Study in USA

Mrunmayai Bobade
Updated on Jan 06, 2023 5:36 PM IST

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  • 5665

    Courses Offered in USA
  • 5%

    International Students
  • USD 30000

    Average Cost Of Study

Overview

Study in USA is the best investment for your future. The USA is home to the highest number of top-ranked universities that offer quality education, infrastructure and technological advancement. It has 4000+ Universities, 8 Ivy league institutions and 1 million international students who have the wonderful avenue of not just growing academically but also socially and culturally.

US universities and colleges offer a wide range of degrees and courses at both Bachelors and Masters levels. The best part about the higher education system in the US is the flexibility it offers in terms of students' needs, interests and academic goals. Along with that, there are various scholarships to study in USA for Indian students.

Being a global leader in STEM innovation and literacy, a majority of internationalstudents pursue STEM fields in the USA.STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) educationequips students with the relevant knowledge and skills to make them industry-ready and more employable.

According to IIE's Open Doors Report 2020, around 52% of foreign students in the US pursued majors in STEM fields. With the increasing demand for STEM graduates in the employment sector across the world, the number of international students leaning towards pursuing STEM fields has also been increasing steadily.

STEM graduates not just pick up great paychecks but are also offered endless opportunities in research and technological innovation. These students also get to work in cutting-edge fields such as robotics, medicine, microbiology, petroleum and environmental science. Some of the leading higher education institutions in the US where you can pursue STEM degree courses are Georgia Institute of Technology, Texas A&M University, University of Dayton, Louisiana State University and theUniversity of Kansas.

How Do I Study in USA?

More than 1,000,000 international students study at US colleges and universities each year, making it the largest country in the world with regard to international students. More than 5% of all students enrolled in higher education in the USA are foreign students. International education in the country has evolved greatly since the mid-1950s when there were only 35,000 international students since then the number is accentuating. The following is a graphical representation of the number of international students enrolled at US universities for a decade i.e., from 2011 to 2022:

Your voyage to the US as an international student will start with selecting a particular college and academic programme you want to enrol in. A US university associate's degree usually takes two years to complete. While a bachelor's degree typically necessitates three to four years of education. After earning your bachelor's degree, you may want to think about attending graduate school to further your learning.

A master's degree (earned after two years of study) and a doctorate or PhD (three or more years) are available for graduate or postgraduate programmes. While associate's and bachelor's degrees are often more general in nature, graduate master's and doctorate programmes concentrate on a particular academic field.

Related Reads:

Benefits of Studying STEM Courses in USA US Universities With Highest Percentages of International Students
Popular STEM Degree Courses in USA Best Universities in the USA to Pursue STEM Courses
How to Successfully Apply to Popular USA Universities? Eligibility to Pursue STEM Courses in USA

Know About STEM Courses in the USA!

Why Study in USA

The United States of America requires no introduction. Conceivably, it can be said that if you want to fulfil your dreams, the USA is your oyster. The nation is home to many different ethnic communities, top-ranked universities, and beautiful terrain. Truly a land of potential, the USA attracts immigrants looking for fresh perspectives. It is a nation that not only leads the way in scientific discovery and technological advancement but is also well-known for its film industry, as well as for its artistic creations and townscape. The US is home to the most diverse population in the world, making it a true melting pot of customs and traditions. More than 800,000 students choose the US as their top choice for their foreign education destination, making it the country with the biggest population of international students. Being one of the top destinations for studying abroad, the nation provides international students with a wealth of employment opportunities in a wide range of professions. Nonetheless, the benefits in the USA for Indian students are endless. The following are some of them:

Advances in Science and Technology: The US now leads the world in science and technology after World War II. It has drawn highly accomplished academics and researchers from throughout the world to realise their scientific aspirations. The US has produced around half of the Nobel Prize winners since 1950. Today, among many other top businesses in the sector, it is home to technology behemoths like Microsoft, Apple, Facebook, Google, Intel, etc.

Global Academic Standards: One of the biggest advantages of studying in the US is that US education is recognised all over the world. According to QS World Rankings 2023, 202of the 1,003 top universities are in the United States, making it the country with the highest number of top-ranked universities in the world. Among them, five universities including MIT, Harvard University, California Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of Chicago are featured in the top 10 universities of the world.

The top courses to study in USAarelaw, humanities, finance, management, engineering, science, journalism and so on. Classrooms at US universities offer the latest technology and state-of-the-art facilities that ensure an academic environment focused on the continuous nourishment of each student.

Research-Oriented Programs: The US is at the forefront of scientific and creative innovation that makes study in USA for Indian studentsafter12thall the more popular.Large research institutions in the US offer great exposure opportunities for students to work alongside their professors and apply what they are learning in the classroom to the lab or workshop. Students who study in USAare exposed to advanced technology and research in the area of study, expanding their horizons and knowledge. At universities such as MIT, students are expected to join or initiate research for academic credit, leading to published work, patent applications and great start-up companies. Universities across the US have many research labs where students are encouraged to engage in research in the fields of black hole studies, climate change, neuroscience and so on.

Multiculturalism: American culture is a melting pot and studying in the USA can broaden one's mindset. Study in USAcan give students a wide range of opportunities to know and learn about other cultures and exchange ideas with peers from all around the world. The country has always been welcoming towards students belonging to different ethnicities, cultures, nationalities, races and religions. This not only makes a newcomer feel closer to home but also helps them adapt to American culture easily.

Emphasis on Internships & Career Advancement: Given the flexible education system in the US, all students including those from outside the country are encouraged to work part-time or do internships and broaden their career avenues. Upon graduation, international graduates in the US earn approximately ten times higher than those in other job markets. According to a survey published by the Institute of International Education in 2014, roughly 90% of international alumni found a job within the first six months after graduation. In addition, given that the US houses some of the top companies such as Walmart, Amazon, Microsoft, Starbucks, and Apple, amongst others, an international student is likely to benefit from the location and opportunities to network with global leaders.

