American Education System

Strong research and funding have helped make United States colleges and universities among the world’s most prestigious and leading, making them particularly  attractive for international students, professors and researchers in the pursuit of academic excellence.

The American education system offers a good choice of schools, programs, and locations for international students. As you begin your school search, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the American education system. Understanding the system will help you filter your choices and develop your education plan depends on your goals.

visamatch3The U.S. Higher Education System: Levels of Study

  • First Level: Undergraduate

For the student who is studying at the undergraduate level, it typically takes about four years to earn a bachelor’s degree. You can either begin your studies in pursuit of a bachelor’s degree at a community college, four-year university or college.

First two years of study you will generally be required to take a wide variety of classes in different subjects: literature, science, the social sciences, the arts, history, and so forth. This is so you achieve a general knowledge, a foundation, of a variety of subjects prior to focusing on a specific field of study.

A “major” is the specific field of study in which your degree is focused. For example, if someone’s major is Marketing, they will earn a Bachelor of Science in Marketing. You will be required to take a certain number of courses in this field in order to meet the degree requirements of your major. Usually, you must choose your major at the beginning of your third year of school.

A unique characteristic of the American higher education system is that you can change your major multiple times if you choose. Often, students discover a different field that they excel in or enjoy. It’s beneficial and attractive that American education system is very flexible. But you should keep in mind that switching majors may result in more courses, which means more time and money.

  • Second Level: Graduate / Master’s Degree

Presently, a graduate student with a bachelor’s degree may seriously think about graduate study in order to enter certain professions or advance their career. This degree is usually mandatory for higher-level positions.

Graduate programs in pursuit of a master’s degree typically take one to two years to complete. For example, the MBA (Master of Business Administration) is an extremely popular degree program that takes about two years. Other master’s programs, such as journalism, only take one year.

A graduate program is usually a department of a university or college. To gain admission, you will need to take the GRE (graduate record examination). Certain master’s programs require specific tests, such as the LSAT for law school, the GRE or GMAT for business school, and the MCAT for medical school.

The majority of a master’s program is spent in classroom study and a graduate student must prepare a good research paper called a “master’s thesis” or complete a “master’s project.”

  • Third Level: Graduate / Doctorate Degree

Many graduate schools consider the attainment of a master’s degree the first step towards earning a Ph.D. (doctorate). But at other schools, students may prepare directly for a doctorate without also earning a master’s degree. For international students, it may take four to six years or more to earn a Ph.D. degree.

For the first two years of the program, most doctoral candidates enroll in classes and seminars. At least another year is spent conducting firsthand research and writing a thesis or dissertation.  A doctoral dissertation is a discussion and summary of the current scholarship on a given topic. Most U.S. universities awarding doctorates also require their candidates to pass a qualifying examination that officially admits candidates to the Ph.D. program and to pass an oral examination on the same topic as the dissertation.

The Educational Structure

Grading System

Academic transcripts are official copies of your academic work. Just like American students, you will have to submit your academic transcripts as part of your application for admission to university or college. In the U.S. this includes your “grades” and “grade point average” (GPA), which are measurements of your academic achievement. Courses are commonly graded using percentages, which are converted into letter grades.

The grading system and GPA in the U.S. can be confusing, especially for international students.
Therefore, there are some crucial things to keep in mind:
You should find out the U.S. equivalent of the last level of education you completed in your home country.

. Grade Grade Point Value
A 93-100 4.00
A- 90-92 3.67
B+ 87-89 3.33
B 83-86 3
B- 80-82 2.67
C+ 77-79 2.33
C 73-76 2
C- 70-72 1.67
D+ 67-69 1.33
D 60-66 1
F 0-59 1
I Incomplete 0

Pay attention to the admission requirements and individual degree programs, which may have different requirements than the university.
Meet with an educational advisor or guidance counselor to make sure you are meeting the requirements. They will be able to advise you on whether or not you must spend an extra year or two preparing for U.S. university admission.

Types of U.S. higher education

1. State College or University
A state school is supported and run by a state or local government. Each of the 50 U.S. states operates at least one  public state university and possibly several state colleges. For example, Illinois State University and the University of Michigan.

2. Private College or University
These schools are privately run as opposed to being run by a branch of the government. Tuition will usually be higher than state schools. Often, private U.S. universities and colleges are smaller in size than state schools.

3. Community College
Community colleges are two-year colleges that award an associate’s degrees (transferable), as well as certifications. There are many types of associate degrees, but the most important distinguishing factor is whether or not the degree is transferable. Community college graduates most commonly transfer to four-year colleges or universities to complete their degree.

Many also offer ESL or intensive English language programs, which will prepare students for university-level courses.

If you do not plan to earn a higher degree than the associate’s, you should find out if an associate’s degree will qualify you for a job in your home country.

Student Expenses

While the US remains the world’s most popular destination for international students, it’s also among the most expensive choices. The cost of education depends on the field of study, program, place and quality of the university, varies significantly. To have an accurate estimate of the costs, you can consult with our experts who can help you with. The following table shows the range of costs related to each degree. The cost of education in private universities will be higher.

