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20 Jan 2023

Education System in the United States

Education System in the United States
When we plan to continue our education in any abroad destination, it’s essential to understand the education system of that particular country. Among the top three countries that spends on quality education, USA is one. Therefore, USA is one of the best destinations for studying as they make a large investment in their education system that involves research activities. Universities and Colleges in America has its own unique system. Though it is in line with the education system of the world yet it has its own features as well. After the high school they have various options to choose from. Basically, the progression is education system in the United States is as below: • Associate degree • Bachelor’s / Undergraduate degree • Master’s /Graduate degree • Doctoral degree

Associate Degree:

The education system in the United States begin with associate degree. The first two years of college, which is also known as the Freshman year and the sophomore year is overall known as an Associate degree. This can be completed either in a community college or a university. If the student has completed his first two years in the community college, he can then get entry into the third year of his Bachelor’s degree.

Bachelor’s degree:

The undergraduate or the Bachelor’s degree is a four-year full-time course, provided in the universities. These universities are either state owned or private. Only around 20% students in US go to a private university as they tend to have more expensive fee structures. The university is either a Liberal Arts or a Specialized one. The liberal arts will have more generalized courses whereas the specialized will focus only on one area in particular. As per the current trend the Liberal Arts colleges are becoming more popular choice amongst the students. Most students will also have to produce scores of SAT or ACT as the basic requirement to get into a Bachelor’s course.

Master’s Degree:

In the US, a postgraduate degree is referred as a Graduate degree. The universities offering Bachelors course will also generally have the Master’s and PhD courses as well. The master’s program in US is either academic or professional. Most of the students who go for a Masters degree will have to go through tests like GRE or GMAT, in order to get funding and scholarships. Master’s degree are usually a two years program.

Doctoral degree:

The final part of eduation system in the united states is the doctoral degree. The PhD, is also a postgraduate degree and is the highest academic degree available in the US. Students are more focused on a particular research rather than general subjects. They need to produce an original research to earn this degree. Most of the PhD courses will be funded by the state or the government. However, in US, even the PhD students might have to sit for a written examination. The PhD can be a four to seven years course.


In USA there are two major intakes. The fall session, which generally starts during August and the spring session that starts from January/February. The Fall session is the main intake and provides students with a lot of funding options. Whereas, the spring intake is mainly focused on the international students. Few universities might also have a summer intake, during May/June for the undergraduate courses but they are not very common and also will not provide much scholarships.

Teaching Methodology

The classes in US are mainly oriented towards practical learning rather than memorizing and rote learning making it one of the best education system in the world. Classes in US universities are quite diverse as different nationalities are included. This provides opportunities for more exposure and encourages cross-cultural understanding and improved networking.
The American education system is more oriented towards creative and independent learning. Group discussions, debates, classroom interactions, assignments are some of the common forms of learning in America. Most of the grades are earned though assignments rather than term end examination.
Classes at the universities can be a combination of lectures and tutorials. Tutorials are much smaller with just around 25 to 30 students. The classes are more focused on a particular topic. Whereas the lectures will have around 100 to 200 students and will be more generalized a concept. Problems that students come across in lectures can be discussed in the tutorials.

Tuition Cost and Funding

The tuition fee can range from $3000 to $60000 per annum. The community colleges are quite affordable with just around $3000 to $5000 tuition fee per year. In comparison, the Bachelors and Masters level at the universities are quite expensive. Besides, the fee at Private institutions are more expensive compared to the State Universities. The fee for domestic students is much less compared to that of international students but few universities will charge the same tuition fee for both domestic as well as out of state students. The PhD will mostly be funded by the state. The fees will have to be paid upfront in installments. However, it is paid only when the visa is granted.


Most of the Universities will provide funding either in the form of scholarships and fellowships or as assistantships. The scholarships are either granted by the state or by an individual as well and the amount of grant can cover either partial or full tuition fee. In order to get scholarships, the undergraduate students need to get a good score in SAT or ACT along with a high score in academics. Similarly, the graduate students need to get good score in GRE or GMAT.
However, the funding in American universities are quite liberal as international students can also apply for teaching assistantship, research assistantships or graduate assistantships. These are different areas in which the students have to work as assistants and will be paid some salary in return. This can be used to pay for their living and tuition. Sometime, student can also add up to their savings from such funding.
Besides, institutional funding there could be government scholarships as well.

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