Specialised Support for International Students: Universities in the US are widely popular for the variety of services they offer to support and help overseas students both inside and outside the classroom. They guarantee an effortless transition from their home country to the US through workshops, orientation programs, dedicated offices for international student services that help with English language skills, visa problems, scholarships or financial aid, accommodation, cultural adjustment, career services, mental health issues and so on.

Flexibility in Declaring a Major: One of the top benefits of study in USA for Indian students after the 12this the academic flexibility they offer. Students in the country are not required to declare their major until the end of the second year of study. This is very much unlike other countries where students need to declare their major at the time of the application process.

Economic Power: Having the greatest economy in the world, the US is a major factor in the growth of the computer, pharmaceutical, aerospace, and military equipment industries. A universally recognised and widely used currency is the US dollar. The US is home to over one-fourth of the 500 largest corporations in the world, and Nasdaq and the New York Stock Exchange are where the largest stock exchanges and transactions occur regularly.

Major Admission Intakes in USA

Before submitting an application to study in USA, it is vital to be aware of the many intakes offered by the educational system in US universities. Fall intake, Spring intake, and Summer intake are the three intakes available to study in USA for Indian students. Take a look at the following table to briefly know about the Fall intake in USA vs Spring intake in USA vs Summer intake in USA:

Intake

Duration of the intake

Importance of the Intake

Fall

August-December

Primary

Spring/Winter

January-April

Secondary

Summer

May-August

Only a few universities offer this intake

Related Reads:

Timeline for USA Summer Intake 2023

Timeline for September 2023 Intake to Study in USA

Study in the USA: Know All About Spring (January) 2023 Intake

How to Get Admission in Harvard University from India? - Check Process, Eligibility & Scholarship Details

If you are interested in studying at a university in the United States, here are a few quick timeline pointers you should know for all types of admission Intakes in USA:

Event

US Intakes

US University Intakes

There are two main admissions cycles at major US institutions, starting in September and January, with the majority of courses accepting new students in September and a smaller number of courses accepting freshmen in January.

US Admission Process

In US universities, the complete admissions process lasts between 8 to 12 months. You must maintain discipline, practise time management, and adhere to all the application deadlines.

US Prerequisite Entrance Exams

The best time for applicants to finish their language and aptitude assessments is three months prior to the application deadline of their preferred university.

Popular US Universities Deadlines

Check out the following links to know the application deadlines for popular bachelor and masters programmes in US universities:

Application Deadlines for MS in USA for Spring 2023 Intake

Application Deadlines 2023-24 for Popular US Universities

Application Deadlines 2023-24 for Graduate Programs in US Universities

Application Deadlines 2023-24 for Bachelor Programs in US Universities

Courses to Study in USA

The USAis ranked at the topfor higher education as the country has several higher educational institutes that offer a wide range of courses in different streams. The educational opportunity in the USA expands across a wide range of unique and specialisedcourses that are designed to meet the modern needs of companies and industries.

Top Courses to Study in USA for Indian Students

Although US universities offer thousands of courses, some are extremely popular among international students. It has a lot to do with the fact that they provide better employment prospects and career opportunities for students. The following are some of the Top Courses to Study in USA for Indian students:

Biotechnology: It is a relatively unknown truth that there are many employment prospects in the bioinformatics, biotechnology, and biomedical industries. The USA is a prime spot to enrol in such programmes because of its world-class research institutions and education system.

Business Analytics and Data Science: Popular courses in the USA include business analytics, data science, and information systems. The nation recently experienced a sharp increase in the number of students pursuing degrees in these fields.

Business Management: Studying for a Master's degree in business management in the USA is always a wise choice. Additionally gratifying is the Optional Practical Training (OPT), which permits MBA candidates to work for a year.

Computer Science: Among international students studying in the USA, computer science is a very popular course. The need for analysts, software engineers, and other professionals has skyrocketed. For international students, it is the ideal option because it exposes a variety of businesses. Silicon Valley is regarded as one of the best locations, even inside the United States, as it serves as the headquarters for businesses like Google, Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, and others.

Electrical and Computer Engineering: The USA, particularly California, Illinois, Massachusetts, New York, Texas, etc., has a high demand for electrical and computer engineers.

Finance: The most popular course in the USA for those interested in finance is the MS in Finance. A STEM-designated course is offered in the USA, and it typically trains students for professions in investment banking, corporate finance, and investment management.

Humanities and Social Sciences: These fields of study include a wide range of topics like economics, geography, political science, and others. Psychology, economics, sociology, and international relations would be better options if you want to pursue your higher education in these fields in the USA.

Liberal Arts: The US educational system is extensive and enables you to select from a variety of minors and majors, including liberal arts. You can opt to earn a BA or MA in a variety of fields, including theatre, education, American history and literature, etc.

Mechanical Engineering: In the United States, mechanical engineering is the third most popular course. As one of the oldest engineering specialities ever, it includes classes in mechatronics, automobiles, aircraft, and aeronautics, among other disciplines.
Medicine: Medical degrees, particularly MS degrees, are highly sought after in the USA because of the constant demand for doctors worldwide. Although it can be challenging to gain admission to a university in the United States, the rewards are worth it.

The courses are availablefor all students, no matter what their subject interests are. One can easily find a university in the USAoffering the course of their choice to study in USA for Indian students after 12th. Students can explore thousands of degree programs offered at all levels of studies in the USA and thecost of study in USA depends on it.Following is the list of popularstreams of studies that be opted by international students to study inUSA:

Engineering

Computer Science & IT

Business & Management

Applied & Pure Sciences

Commerce

Health & Medicine

Humanities & Liberal Arts

Social Sciences

Architecture

Creative Arts & Design

Hospitality & Leisure

Journalism & Media

Aviation

Education & Training

Law

Agriculture & Forestry

Languages

-

How Much Will it Cost to Study in the US?

