Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • 1. Why study abroad?

    There are many reasons why study abroad programs are becoming so popular. For most international students, the appeal is likely to be a combination of gaining a high-quality education, experiencing immersion in a new culture (and often a second language), gaining a global mindset and expanding future employment prospects. For some, the prospect of leaving home and heading off into the unknown is daunting, but studying abroad is also an exciting challenge that often leads to improved career opportunities and a broader understanding of the way the world works. The type of experience you have during your time abroad will vary hugely depending on where you go, so make sure to pick a study destination based on your own personal interests as well as the country’s academic reputation, in order to keep a healthy work/play balance.Studying abroad can be one of the greatest opportunities a student ever experiences. In fact, the number of students participating in study abroad programs is increasing each year. According to UNESCO’s Institute for Statistics, the number of students studying abroad is growing by around 12% every year

    • 1. Get international experience

      The world’s economy is more global than ever. Companies are setting up operations in foreign countries in order to tap into new markets and to make use of resources unavailable in their home country. In order to assist with the global expansion, many companies are eyeing students with international experience because they will be able to transition into new countries more easily.
      Studying internationally gives students insight into different cultures and also allows for networking opportunities. Building relationships with international companies opens the doors to new opportunities after graduation and prepares students for the global landscape companies are now working in.

    • 2. Apply for international scholarships

      There are a lot of international scholarshipsand grants available for students who choose to study abroad. For students who choose to pursue a long term graduate program in another country, the costs of your degree can be decreased significantly by grants.
      Unlike domestic grants, there is much less competition for international grants because there aren’t as many students that opt for a long-term study abroad program. Generally students will attend for a semester or two, and then return home.
      Depending on the country you’re studying in, the cost of living can also be significantly less. For instance, students traveling from the US to Israel will be pleasantly surprised by how much it costs to live there.

    • 3. Learn about a different culture

      Similar to the globalization benefits, many students choose to study internationally to learn about a different culture. Most study abroad programs give students the ability to explore the area and learn about the history and culture.
      Students can participate in activities and see sights that are unavailable in their home country. For example, studying in China will give you the chance to visit the Xi’an City Wall or the Xi’an Beilin Museum. Attending a university in Australia will allow you to explore the outback and go whale watching. Every country has something special to offer and study abroad programs allow students to experience it.

    • 4. Grow and develop personally

      Putting yourself in an unfamiliar environment allows you to really learn about yourself and what you’re capable of. For many, the thought of going to a university in another state or city is overwhelming. Going to a country where people don’t even speak the same language and the customs are completely different than what you’re used to requires a lot of commitment and openness. Many students become much more independent and establish a higher level of maturity because they are essentially on their own for the first time in their lives. Although there are other students and friends present, students have to be self-confident, have a certain level of tolerance for ambiguity, and accept views that might be contrary to their own.

    • 5. Learn a new language

      Multilingual graduates are very intriguing to employers. As you get older, picking up new languages becomes increasingly difficult. If you can learn a new language while in college, it will be a great skill that you can carry with you throughout the rest of your life.
      Some of the more popular languages employers seek are Spanish, Korean and Chinese. However, the ability to speak any second language is desirable; you never know when the skill will come in handy. The more fluent you are (speaking and writing) the more attractive you’ll be to employers.

    • 6. Get a global perspective

      Without traveling to other countries, it’s impossible to get a full scope of what the emerging trends and opportunities are around the world. Restricting yourself to only looking at the opportunities available in your home country gives you a narrow perspective.
      Whether you’re a budding entrepreneur or you plan on seeking employment within a company, the wider your perspective, the more you will be able to accomplish. Cultural immersion will show you opportunities present in other countries that you otherwise would have never known about.
      Here you’ll find a collection of the most frequently asked questions regarding how to study abroad. Find information on where to study, how to apply, entry requirements, getting a student visa, tuition fees and funding, finding study abroad scholarships and other practical information.
      Browse the questions below to discover the answers to the mysterious secret of how to study abroad…

      • 1. Why study abroad?

