Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2019


Ramin Neshati

Course Title

Decision Making

Course Number

ETM 530/630


Graduate students -- College choice, Universities and colleges -- United States -- Comparison, Decision making, Hierarchical Decision Model


Graduate study comprises of sophisticated degree program which focuses on academic mastery or profession. It will build a strong foundation which emphasis on research and practical training. When it comes to pursuing master, there are many options to consider but the most important option is college and your interest. As USA is a home to many of the world’s most prestigious universities (including half of the global top 10), and hosts more international students than any other country. The master’s degree in USA is mostly research-based which helps the students to build skill set and knowledge that help them grow in carrier. It is about creating future opportunities. Pursuing master is not an easy step, but a considerable amount of homework and efforts which goes under before getting into your dream university. Everyone can pursue masters in their hometown but the opportunities and exposure to knowledge that USA provides us is not always comparable.

There are lot of universities providing great education and opportunities for students. So, we have to consider different parameters like finance, length of the course, safety around the campus, immigration rules, etc. before shortlisting the universities. The approach of this study considers top five universities in USA for pursuing master’s in computer science field. Hierarchical Decision Model (HDM) is used to make decision to prioritize the top five universities. And the parameters for the ultimate goal are defined on the basis of extensive research and expert’s opinion. To make the decision, ETM-HDM online software is used, which allows the pairwise comparison and ranking to the ultimate goal. The model has four levels: Goal, Criteria, Sub-criteria and Alternatives. Group of 10 experts has provided their rating for decision making. Experts consists of the industry professional holding US master’s degree, current graduate students and graduate aspirants.

The outcome of this model, i.e. the top five universities for pursuing masters were prioritized based on the ranking provided by the experts. Based on the rankings, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) was the most preferred option. The ranking for the criteria’s and sub-criteria’s defines the final decision. “Opportunity” is the highly weighted criteria for the ranking in this university. As we all know the investment for master’s program is high which can overpower by the opportunities you will get post masters.

The current research report doesn’t concentrate on visa requirement or the immigration formalities for international student. The model can be further modified accordingly to concentrate on the above parameters.


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