The annual cost of attending college in the US includes living expenses, tuition fees, books and supplies, and health insurance. Simply stated, attending any US university will cost you money. However, depending on the university or college, there can be academic, artistic, athletic, or even service-based scholarships available, as well as need-based financial help such as grants for international students.

Graduate programmes typically take less time than undergraduate programmes one to two years for master's degrees, for example, and they may even cost less overall. While most undergraduate students receive financial aid from their families to complete their bachelor's degrees, the majority of international students enrolled in higher education in the USA pay for their graduate degrees out of pocket or receive some form of financial benefit from the universities they intend to attend. The following table indicates the approximate annual cost of studying in USA for Indian students including their tuition fees as well as room and board costs for different levels of study and types of institutions:

Level of Study/Type of Institution

Approximate Tuition Annual Fees (in USD)

Annual Room and Board Cost (in USD)

Bachelor’s Degree

20,000 to 50,000  

27,696

Master’s Degree

30,000 to 50,000 

24,215

Doctoral Degree

25,000 to 55,000 

25,000

English Language Learning

800 to 2,000 Monthly

NA

Public Community Colleges

8,500 

11,140

Private Community Colleges

15,500 

12,000 to 15,000

Public University

30,000 

11,140

Private University

40,000 to 45,000 

12,680

Student Visa Requirements for the US

Getting your visa is the next step after choosing where in the US to study, which is a crucial decision. There are three primary categories of US Student visas to select from, and each has its own specifications, purpose and requirements:

F-1 Visa: With an F-1 student visa, you are able to pay for your education at US universities or colleges with help of funding from friends, family, or your own finances. When your academic year is in progress, you are also allowed to work part-time for a maximum of 20 hours per week on campus.

M-1 Visa: You can apply for an M-1 visa to study at institutions recognised by the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) if you intend to pursue vocational education in the USA. With an M-1 student visa, you can only work on campus for a maximum of six months and are subject to the same employment restrictions as F-1 and J-1 visa holders.

J-1 Visa: Using this student visa, you are able to take part in work- and attend study-related exchange programmes at US colleges and universities that have been authorised by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State. Your programme must be sponsored by a nonprofit or educational institution. You can only work on campus while on a J-1 visa, which has the same work restrictions as an F-1 visa.

You will require an I-20 certificate (or IAP66 in some cases) form to apply for an F-1 or M-1 visa and a DS-2019 form to apply for a J-1 visa. Each form covers personal information, albeit they vary significantly based on the visa such as full name, SEVIS ID numbers, birthdate, academic programme, English proficiency test scores, financial sponsors, etc.

Some universities will give you an I-20 or DS-2019 together with your admissions letter, particularly if you have evidence that you have the resources to cover at least one year of academic study and are exempt from making a deposit. Other US colleges would not release an I-20 or DS-2019 until funding has been verified, any institutional financial awards have been made, and a deposit has been paid.

Education System in the USA

The education system of the USA offers a rich field of choices for international students. The US higher education system can be broadly classified into three categories:

Level I – Bachelor’s degree or Undergraduate: In the USA, a Bachelor’s degree course is regarded as an UnderGraduate (UG) course. Usually, the duration of the UG courses in the USA is four years. The first two years of study comprise a variety of classes in different subjects. The most common subjects that are being taught in the first two years of UG courses are history, arts, literature, science and social sciences. May international students in the US choose a community college to complete the first two years of UG prerequisite courses. These students obtain an AA (Associate of Arts) degree and then transfer to a four-year university or college. Apart from the above mandatory courses in the UG, a ‘major’ is the specific field of study in which your degree is focused. In order to meet the degree requirements of the major course, you must take a certain number of courses in the chosen field. The major has to be chosen by the beginning of your third year of the UG course. One of the unique characteristics of the American education system is that you can change the major course multiple times. In simple words, the American education system is very flexible.

Level 2 – Master’s Degree or a Graduate: International students from only a limited number of countries are allowed to pursue Master’s courses in the US. Usually, the duration of the Master’s courses in America is one year or two years. Most of the master’s courses are merely based on classroom teaching, and each student must prepare a long research paper called Master’s thesis or complete a Master’s project. For admission to a gradation program, applicants are required to sit exams such as GRE or GMAT, LSAT for law, and MCAT for medical programs. Students can even Study in USA Without IELTS.

Level 3 – Doctoral Degree: Usually, the duration of PhD in America is three years. However, for international students, a Doctorate degree may take up to five or six years to complete. Students can enter Doctoral degree courses with a Master’s degree. The majority of universities in the US enrol new students during the autumn. Therefore, international students can apply for admission during this season.

Types of Degrees to Study in USA

The following table outlines different types of degrees to study in USA which students can choose as per their needs and interests:

Types of Degrees

Description

Associate Degrees

These are two-year programmes that are sufficient for launching a career; they are equivalent to the first two years of a bachelor's degree and are more job-oriented, placing emphasis on the industry or business.

Bachelor’s Degrees

A strong basis for a full-fledged profession is provided by four-year undergraduate programmes in the USA that include core courses along with majors, minors, and electives.

Master’s Degrees (Two types: Academic and Professional)

Academic: These are two-year programmes with STEM, humanities, and arts specialisations. Students can establish a solid foundation while also continuing on to PhD study in their chosen fields.

Professional: Depending on the discipline, professional master's degree programmes last one to three years and assist students in moving forward to a specific profession.

MBA Degrees

MBA programmes in the USA can be completed in two years and can be useful for aspiring leaders or entrepreneurs. An accelerated MBA programme is also available at some business schools.

Doctoral studies/PhD

The dissertation must be successfully completed in order for students to receive a PhD. They must carry out their research under the direction of a faculty advisor. In the USA, it typically takes 5 to 8 years to get a PhD.