        There are many reasons why study abroad programs are becoming so popular. For most international students, the appeal is likely to be a combination of gaining a high-quality education, experiencing immersion in a new culture (and often a second language), gaining a global mindset and expanding future employment prospects. For some, the prospect of leaving home and heading off into the unknown is daunting, but studying abroad is also an exciting challenge that often leads to improved career opportunities and a broader understanding of the way the world works. The type of experience you have during your time abroad will vary hugely depending on where you go, so make sure to pick a study destination based on your own personal interests as well as the country’s academic reputation, in order to keep a healthy work/play balance. To get more of an idea of whether studying abroad is for you, read some of our blog posts:

      • 2. Where in the world should I study?

        Choosing where in the world you wish to study is not always an easy task. As well as your own personal interests you should think about practicalities such as the costs of studying in that country (both tuition costs and living costs), your graduate career prospects (is there a good job market?) and your overall safety and welfare.
        You should also think about what sort of lifestyle you wish to have during your studies. Do you want to live in a big city or a small university town? Do you want arts and culture on your doorstep or world-class sporting facilities? Whatever your interests, be sure to match them up with your study destination so that you really give yourself the best chance of loving your international experience.
        If you need help making up your mind, take a look at some of the most popular destinations –Australia, Canada, Germany, the UK and the US – or use the links to view our university rankings and full range of country guides:

      • 3.Top Universities in Europe

        It may be the second-smallest continent on Earth, but Europe claims many of the world’s best educational institutions. In the QS World University Rankings® 2015/16 a total of 338 European universities are featured within the world’s top 800 (roughly 42%). The UK boasts Europe’s highest number of internationally ranked universities with 70 entries, followed by Germany (43) and France (41). Meanwhile Switzerland claims one of the world’s top 10 universities, with a second entrant in the top 15, leading a group of smaller European countries with very strong higher education systems.
        With such a large selection of top universities in Europe to choose from, deciding where to study in Europe is not always easy. To help you get started, we’ve compiled a list of the top universities in Europe categorized by country, based on the QS World University Rankings 2015/16.

      • Top universities in Austria

        A landlocked country in central Europe, Austria shares borders with eight other European nations, including Germany to the north and Italy to the south. It has seven top European universities currently included in the QS World University Rankings. Of these, the top universities in Austria are:

        1. University of Vienna (153rd in the world; 65th in Europe)
        2. Vienna University of Technology (197th in the world; 88th in Europe)
        3. Universität Innsbruck (joint 295th in the world; joint 133rd in Europe)
        4. Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (431-440 in the world; 195th in Europe)
        5. Johannes Kepler University Linz (551-600 in the world; 237th in Europe)

      • Top universities in Belgium

        Known for its fine chocolate and beer, Belgium is also home to some excellent educational establishments. Like Austria, it claims seven of the top universities in Europe to be internationally ranked, all of these placed within the top 300 worldwide. The top universities in Belgium are:

        1. KU Leuven (joint 82nd in the world; 30th in Europe)
        2. Ghent University (joint 124th in the world; 50th in Europe)
        3. UniversitéCatholique de Louvain (UCL, joint 149th in the world; 63rd in Europe)
        4. VrijeUniversiteitBrussel (VUB, 194th in the world; 87th in Europe)
        5. UniversitéLibre de Bruxelles (ULB, 207th in the world; 92nd in Europe)

      • Top universities in France

        France boasts a very extensive selection of top European universities, and an impressive presence in the international rankings, with the majority of its top 10 universities located in the capital city of Paris. The top universities in France are:

        1. EcoléNormaleSupérieure, Paris (23rd in the world; 10th in Europe)
        2. EcoléPolytechnique (40th in the world; 13th in Europe)
        3. Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC, joint 137th in the world; 57th in Europe)
        4. CentraleSupélec (new this year – joint 156th in the world and joint 68th in Europe)
        5. EcoleNormaleSupérieure de Lyon (joint 188th in the world; joint 84th in Europe)

