management Information Systems (MIS) can help you further your career by helping you transition to Business Analyst and IT management roles, and make yourself more effective in these roles.
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