When applying for college in the US states, make sure you meet the same academic requirements equivalent to the country’s one. In the US, there are laws that apply to the entire country (federal or general laws), and then there are state laws that vary based on where you live and study. Check the admission requirements for foreign students at the university to make sure you are eligible to apply because the US permits the states to set their own rules for colleges.

Related Reads:

How to Apply for Masters in the USA? Job Prospects after Pursuing MS in Business Analytics in the US
Health Insurance for International Students in the US: Benefits, Policies, Facilities, Requirements Things Nobody Tells You About Going from India to Study in the USA

Types of Higher Education Institutions in the USA

The US has a variety of higher education institutions. Even though they may appear trivial, these institutions differ in a number of ways, including physical size, the curriculum they concentrate on, and the length of time it takes for students to complete their studies. The following is a discussion of the types of higher education institutions in USA:

Types of Universities in USA

Universities are higher education institutions, often known as post-secondary academic institutions, and they typically run up to four years. Taking a look at public universities and Ivy League schools, here is what sets them apart and what unites them. The following are the types of universities in USA:

Public Universities: Public universities are higher education institutions that are funded by public means, meaning they are state-funded as opposed to private universities. Public universities tend to enrol more part-time and commuter students. For many, these universities are the best option due to their priority, which is finding the most affordable option. However, international students that wish to enrol will have to pay higher fees than domestic students at such universities.

Private Universities: Public universities are schools of higher learning that get funding from the government, making them state-funded as opposed to private universities. Part-time and commuter students are more prevalent at public universities. Since obtaining the most economical alternative is a top goal for many, these universities are the ultimate choice. However, in order to enrol, international students must pay higher tuition fees than domestic students at such universities.

For-Profit Private Universities: Private for-profit institutions of higher learning set themselves apart from nonprofit institutions by concentrating on generating money for their shareholders as well as educating students. This does not necessarily imply that these institutions do not provide high-quality education, either. There are lots of private, for-profit universities in USA offering excellent curricula.

Non-Profit Private Universities: Non-profit private universities' principal goal is to provide top-notch education, not to be the most lucrative institution. Due to their greater dedication to developing high-quality curricula and instruction, these institutions typically have a better reputation than for-profit ones. 

Research Universities: Research universities are considered to be doctorate-granting institutions that spend millions on research and have substantial research activity. They might be public or non-profit private universities. 

Types of Colleges in USA

Compared to universities, colleges often require less time to complete, with a two-year graduation rate. There are, however, a lot of four-year colleges as well, which are sometimes comparable to universities based on their curriculum. Similar to universities, colleges have differences between them and are categorised into many types. The following are the types of colleges in USA:

Liberal Arts Colleges: The majority of liberal arts colleges are non-profit private institutions (although there are a few public liberal arts colleges as well), and they include courses in the humanities, sciences, and social sciences. In general, they tend to place less of an emphasis on athletics and more of an emphasis on undergraduate education and well-rounded education.

Community Colleges: The majority of community colleges, also known as junior colleges, are two-year higher education institutions. They offer higher education at a lower level and award associate degrees, diplomas, and certificates. These colleges primarily enrol students within the area, and their funding typically comes from local taxes.

Other Colleges: There are religious colleges, same-sex colleges, specialised institutions, art colleges, and for-profit universities in addition to liberal arts colleges and community colleges. These colleges may be public or private, and their operations are typically quite similar to those of community colleges. However, each institution has its own set of regulations.

Ivy League Schools: Ivy League institutions are part of an American collegiate athletic conference and are eight universities located in the Northeastern US. There are 131 of these institutions in the US, including numerous public universities, all eight Ivy League universities, and other prestigious universities

Grading Scale in the US

Grading in the USA, based on Grade Point Average (GPA),are letter grades, i.e. A+, A, A−; B+, B, B−; C+, C, C−; D+, D, D−; F; with A+ being the highest and F being the lowest. However, the grading system may vary from one university to another and between systems, disciplines or statuses. Given below is the grading scale followed which is followed for Study in USA: 

Letter Grade

Percentage

GPA on a 4.0 Scale

A+

97–100%

4.33 or 4.00

A

93--96%

4.00

A-

90-92%

3.67

B+

87-89%

3.33

B

83-86%

3.00

B-

80-82%

2.67

C+

77–79%

2.33

C

73–76%

2.00

C-

70–72%

1.67

D+

67–69%

1.33

D

67–69%

1.00

D-

60–62%

0.67

F

0–59%

0.00

Credit System in USA

The credit system is the same at all US universities. The final calculation takes into account the credits that a student obtains during the course.

  • For a bachelor's degree or undergraduate programme, a student needs three to five credits for each course. Typically, a bachelor's degree in the USA takes 120 to 130 credits to complete.

  • It takes three to four credits per course for a master's degree. In the USA, a master's degree typically requires between 30 to 64 credits to complete.

  • The US educational system grades students using the grade point average (GPA), which is a scale from 0.0 to 4.0. These are computed for a semester based on the grades attained in every subject and the credits accrued for that semester.  A grade of 4.0 is an A, whereas a grade of 0.0 is an F.

Curriculum and Degrees Offered in the USA

There are various types of undergraduate and graduate courses offered in the USA. Hence, depending on the academic curriculum, these degrees are presented to international students after the completion of the study programme. However, this may seem confusing at first for a student who wants to study in USA since there are a number of specialisations available; different types of degree choices that vary from full-time and part-time as per the duration of the course. The following is a discussion of different types of undergraduate and graduate degrees offered in the USA.

Undergraduate Degreein the USA

Almost all bachelor's degree programmes can be understood as follows:

Four-Year Programmes

Every year, millions of students in the US earn four-year degrees that are offered at over 2,000 colleges and universities. Also known as a college degree, an undergraduate degree in the US usually takes four years to complete and includes 120-128 semester credit hours. The four years are called freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior years and the curriculum of almost undergraduate programs in the US is based on a liberal arts philosophy. The curriculum includes subjects such as social sciences, history, mathematics, humanities, natural or physical sciences and English composition.