      • Top universities Germany

        Offering free tuition to all undergraduate students, regardless of nationality, Germany is the world’s most popular non-Anglophone destination for international students. The top universities in Germany are:

        1. TechnischeUniversitätMünchen (60th in the world; 17thin Europe)
        2. Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg (66th in the world; 20th in Europe)
        3. Ludwig-Maximilians-UniversitätMünchen (75th in the world, 25th in Europe)
        4. Kit, KarlsruherInstitutFürTechnologie (93rd in the world, 35th in Europe)
        5. FreieUniversität Berlin (119th in the world, 47th in Europe)

      • Top universities in Ireland

        A relatively small country in Western Europe, Ireland is home to eight world-ranking universities, of which half are located in the capital city, Dublin. The top universities in Ireland are:

        1. Trinity College Dublin (78th in the world; 28th in Europe)
        2. University College Dublin (154th in the world; 66th in Europe)
        3. University College Cork (joint 233rd in the world; joint 104th in Europe)
        4. National University of Ireland, Galway (joint 271st in the world; 124th in Europe)
        5. Dublin City University (353rd in the world; 159th in Europe)

      • Top universities in Italy

        Located in the southern peninsula of the continent and much-loved for its weather, cuisine and beautiful settings, Italy is the fifth most populous country in Europe and boasts 26 internationally ranked universities. The top universities in Italy are:

        1. Politecnico di Milano (187th in the world, 83rd in Europe)
        2. University of Bologna (joint 204th in the world; 91st in Europe)
        3. Sapienza University of Rome (joint 213th in the world; 95th in Europe)
        4. University of Milano (306th in the world; 137th in Europe)
        5. UniversitàDegliStudi Di Padova (joint 309th in the world, 139th in Europe)

      • Top universities in the Netherlands

        This Dutch-speaking country towards the north of the continent (often referred to as Holland, though in fact the region of Holland only makes up two of its provinces), boasts 13 globally ranked universities. The top universities in the Netherlands are: 1. University of Amsterdam (55th in the world; 15th in Europe)
        2. Delft University of Technology (64th in the world; 19thin Europe)
        3. Utrecht University (94th in the world; 36th in Europe)
        4. Leiden University (95th in the world; 37th in Europe)
        5. University of Groningen (100th in the world; 39th in Europe)
        + 7 more top universities in the Netherlands

      • Top universities in the Nordic countries

        Europe’s Nordic countries (Denmark, Finland, Iceland,Norway and Sweden) offer 26 internationally ranked universities. Within the Nordic region, Finland claims the highest number of ranked institutions, despite being the most sparsely populated country in Europe, while Denmark offers the highest-ranked university in the group. The top universities in the Nordic countries are:

        1. University of Copenhagen (69th in the world; 22nd in Europe)
        2. Aarhus University (107th in the world; 42nd in Europe)
        + 3 more top universities in Denmark

        1. University of Helsinki (joint 96th in the world; 38th in Europe)
        2. Aalto University (joint 139th in the world; joint 59th in Europe)

      • Top universities in Russia

        If you think size matters when it comes to deciding where to study in Europe, then perhaps you’ll consider Russia, the largest country in the world, and home to 21 universities included in the QS World University Rankings. The top universities in Russia are:

        1. Lomonosov Moscow State University (108th in the world; 43rd in Europe)
        2. Saint-Petersburg State University (joint 256th in the world; joint 119th in Europe)
        3. Novosibirsk State University (317th in the world; joint 143rd in Europe)
        4. Bauman Moscow State Technical University (joint 338th in the world; joint 153rd in Europe)
        5. Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO-University, joint 397th in the world; joint 179th in Europe)

      • Top universities in Spain

        Acclaimed for its buzzing cities and attractive Mediterranean coast, Spain is popular among tourists and students alike, and claims 18 of the top European universities according to the QS World University Rankings. The top universities in Spain are:

        1. University of Barcelona (joint 166th in the world; joint 72nd in Europe)
        2. Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (186th in the world; 82nd in Europe)
        3. UniversitatAutonóma de Barcelona (joint 190th in the world; 86th in Europe)
        4. University Complutense Madrid (UCM - 226th in the world; 99th in Europe)
        5. University of Navarra (joint 265th in the world; joint 122nd in Europe)
        + 13 more top universities in Spain

