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Study options in USA

When it comes to sheer numbers the United States is among the top places for higher education in the world as it has over 4000 Universities and Colleges currently functioning. Even quality wise, the US is one of the places that your certificate will have a global acceptance due to the prestige that comes with studying in any of its universities and colleges.  The latest cutting-edge discoveries are often hatched in the labs of US universities, and it comes as no surprise when the ranking of the top 100 universities in the world has over 25 US-based universities.

As an international student, you have a wide array of options to choose from, no matter what your area of prospect might be. And at whatever level you seek to gain entry, whether Undergraduate, Masters or Doctorate degrees, you will find a perfect Institution that will meet your educational standards and budgetary means.

Undergraduate Degrees

The Undergraduate level of education in the US is split into two main categories, namely the Associate’s Degree and the Bachelor’s Degree

Associate’s Degree

 This is the first category of the undergraduate degree that is offered in the United States’ Universities and Colleges. It is a typically 2-year program for students that take a full-time study and is usually awarded by the community colleges, technical schools and a number of 4-year colleges. After completion, the student has two options of either taking on the employment route or furthering their education in a 4-year university degree.  There are several kinds of Associate’s degrees that are available for the international student to pick from, with the Associate of Arts (A.A) requiring a student to complete a 60-hour course program, and it is often awarded for students in the English Language, History and Music fields of study. Others include Associate of Science (A.S) and Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) that are awarded to students in fields as diverse as Chemistry, Biology, Engineering and Political Sciences.

Bachelor’s Degree

 These are the standard degree programs that come after an Associate Degree that cover a span of a standard 4 years to complete. They are the most widely spread degree programs as most four year Universities and Colleges exclusively offer Bachelor’s degrees in their undergraduate category. If you an applying directly for a Bachelor’s degree spot, you have quite a number of options to pick from depending on your qualifications and area of interest:

  • Bachelor of Arts: One of the widest bachelor’s degree fields with a large number of areas to major in. Its focus is on all forms of arts and almost Universities and Colleges offer a few Arts Degrees
  • Bachelor of Science: If your high school education in your home country is centred on sciences then you will be ready to fulfil the enrollment requirements for a Bachelor’s Degree in Sciences.  From Chemistry to Physics, you will go through intensive and up-to-date courses in your field. Bachelor’s Degree in sciences may, however, require you to take on some general courses in the first few years of your study.
  • Bachelor’s of Fine Arts: This should not be confused with the Bachelor’s of Arts (B.A) discussed earlier. Te Bachelor of Fine Arts is exclusively focused on performing arts such as singing, dancing, acting and some aspects of painting. If you are a protégé that wants to exploit your talents to their maximum, then the Fine Arts degree is the one you should be aiming for.
  • Bachelor of Applied Sciences: This is a specialized degree that focuses on advanced technical training in the science field and is sometimes toned with some liberal arts.

Graduate Degrees

After a successful procurement of a first degree, an international student has the option of seeking for a post-graduate degrees spot in any of the Universities and Colleges available. The post-graduate field, however, is wide and must not be restricted to just the Master's Degree as this is a level that offers the student some advanced level professional training. The main levels of the post-graduate degrees offered in the US are:

Masters Degree

This is the first step in the post-graduate level where a student is allowed to specialize their knowledge to a certain niche within their general field. A typical Masters Degree program lasts between the period of 1 and 2 years, and it is a pre-requisite on the student to attain a certain minimum CGPA at the end of their undergraduate studies in order to be considered for a Masters Program.

Like other levels of University education, it is generally divided into the areas of focus of the student. From the Masters of Arts (M.A) which covers Language, Communication, Music and Social Sciences to Masters of Science (M.Sc) which is mainly concerned with the health and science sectors with a special interest in research.

Other areas include Masters of Business Administration which is one of the most prestigious qualifications in the world and is mainly focused on grooming new business leaders. With Masters of Philosophy (M.Phil) and Masters of Research (M.Res) making up the rest of the list

Doctoral Degrees

This is the highest degree level one can attain at a US university or College and is popularly known as simply the PhD. In order to gain entry into a PhD program, the international student needs to demonstrate that they have successfully completed a Masters Program in a relevant field while attaining the required minimum scores. Another thing that will smoothen entry is a recommendation letter written in favour of the student. The common PhD programs available include:

  • Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD): This is the peak degree anyone can attain in most areas of study, which comes after an intensive research-based course program.  It is often termed the terminal degree as there is no other kind of degree that comes after it.
  • Juri’s Doctor (J.D): If you are in the legal field and want to pursue the doctorate, then at the end of your study you will be given the Juri’s Doctor, which is the highest qualification available for any professional in the legal field.
  • Doctor of Medicine (M.D): As the name implies this is solely for doctors after which there is no other qualification to seek in the medical field.


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