Students are asked to choose a specific field of study or major after they have met the core curriculum requirements. The two types of bachelors degrees offered include B.A (Bachelor of Arts) and B.S (Bachelor of Science). However, there are other specialised bachelors degrees including Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.), Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.), Bachelor of Social Work (B.S.W.), Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs (B.S.P.A), Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.), Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.), Bachelor of Architecture Degree (B.Arch.) and Bachelor of Design (B.Des.).

Two-Year Programmes

In the US, there are more than a thousand two-year institutions. These universities are also referred to as junior or community colleges. Students who opt for a two-year higher education programme study to obtain an associate's degree commonly referred to as an intermediate degree. An associate degree from a community, junior, or technical college certifies that you have completed a course of study with a good background in general education and a specialisation in a particular subject. You must complete 60-semester credits in order to receive an associate degree, which usually takes two years. General education requirements, requirements specific to your major (or a particular field of study), and electives make up most programmes.

The Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS) degrees are both intended to prepare students to transfer into a four-year institution or university. Some associate degrees, like the Associate of Applied Science (AAS) degree, are meant to equip students for employment after just two years of study. Employers in sectors related to science and technology may favour these degrees, often known as occupational or vocational degrees, for mid-level job positions.

Graduate Degreein the USA

After completion of a four-year bachelors degree, one may continue their learning and receive a graduate education which may lead either to a masters degree or a doctoral degree. Commonly known as grad school, a distinction can be made between graduate schools and professional schools that offer advanced degrees in the fields of business, engineering, law, nursing, medicine or engineering.

Master's Degree

Although different types of masters degrees in theUS, the two basic degrees are Master of Arts (M.A) and Master of Science (M.S) which may last one to three years. In general, a masters degree requires a student to complete six to eight advanced courses along with an intensive study project or a thesis. Some graduate programs may also include internships to offer knowledge and experience in the field of study. The scholarship to study in USA makes the cost of studying in US low.

Doctoral Degree

This may include either an academic PhD, professional edD or Doctor of Education or DBA (Doctor of Business Administration). A doctoral degree in the US prepares students for research scholar or college faculty positions or other such roles. Doctoral coursework usually comprises three to four semesters done in small seminars. Students will then have to convert their original research into a book-length dissertation or thesis.

Professional Degree

A professional degree, historically known as the first professional degree in the US, is a degree that qualifies a student for employment in a particular profession, practice, or industry sector, typically satisfying the academic requirements for accreditation or licensure. US universities also offer professional degrees in a specialised area of study. These include degrees such as LL.M, M.B.A, M.F.A, M.S.W and specialist in education (Ed. S).

Accredited Online College Degrees

These are online college degrees from an accredited online education provider that ensures that a student is earning an actual degree.Degrees from various institutions, including Northeastern, are widely perceived equally. Employers will recognise the legitimacy of an online degree if it comes from a regionally or nationally authorised institution. Many employers assume that traditional academic institutions spend the same amount of time and effort designing online courses as they do for courses held in a traditional classroom setting.

Want to KnowAbout the US Higher Education System?

Best Places to Study in the USA

Home to some top-ranked global universities, Boston is undoubtedly the number one student city in the US. Other popular student cities in the country include New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Chicago. The rankings of cites to study in USA for Indian students are based on six indicators including student mix, employer activity, affordability, university rankings and affordability and student view, here is the list of top 10 student cities in the US, featured in the QS Student Cities Ranking 2019:

Ranking in the USA

QS World Ranking

Student City in the USA

1

9

Boston, Massachusetts

2

16

New York, New York

3

24

San Francisco, California

4

31

Los Angeles, California

5

41

Chicago, Illinois

6

56

Atlanta, Georgia

7

62

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

8

62

Washington DC, US

9

74

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

10

79

San Diego, California

USA On-Campus Student Life, Athletics & Extra-Curricular Activities

The United States is often called the world in one country with people from all over the world adding to the country’s multicultural environment. Further, Life in the USA as an International Student is a completely different experience primarily due to the independence and adventure US universities have to offer. 

On campus, international students usually live in dormitories or residence halls that may be distinguished on the basis of year of study, language, theme-focused housing or more. The usual way of living is sharing rooms which undoubtedly is one of the easiest ways to make friends and adjust to a whole new world. To get detailed information, check out Guide to Student Accommodation in the USA - Residence & Housing Types.

Many college towns in the States have amazing nightlife that adds to the fun on weekends. In addition, the US is also popular for live events, festivals and other activities happening across campuses. While study in USA, students can explore new places. Opportunities like these make campus life in the US a one-of-a-kind experience.

Unlike other countries, the US sees a lot of students engaging in on-campus activities and clubs after classes, of which sports and athletics are a huge part. Whether you are an international or a domestic student, joining college sports is not only a way to enjoy and boost your health but to also be actively involved on campus.

US universities also have clubs and organisations looking to welcome new students or volunteers interested in a myriad of extracurricular activities such as theatre, dance, volunteer work, community service, the Student newspaper, debate team and many more. Academic clubs are the most popular student organisations which may include clubs for engineering, aeronautics, English, entrepreneurship, psychology, etc. No matter what your interests are, US universities offer extracurricular opportunities in nearly any and every field.

Admission Process to Study in USA

In the US, each university or college has its unique application procedure, especially for a master's degree programme. They could be subject to various eligibility requirements. Students must therefore submit individual applications to each college or university they desire to attend. To simplify and streamline your application procedure, however, do the following steps:

Step 1: Decide what course you want to pursue and search for the best universities that offer it.

Step 2: Research the requirements and eligibility criteria on each university's official website after the universities have been shortlisted.