      • Top universities in Switzerland

        Home to a large portion of the Alps mountain range,Switzerland is the only country other than the US or the UK to claim a university in the world’s top 10. It has a second entrant in the top 15, and half of its eight internationally ranked universities are in the global top 100. The top universities in Switzerland are:

        1. ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, 9th in the world; 5th in Europe)
        2. EcoléPolytechniqueFédérale de Lausanne (EPFL, 14th in the world; 6th in Europe)
        3. University of Zurich (UZH, joint 85th in the world; 31st in Europe)
        4. University of Geneva (joint 89th in the world; 33rd in Europe)
        5. University of Basel (joint 139th in the world; joint 59th in Europe)
        + 3 more top universities in Switzerland

      • Top universities in the UK

        Second only to the US in overall rankings presence, the UK has the continent’s largest selection of internationally ranked institutions, and is also the most popular destination to study in Europe. It currently boasts four of the world’s top 10 universities, and seven of the 10 top universities in Europe. The top universities in the UK are:

        1. University of Cambridge (joint 3rd in the world; 1st in Europe)
        2. University of Oxford (6th in the world; 2nd in Europe)
        3. UCL (University College London; 7th in the world; 3rd in Europe)
        4. Imperial College London (8th in the world; 4th in Europe)
        5. King’s College London (KCL; joint 19th in the world; 7th in Europe)
        + 65 more top universities in the UK

      • Top universities in Greece

        1. National Technical University of Athens (joint 376th in the world; joint 171st in Europe)
        2. Aristotle University of Thessaloniki (461-470 in the world; 205th in Europe)
        + 4 more top universities in Greece

        Best of the rest…
        The list above covers most of the best-known places to study in Europe as an international student. But the top universities in Europe do not end there; many more European countries are home to one or more institutions included in the QS World University Rankings. Here’s a quick round-up of the rest:

      • Belarus
        1. Belarus State University (421-430 in the world; 192nd in Europe)
        2. Belarusian National Technical University (701+ in the world; 284th in Europe)

      • Bulgaria
        1. University of St. KlimentOhridski (701+ in the world; 299th in Europe)

      • Croatia
        1. University of Zagreb (701+ in the world; 332nd in Europe)

      • Czech Republic
        1. Charles University (279th in the world; 127th in Europe)
        2. Czech Technical University in Prague (451-460 in the world; 202nd in Europe)
        + 2 more top universities in the Czech Republic

      • Estonia
        1. University of Tartu (joint 400th in the world; joint 182nd in Europe)
        2. Tallinn University of Technology (601-650 in the world; 260th in Europe)

      • Hungary
        1. University of Szeged (501-550 in the world; 234th in Europe)
        2. EötvösLoránd University (601-650 in the world; 253rd in Europe)
        + 2 more top universities in Hungary

      • Latvia
        1. University of Latvia (701+ in the world; 330th in Europe)

      • Lithuania
        1. Vilnius University (501-550 in the world; 236th in Europe)
        2. Kaunas University of Technology (701+ in the world; 288th in Europe)
        + 2 more top universities in Lithuania

      • Poland
        1. University of Warsaw (344th in the world; 156th in Europe)
        2. Jagiellonian University (411-420 in the world; 186th in Europe)
        + 4 more top universities in Poland

      • Portugal
        1. University of Porto (308th in the world; 138th in Europe)
        2. Universidade Nova de Lisboa (joint 351st in the world; joint 157th in Europe)
        + 3 more top universities in Portugal

      • Romania
        1. University of Bucharest (651-700 in the world; 276th in Europe)
        2. Alexandru loan Cuza University (701+ in the world; 280thin Europe)
        + 2 more top universities in Romania

      • Serbia
        1. University of Belgrade (701+ in the world; 323rd in Europe)

      • Slovenia
        1. University of Ljubljana (551-600 in the world; 249th in Europe)

      • Ukraine
        1. Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv (421-430 in the world; 192nd in Europe)
        2. V.N. KarazinKharkiv National University (491-500 in the world; 220th in Europe)
        + 4 more top universities in Ukraine

  • 3. How do I get started?

