Understanding US Higher Education – What Degrees Are Available?

Understanding US Higher Education - What Degrees Are Available?The US higher educational system offers international students a broad range of options in choosing the right school for your career-training needs.

Undergraduate Study

The first level of post-secondary education in the US includes two-year and four-year programs.

  • Two-year degree programs are offered at community or junior colleges and lead to an “associate degree.” Many also offer transfer programs that will allow you to complete your first two years at one school, then transfer to a four-year program. To learn more, see our community college webinar to learn more about these programs.
  • Four-year programs at US colleges and universities often lead to a “bachelor’s degree” (or baccalaureate). Often, you will have courses in your chosen field of study mixed with a broad range of courses such as language classes, world history, mathematics, science, and liberal arts.

Graduate Study

Once you have earned a bachelor’s degree, you can continue your academic study to earn a “master’s degree” (MA) or “doctoral degree” (PhD) in your chosen field – or a professional degree such as law (JD) or medicine (MD). A master’s degree usually requires 1-2 years of full-time study while doctoral and professional degrees require at least three years of full-time study.

Types of Institutions – Public or Private?

When choosing a school to complete your studies, you may also want to consider the type of institution, specifically whether it is public or private. While nearly all institutions receive some type of government financial support, public institutions rely heavily on public funding and are often cheaper alternatives to costlier private institutions which depend on tuition, fees and donations from alumni and private citizens.



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