Step 3: Upload all required documents and certificates after filling out the application form. Pay the required application fees.

Step 4: You will need to wait for the universities to reply. An I-20 form will be sent to you once you have been selected.

Step 5: Once you have received your I-20 form from the university, you can start applying for a US student visa.

It is common for international students to underestimate the amount of time it takes to apply for admission to US universities or colleges. Though it takes a considerable amount of time, you can avoid making this mistake by setting your schedule well ahead of when you plan to start your studies in the USA. Always keep in mind that getting things going as soon as possible is the best course of action while planning your schedule. You must give yourself enough time to conduct in-depth research on the school and/or programme that will best meet your academic and career objectives.

Both the Common Application (or Common App) and the Coalition Application (or Coalition App) provide students with a platform to manage, complete and submit applications to various educational institutions. Although using the platforms is free, applicants may still have to pay application fees to the universities they are applying to. For institutions that want it, both platforms ask applicants to respond to a predetermined prompt in an essay. Along with the Common Application and Coalition Application to study in the USA, certain individual universities may have supplementary essays or short answers that applicants must submit. However, it must be noted that this platform can only be used to submit undergraduate applications to US universities.

Documents Required for Admission to US Universities

To make the Admission Procedure to Study in USA simple, you must keep all the required documents handy. You must make sure that all the documents are correct and they display the same information you entered in your cv or resume. Listed below are the documents required for admission to US universities.

For Undergraduate Application:

  • Application confirmation copy

  • Certificates for extracurricular activities (strongly recommended)

  • English language proficiency test scores for the IELTS exam, TOEFL exam, etc.

  • Scorecards for entrance exams like the SAT exam or ACT exam

  • Admission essays

  • High school diploma or equivalent

  • Letters of Recommendation (LORs)

  • Marksheets and pass certificates

  • Passport

  • Proof of Funds

  • CV or resume for bachelors

  • Statement of Purpose

  • Work Experience Letters (if any)

For Masters Application:

  • Application confirmation copy

  • Bachelors degree or equivalent

  • Certificates for extra-curricular activities (strongly recommended)

  • English language proficiency test scores

  • Scorecards for entrance exams like GRE or GMAT

  • Admission essays like MBA essays

  • Work Experience Certificates (if any)

  • Letters of Recommendation

  • Marksheets and pass certificates

  • Passport

  • Proof of Funds

  • Portfolio/ Research proposal/ Project Description (for specific courses)

  • CV or resume for MS applications

  • Statement of Purpose (SOP)

  • Academic Transcripts

Cost of Living in USA for Indian Students

Compared to other study abroad countries like Canada, New Zealand, and Australia, the US has a higher cost of living. Students should be aware of the return on their academic investment as they travel to study in USA. They should factor in rent or hostel fees, travel, food, books and study materials, clothes and shoes, entertainment, internet and cellular services, and other ancillary costs when estimating their Average Cost of Living in USA. An Indian student typically spends between USD 800 to 1,000 per month. Which US city a student lives in has an impact on the cost of living as well. As an illustration, the cost of living in USA for states like New York, California, and Massachusetts is more than it is in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Wisconsin. The following is a snapshot of the average monthly expenses associated with living in the US:

Particulars

Monthly Expenditure in USA (IN USD)

Travel

70 to 90 (Public Transport)

Shopping

100

Outside Eating

70 to 100

Miscellaneous Expenses

100

Internet

40 to 50

Groceries

120 to 160

Entertainment

100

Electricity

50 to 100

Cellular Services

50 to 100

Accommodation

200 to 800

If you do not mind sharing a space with others, staying in a dorm on campus or renting an apartment together off campus will usually be the most affordable option. In the US, college students typically pay between USD 9,000-10,000 per year for lodging and food, or room and board.

The cost of utilities, the internet, phone service, and public transportation in the USA is comparable to that in other wealthy nations. On the other hand, gas and used or second-hand automobiles are much less expensive, but you must not forget to purchase driving insurance. American life mainly relies on cars, which is especially true if you do not reside in a major city with a good public transportation system. Living in a less expensive place allows you to get by on less money, but in large cities, it is quite easy to spend more money on unnecessary things.

US Visa Process

For Indian students, obtaining a USA Student Visa to study in the country is quite simple. For a hassle-free visa application, you must carefully follow all the steps and know How to Avoid Common Mistakes in a Visa Letter. Below is a step-by-step guide to follow when applying for a USA student visa:

Step 1: Get Accepted to a US College

Applying to and getting accepted to a US university is the first step. The majority of full-time graduate and undergraduate programmes in the US require applications by December or January of each year. Typically, admission notifications are given out in March and April.

Step 2: Obtain the I-20 or DS-2019 Form From Your US College

Once you have been accepted to a US college or university, you will receive one of two documents: Form DS-2019, which is a certificate of eligibility for exchange visitor (J-1) status for J-1 students, or Form I-20, which is a certificate of eligibility for nonimmigrant student status for F-1 and M-1 students.

Step 3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 Fee

After you have received your I-20 or DS-2019 form from your college, pay the I-901 SEVIS fee. Students in the F-1/M-1 visa category will need to pay a fee of USD 350, while J-1 students will need to pay USD 220. Further, only USD 35 is required for those with J-1 temporary visa programmes.

Step 4: Find Your Nearest US Embassy or Consulate

The closest US embassy or consulate is where you must submit an application for an international student visa (it is ideally the city or region in which you reside). A search for US embassies and consulates can be done online through the US Department of State.

Take note that the procedure for obtaining a US student visa may vary slightly depending on which embassy you apply through.

Step 5: Fill Out the DS-160 Form Online

Fill out the Online Non-Immigrant Visa Application after that (Form DS-160). On this application, you will also choose the US embassy where you will have your visa interview.