    Once you’ve made up your mind about where you want to study, you should start to think about choosing a program and a university, if you haven’t already. You can research leading universities with the QS World University Rankings®, use the subject rankings to discover universities which are best for your subject, and also consult national rankings of universities in your chosen destination. You’ll then want to look closely at the courses offered by the institutions on your short list, as well as researching the local area and lifestyle, admission requirements and costs.
    Once you’ve firmly decided on your program and institution, you should start to think about your application(s). Application processes differ depending on the university and the country, but generally each institution will provide full details of how to submit your application on the official website.
    In some cases there is a “two-step application process” for international students. This means you must submit two applications: one for a place at the university and one for a place on the course itself. This should be clearly stated on the university’s website. If you still have questions about the process, you should contact your chosen university directly.
    If you think you might need a student visa, remember that in most cases you won’t be able to apply for one until you have received a letter of acceptance from your chosen university. Each stage can take several months, so allow as much time as possible.

  • 4. How long do study abroad programs take?

    The length of time you spend studying abroad will depend on the program and level of degree you’re undertaking. Generally, an undergraduate degree will take three or four years of full-time study (for example, in the UK the typical length for most subjects is three years, while in the US the norm is four), while a graduate degree such as a master’s degree or equivalent will take one or two years. A doctoral (PhD) program will usually take three to four years.
    At many universities across the world, there is also the option of studying abroad for a shorter period of time. Student exchange programs allow you to study abroad for a year, a semester or even just a few weeks. Information about these shorter programs should be available on the website of the main university you plan to enroll at, as well as the university you’d like to be hosted by.

  • 5. When can I start applying for study abroad programs?

    Considering your application as early as possible is the best way to go. After all, the sooner you gain acceptance into a university, the sooner you can arrange your travels. To avoid disappointment, note down all the relevant application deadlines (set out by your chosen university) in HUGE LETTERS on your calendar.
    Application deadlines will be different depending on the school, but generally speaking, for programs starting in the fall (September/October), appli

  • 6. What are the entry requirements for study abroad programs?

    Entry requirements vary widely between universities and between countries, so be sure to check the information provided by your prospective university before submitting anything.
    Speaking generally, however, if you are applying for an undergraduate degree you will be asked to show that you have completed your secondary education to a standard that is in line with the required grades (e.g. your GPA, A-level grades or equivalent) for the program you’re applying to. If you have an international qualification and are unsure whether this is accepted, you should contact the admissions department of the university.
    For non-native English speakers wanting to study in English-speaking countries, it is also highly likely that you’ll need to provide proof of your English-language proficiency by taking an English-language test such as TOEFL or IELTS. Similar tests may be required for those studying in other languages. For more information about language tests, refer to question 8.

  • 7. What documentation should I submit with my application?

    You may be asked to provide some supporting documentation as part of your application. Once again, requirements vary depending on the country and university, but international students are often asked to provide the following:

    • Passport photos for identification
    • A statement of purpose
    • CV/résumé
    • Academic references/ letters of recommendation
    • Certificate and transcripts of your secondary education
    • Proof of English-language proficiency (e.g. a TOEFL/IELTS certificate, for schools in English-speaking countries), or other language test
    • Admissions test results (e.g. GMAT/GRE results, for graduate programs) Related articles:
    • University Applications and Admissions: Expert Advice
    • What you Need to Apply for Grad School

  • 8. Do I have to speak a second language to study abroad?