Program /Degree Estimate Tuition & Fees / per year
1 English as a Second Language Program (ESL) $ 3 500 – $10 000
2 BA/BS/BBA/BEng $ 14 000 – $20 000
3 MA/MS/MEng $ 15 000 – $25 000
4 MBA $ 20 000 – $35 000
5 PhD $ 15 000 – $22 000
6 Medicine, Pharmacology and Dentistry $ 35 000 – $50 000

Student living expenses

The approximate annual living expenses are about $10,000, which includes accommodation as well as other daily expenses. However, the expenses are different for different people depending on the lifestyles and this is just a rough idea. Our expert finding the suitable university for the applicant can offer an accurate estimate of the cost of living in the areas around the university.

Living Expenses Estimate Expenses /per year
1 Books and other academic resources $ 700 – $ 1 000
2 Rent and student accommodation $ 6 000 – $ 10 000
3 Food $ 2 000 – $ 4 000
4 Transportation $ 800 – $ 1 200
5 Student Health Insurance $ 300 – $ 1 000
Average annual cost of a student life $ 10 000

It’s been not a secret that the US is one of the most expensive nations in which to pursue higher education. But don’t let that put you off, and make your dreams come true! There are hundreds of opportunities to gain valuable funding for your studies.

As an international student, you won’t be eligible for much of the funding intended for US nationals. However, as US universities prioritize internationalization, the number of international scholarships to study in the US has been growing rapidly in recent years, and this trend seems likely to continue.

Programs of U.S. Higher Education

Bachelor Degree

The United States is a country that combines diverse geography and culture with a reputation for academic excellence, making it a leading destination for students pursuing bachelor’s degrees. It’s a melting pot of ethnicities, nationalities, races, classes, and opinions, and with a large number of foreign students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs all over the country, the USA is a wonderful place to further your education. No matter what program of study interests you, you’re sure to find something to meet your needs. The USA is particularly well-known for a large number of non-traditional options for pursuing a master’s degree, such as part-time studies, online programs, and distance learning options.

The most common type of undergraduate program is a bachelor’s degree, usually awarded after four years of successful study.

There is a huge choice of bachelor’s degrees in United States America – learn how to choose a major or our experts can advise you make a right choice. Depending on your major, the type of degree you earn may be a Bachelor of Arts (BA), Bachelor of Science (BS/BSc), Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), Bachelor of Fine Arts (BFA), Bachelor of Commerce (BCom), or another type of award.

Master Degree

The US higher education system uses the traditional three tiers – bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate. Although most master’s degrees fall into the category of Master of Arts, Master of Science, or Master of Business Administration, many specialty degrees exist as well.

Admission to a master’s program varies widely. Some programs will accept students with as little as an application and transcript, while other programs require letters of recommendation and exams such as the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) and Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT). Non-native English speakers may also be required to demonstrate English proficiency via an accredited English language test like TOEFL. Be sure to check the specific requirements for each school and plan ahead to take exams if needed.

Tuition and fees vary widely for different programs depending upon the type of school (public or private), the program of study, and the student’s state of residence or nationality. Students who are US citizens and residents of a specific state will receive the lowest tuition rates for public institutions in that state (in-state tuition). US citizens who are residents of another state and international students will pay the highest rates (out-of-state tuition). Typical in-state tuition is about $12,000 per year, while out-of-state tuition is about $30,000. Private schools also typically charge around $30,000 per year. However, scholarships, grants, and loans are widely available to help defray costs. Master’s programs are usually one to two years long and most combine coursework with a research project. Some technical master’s programs require a research thesis that must be publically defended.

More than 750,000 international students attend universities and other higher education institutes in the USA each year. In addition to offering high-quality master’s degrees in virtually every subject imaginable, studying in the USA also offers cultural opportunities and provides non-native English-speaking students with additional language experience.

Whether students want to remain in the USA when they complete their studies or look for opportunities in other countries, they will find that employers understand the value of a master’s degree from a US school. Those wanting to remain in the USA will find many employment opportunities in a wide variety of industries including aerospace, banking, software, and education.

Take the first step now towards a master’s degree in the USA your new education adventure by browsing the programs below. Contact our counselors and you will get the best consultation you need.

English as a Second Language/ESL Programs

Learning a second language has become necessary due to globalization. In the international workplace, many different languages are spoken. Speaking multiple languages helps in communicating well with everyone but presents many more advantages. There are so many benefits of learning a second language: boosts thinking capabilities, increased productivity at work, enhances living abroad, increase cultural familiarity, relieves the stress of travel, making friends abroad is easier and many many more….

The USA is the most popular destination to study English as a Second Language, with schools and locations in the USA offering ESL programs and locations to suit every need. Click on any program to view more information, or refine your search within the USA by the state.

Most states in the USA have many English as a Second Language programs, with schools and locations offering ESL programs and locations to suit every need. Please use the form below to refine your search for ESL programs in the USA even further and find a program that is right for you!