Step 6: Schedule Your US Student Visa Appointment

After submitting Form DS-160, get in touch with the closest US embassy or consulate (ideally the one you specified on your online application) to arrange your visa interview.

Step 7: Pay Your US Student Visa Application Fee

After this, pay the 160 USD application fee. No matter where you apply or where you are from, this fee is the same. It is important to keep in mind that depending on your embassy, the precise date you pay this payment will change.

Step 8: Prepare and Attend Your Visa Interview

The interview is the last major milestone in the application process for a US visa. Your authorisation to study in US will be determined by the results of this interview. To help you prepare for the interview, check out some Commonly Asked US F-1 Visa Interview Questions.

Step 9: Make Payment for the US Visa Issuance Fee

Some students must pay a visa issuance fee after receiving approval for a student visa to the United States. Depending on your nationality and the reciprocity agreement your country has with the United States, you may or may not be required to pay this cost. If you need to pay a visa issuance fee, you can check the chart on the US visas website.

If you have met all of the criteria above and have been granted an international student visa to the United States, your embassy will give your passport back to you together with your new visa. It is important to note that while some embassies will ask you to pick it up personally, others will send it back to you by shipping.

Note: You must reach at least 30 minutes before the scheduled time at the location of your US visa interview.

Documents Required for US Student Visa (F1 Visa)

An application for a USA F1 student visa will generally require the following documents:

  • A valid passport with a validity date of at least six months beyond your period of stay.

  • Application as a non-immigrant.

  • Confirmation page of DS-160.

  • Completed I -20 form.

  • Payment of application fees for SEVIS.

  • Recent passport-size photograph.

  • Any additional documents required by your university.

Scholarships to Study in USA for Indian Students

The cost of education in the USA is among the highest in the world. High tuition prices are considered a prestige symbol in the US, but they also imply that colleges have extra funds to offer scholarships to deserving students. Few American students, therefore, pay the list price, especially at the more expensive institutions. While most colleges also offer certain scholarships to international students, some are only available to domestic students.

Scholarships for academic achievement are most noticeable in the USA. A scholarship discount of between 5% to 30% of the tuition fee is offered to students who maintain outstanding grades. On the undergraduate level, full scholarships are exceptionally rare unless you are a very exceptional athlete or possess other competencies that are comparable. On the other hand, it is easier for brilliant students to obtain substantial scholarships at the graduate level, usually in exchange for services to the university, such as serving as a teaching or research assistant. The following table highlights a few Scholarships to Study in USA for International Students:

Scholarship Name

Eligibility/Specification

Scholarship Amount (in USD)

Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship Program

Those pursuing an MBA from the Stanford Graduate School of Business are eligible for this scholarship.

1,50,000

Rotary Foundation Ambassadorial Scholarship

Students interested in pursuing a master's degree or certificate at one of the university's six partner institutions are eligible to apply for this fellowship.

15,000 to 30,000

Matt Fong Asian Americans in Public Finance Scholarship

Those who wish to attend to complete their majors in a California college or university are eligible for this scholarship.

5,000

LSEF-UMASS Scholarship

All PG students studying at the University of Massachusetts for a specific programme or course are eligible.

29,500

Fulbright-Nehru Masters Fellowship

It is only awarded to PG students pursuing distinct specialisation courses.

7,000

Cornell University Tata Scholarship

It is given to meritorious UG students from India.

7,800

Asian Women in Business Scholarship Fund

Asian women who score a minimum GPA of 3.0 in their undergraduate degree are eligible.

2,500

American University Emerging Global Leader Scholarship

This is for UG students from underserved communities.

4,000

Akhtarali H. Tobaccowala Fellowship

This is awarded to all MBA graduates at the University of Chicago.

25,000

AEF Scholarship

The Ascend Educational Fund (AEF) is offered to PG students.

20,000

Job Opportunities in USA for Indian Students

The conditions for working while being a student in the US are stringent. Make sure you are in compliance with the rules of the employment you have selected, and you must have your student visa. Student employment might be either on-campus or off-campus. The former refers to work done on a university or college campus. On the other hand, any type of work that is associated with the university is considered to be off-campus. Students have the option of working off-campus in one of four categories: Curricular Practical Training (CPT), Optional Practice Training (OPT), Economic Hardship, and International Organisations.

Working on campus is typically the simplest option. Although there are not many of these jobs available, they are usually flexible and do not force you to work throughout your first semester while studying in USA. However, after your first semester, you can look for Part-Time Job Options in the USA that allows you to work up to 20 hours a week. If you want to remain enrolled in the institution for the upcoming semester, you may work full-time during the breaks.

You must either work at a place connected to your school or undertake work that is an essential component of your academic programme, like a paid internship, in order to work off-campus. If a student goes through Severe Economic Hardship and is unable to find employment on campus, they may also be permitted to work off-campus. Make sure your job is permissible by consulting the international office at your school.

Optional practical training (OPT) is the last way to work while for a student while studying in US. For this, you will need the US Citizenship and Immigration Service's permission. Also, you must have studied in the US for at least nine months to be eligible, and it will be issued at the latest 12 months after you first began your studies. The OPT job you do must be specifically relevant to your academic major. Following your graduation from college, OPT enables you to work full-time in the US for a period of one year. Additionally, you are permitted to work part-time during your OPT period of study, but doing so will cut the length of your employment period after graduation by one month for every two months that you work. The following are some popular part-time jobs in USA for international students:

Part-Time Job Roles in USA

Average Salary Per Hour (in USD)

Campus Tour Guide

13

Department Assistant

16

Food Runner 

12

Library Assistant

14

Receptionist

13

Research Assistant 

17

Tutor 

12

Health and Support Services for International Students in the US

While the US healthcare system is one of the best in the world, it can be difficult to understand at times as the country does not have a socialised healthcare system. Knowing the health services before coming to study in USA along with the local healthcare system beforehand would help international student save their time and money. 

