The higher education system in the USA offers flexibility to the students to pursue subjects based on their interests.
Undergraduate: Undergraduate courses in the USA are the ones that a student pursues at a college or a university before earning a bachelor’s degree. Students usually achieve a bachelor’s degree in four years. Students can take up studies in a community college or a four-year university to attain a bachelor’s degree.
- The first two years: Over the first two years of the undergraduate program in the USA, students are required to take up pre-requisite courses. These can be across a variety of subjects such as literature, social sciences, history, arts etc. This enables general knowledge of multiple subjects and forms the basis for the students before concentrating on a single subject or field of study.
Several international students take up the pre-requisite courses at a community college and thus secure an Associate of Arts (AA) transfer degree. They can then transfer to a college or university with this degree.
At the start of the 3rd year, students are required to choose a major. A major is a specified field in which you will get your degree. For instance, if you choose your major as mathematics, you will get a Bachelor’s degree in mathematics. To fulfil the degree requirements of the major, you will have to complete multiple courses.
A striking feature of the academic structure of American universities is the capability to change your major multiple times, based on interest. This flexibility to change majors ensures that a student does what he/she finds maximum interest in. Students can also do double majors. This, however, will mean taking up more courses and thus spending more time and money.
Graduate: A graduate course from the USA means a master’s degree. A graduate course facilitates jobs at higher level positions. It is an ideal way to advance your career or enter a profession of your choice.
A graduate course can be taken up at a university or a college. A GRE (graduate record examination) test is mandatory for admission. There are other specific tests too such as GMAT for business schools or LSAT for law school, MCAT for medical school.
It is typically a 2-year long program.
A major part of the graduate study program is taught using the classroom mode and a student must submit a research paper called the master’s thesis or master’s project.
Opportunities for training and research
Students can access multiple research and training opportunities at the graduate level. They could assist a professor as a teaching assistant and thus, work on their skillset and knowledge. This can help them to earn to maintain their expenses. They can assist with research and gain further insight into their field of study.