    This depends on the country you wish to study in, and the language your course will be taught in. If you are not a native English speaker but wish to study a course taught in English, you will have to prove you can speak the language to a fairly high level, by providing English-language test results. This is to ensure you will be able to follow your course without any comprehension problems.
    English is also used as a language of instruction in a number of other countries worldwide, particularly for graduate programs and business degrees. English-taught courses will be advertised on the university’s website and can sometimes be searched for using a centralized database run by a national agency.
    Common tests accepted as proof of English proficiency are the TOEFL and IELTS. If you need to prove your proficiency in a language other thanEnglish, there are also similar tests in other languages, such as the DELF/DALF and TCF-DAP (French) or the DSF and TestDaF (German).
    Before taking a language test, make sure you confirm which results are accepted by your chosen school to make sure you don’t waste money on the wrong test.

  • 9. Will I need to attend an admissions interview?

    As a prospective international student, it is relatively unlikely for schools to expect you to attend an admissions interview in person, although this is not unheard of – especially for the most competitive programs.
    Some universities hold international interviews in various locations around the world, so you may be expected to attend one of these. There is also a growing trend of using video interviewing. This is like any other interview, with a prearranged time and date, but will take place online, via an application such as Skype.

  • 10. After gaining a letter of acceptance, what do I do next?

    Congratulations, you’re in! Now all that’s left to do is to prepare for your studies, pack up your life into a single (large) suitcase, get your travel documents in order, apply for your student visa, research your accommodation options, and look for funding… don’t panic, it’ll all be worth it!
    In fact, as soon as you gain acceptance from a university, the first thing you should start to consider is your travel documentation. Ensure you have a valid passport and travel insurance, as well as a student visa if you need one. Make sure you have sufficient time to get your passport/visa approved so that you’ll be able to travel legally!
    For more information on what documentation you’ll need to travel, you should visit the government website of your chosen country to find information for travelers, visitors and international students (e.g. for UK travel information). All the travel information you need should be listed on these official sites.
    Alternatively, you can ask your university for guidance. Often, admissions departments will help you to prepare for your travels, and, in some countries, they even apply for the student visa on your behalf. Make sure you check with your university, however – don’t assume someone else is going to sort everything out!

  • 11. Do I need to apply for a student visa?

    Student visas are a big question for those who want to know how to study abroad, though not all international students will need one. If you’re an EU citizen planning to study in another EU country, for instance, you do not need to a visa. However, as a rule of thumb, if you come from outside of your chosen country’s geographical region/continent, you will probably need to apply for a student visa. This usually only applies to longer periods of international study; if you’re participating in a shorter exchange, last three months or less, a tourist or visitor visa may suffice.
    To find out for sure, check either with your chosen university or the government travel website of your country of study. For information on how to apply for a student visa, see the articles listed below.

  • 12. How much does it cost to study abroad?

    To work out the cost of studying abroad, you need to consider the average tuition fees for international students in your chosen country, as well as the cost of living.
    As a point of reference, the average tuition fees for international students studying in the UK are UK£12,000 (US$18,200) a year, with an additional UK£7,000 (US$10,600) per year needed to cover living costs. In the US, the average yearly cost is US$28,500 with an additional recommended budget of US$15,000 to cover your living costs. With these yearly figures in mind, remember that undergraduate programs in the US tend to last a full four years.
    In some countries, there are no tuition fees at all. Notable examples include Germany, where undergraduate-level education is free for all, and a number of the Nordic countries such as Finland.

  • 13. Can I get financial aid to study abroad?

    Although many international students may find it difficult to get a student loan to fund their studies, there are a myriad of other funding opportunities available to make studying abroad more affordable, including scholarships, fellowships, studentships, sponsorships, grants and bursaries.
    Your chosen university is perhaps the best place to get funding information relevant to you, so make sure to scour the school’s website for advice, or contact the school directly. This is also where information about study abroad scholarships offered by the university and other external organizations can be found, along with details regarding eligibility and how to apply. Many scholarships are granted based on academic merit, and are highly competitive. There are also lots of funding schemes targeting specific groups of students, such as students from developing countries and women studying male-dominated subjects.

  • 14. Where can I find study abroad scholarships?

    Study abroad scholarships can be found in many places! Your first port of call will be the website of your chosen university, where you’ll find information on available scholarships. Sometimes the university will also list external scholarships, such as those offered by the government or business partners of the school. If not, you should research governmental schemes in your home country andyour country of study, as well as funding offered by external organizations relating to your field of study (e.g. an engineering firm might offer a scholarship for engineering students).