Healthcare on US University Campus

According to data estimated in 1988, 80% of America’s 14 million students depended on primary health care provided through campus health programs. US college health-service offers low-cost, primary medical care to students on campus. These college health centres provide care for acute illnesses and injuries as well as for continued and chronic illnesses.

Overall, almost all US colleges and universities provide some type of general medical care including basic first-aid, treatment of minor ailments, centres for x-rays, prescription drugs, lab tests and access to specialists.

Off-Campus Healthcare in the US

Much like domestic students, international students are also open to accessing healthcare outside of the campus. They can visit a medical practitioner off-campus, the cost of which may go slightly higher than on-campus health services. Private doctors in the US cater to non-emergency patients through appointments during regular office hours - 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. 

For serious emergencies or need to get a life-threatening ailment treated, an international student can call an ambulance and go to the nearest hospital’s emergency room. This is usually the most expensive health care service, like in most countries.

Health Insurance for International students in the US

For F-1 visa holders, the US government does not mandate the requirement of health insurance. However, having adequate health insurance is considered extremely important.

A lot of colleges and universities in the US offer their own health insurance plans for their students. Studies say that larger US schools have better health insurance plans for international students than smaller institutions. Getting a school-based health insurance plan for non-US students is usually mandatory although it may vary depending upon the school. 

Students sponsored by one of Fullbright’s programs or United States Agency for International Development (USAID) may be offered their own health insurance plans. If that’s not the case, a university’s International Student Office will be available for help regarding the same. 

International students can also look for better health insurance plans specially designed for them, as offered by private organisations. While selecting a plan, one must be mindful of factors such as the premium, deductibles, co-insurance, coverage and more. 

Support for International Students with Disabilities

According to US law, universities and colleges in the country are required to guarantee equal access and reasonable facilities and provisions for all attending students including those with disabilities. 

Having said that, an international student with a disability should have a clear idea of what services are available at the host institution along with the local community where they will be living. Most often, students with disabilities find a local disability organisation that provides them with specific information about health services, accommodation, accessible transport, friendly restaurants and more. 

Usually US institutions have a disability office to support special needs such as extra time allocations on exams, note-taking services, life skills training, a social network and so on. It is advised that students communicate their requirements while applying to the university.

Pre-arrival Support

A lot of US universities give a welcome pack or guide specifically made for international students. The same includes accommodation options, arranging medical insurance, visa requirements, living expenses budgeting, part-time work, campus facilities, online resources, and tuition fee payment among other things. 

Keeping in mind the myriad things that involve studying abroad, a growing number of universities in the US have started introducing mentoring programs upon arrival. This often helps the new students interact with current students, be it through email or face-to-face. 

Related Reads:

Tips for a Successful US F-1 Visa Interview

Difference Between OPT and CPT for International Students

USA Academic Credit System - All You Need to Know

Study in USA as a Transfer Student

Need Expert-Accredited Information on How to Study in USA? 

FAQs on Study in USA in 2023

What is the difference between Undergraduate and Graduate degrees in the US?

In the USA, an "undergraduate" degree is referred to as a two-year degree or a four-year Bachelor's degree which can be pursued after class 12th." Graduate" degrees on the other hand lead to a master’s or doctoral degree of one to two years and can be taken after completing a Bachelor's degree. 

Can I transfer to a US university from a university outside of the US?

Yes, you can transfer to a US university from an Indian university, as well as between US universities. While doing so, you will not lose any of your previous academic credit as the US has a flexible credit system. The recommended timeline for Indian students who wish to transfer to a US institution is similar to that of a prospective first-year student.

How can I find out if a US institution is accredited?

To find out if a US institution is accredited, make sure that the school is officially recognised by an organisation that approves US universities. Unlike other countries, US universities are not considered by the federal government. Instead, they are managed by various regional and national associations and organisations. The country's education agencies, such as the US Department of Education and the Higher Education Accreditation Council, are recognised by various national groups and organisations.

Can I study in the US after 12th?

Yes, international students can study in the US after 12th. Many universities in the US accept the 12th exam as it is the only criterion that is required for admission. Despite the absence of test-blind schools, the admissions process for most US universities still remains the same. Many international students need to pass the ACT and the SAT to be admitted to US universities as the test is being reinstated. There are other requirements also to meet various academic standards.

How much of a study gap is acceptable in the USA?

Generally, it is acceptable for students to take a study gap of one year in the US. This allows them to prepare for the entrance examinations. However, more gaps can also be justified and considered by the universities in the US. Students who dropped off school due to health conditions must show a medical certificate

What are the different intakes to study in the USA?

The different intakes to study in USA are fall intake which starts in August/September, spring intake which begins in January and the summer which initiates in May. Fall intake is the major and competitive intake in USA. Summer intake is less popular among the USA universities and is available for limited programs and colleges

When do you declare a major in the US?

In general, students are expected to declare a major in the US by the end of the 3rd/4th semester or the second year of the course. This allows students to explore different electives and choose the one they are the most interested in after declaring their major. They get ample time for hands-on research before committing to their intended major.

Which English language tests are accepted by US universities?

The English language tests which are accepted by the US universities are TOEFL, IELTS, PTE Academic and the Duolingo English Test (DET). Students from non-English speaking countries will have to prove their English language proficiency through any one of these tests because the USA is an English-speaking country and the curriculum is designed in English language.

How will I be graded in the US?

You will be graded in the USA based on your overall performance in a given academic year. The grades you earn while studying at a US university are used to calculate Grade Point Average(GPA) which is on a scale of 4.0. The factors which influence the grades in the country are determined by papers, class participation, class attendance, final exams, quizzes, projects and midterms. 

Can international students work in the USA while studying?

Yes, international students in the US can work while studying but with restrictions and in specifc programs like OPT and CPT. However, they would not be allowed to work in the first year of their study program.

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