  • 15. Where will I live during my study abroad program?

    If your chosen university has readily available campus accommodation, it is likely that you will be able to apply for a place in these student halls. If this is not the case, you will need to find your own accommodation.
    If money is no object, you can consider renting your own flat, while those on a smaller budget can find shared accommodation with other students or use spare room listings found online. In all cases, you should make sure you do your research before signing anything or handing over any money. Your university’s student support team and student union should also offer advice on how to find accommodation locally.

  • 16. Can I work during my studies abroad?

    This will depend on whether or not your student visa allows you to work. In some countries there are restrictions on the amount of paid work you can undertake during your studies; often there’s a limit of 20 hours’ paid work per week during term time, with full-time work permitted during holidays.
    If you don’t need a student visa, it is more likely you’ll be able to work as many hours as you like, as long as this doesn’t affect your studies – but check with the university and/or official government site.

  • Q: There are so many schools in the U.S. How do I decide which schools to apply to?
    A: Research your options and define your priorities. Contact the EducationUSA advising center nearest you and browse college search engines online.

  • Q: What’s the difference between a college and a university?
    A: Colleges offer only undergraduate degrees while universities offer graduate degrees as well, but the terms are often used interchangeably.

  • Q: Are there age limitations to attend U.S. universities?
    A: In general, you must have completed high school and you must be at least 17 years of age.

  • Q: What is the academic calendar for universities in the United States?
    A: The academic year usually runs from August through May with breaks for holidays. Most universities use either the semester system (two terms), the quarter system (students attend three out of four total terms), or the trimester system (three terms).

  • Q: What is the difference between "Undergraduate" and "Graduate" degrees?
    A: Undergraduate programs follow high school and lead to an associate (two-year) degree or a bachelor (four-year) degree. Graduate programs follow a bachelor’s degree and lead to a master’s or doctoral degree.

  • Q: What are the different types of undergraduate degrees?
    A: Associate: a two-year program that either leads to a specific vocation or transitions to a bachelor program. Bachelor: a four or five-year program where students earn credits in a wide variety of courses.

  • Q: What are the different types of graduate degrees?
    A: Masters: two-year degree providing additional specialization. Doctorate: five to eight-year program certifying the student as a trained research scholar and/or professor.

  • Q: Is it possible to take a professional degree program without first earning a bachelor's degree?
    A: Yes, but they are highly selective and require a heavy courseload across a total of six years of study.

  • Q: Is it possible to obtain a bachelor's degree and a master's degree at the same time?
    A: In a joint-degree program, students begin a graduate program in their fourth year of college, earning both degrees upon graduation.

  • Q: What is the length of study for MBA programs in the U.S.?
    A: MBA programs typically last one to two years.

  • Q: Can you work while studying in the United States?
    A: With permission of the International Student Office, international students may work on campus up to 20 hours/week their first year and can apply to work off-campus in subsequent years.

  • Q: What is the difference between online studies and distance studies?
    A: Essentially there is no difference.

  • Q: What is distance education?
    A: Distance education occurs when a student and an instructor are in different places. Learning occurs by mail, telephone, internet, or by other means.

  • Q: Is distance learning available at the graduate level?
    A: Yes. To find accredited online distance learning programs, please search the Distance Education Accrediting Commission website.

  • Q: Can I transfer to a U.S. university from a university outside of the United States?
    A: Yes, although you may lose some credits and require extra time to complete your degree.

  • Q: What is the transfer application process?
    A: You must fulfill the requirements of a freshman applicant, as well as any supplemental information required by the transfer institution.

  • Q: What is a community college?
    A: Community colleges are typically state-supported and provide the first two years of a four-year undergraduate degree.

  • Q: Why should I attend community college?
    A: Community colleges offer lower costs, easier admission policies, close ties to state schools,and many of the required courses connected to a degree.

  • Q: How do you transfer from a community college to a four-year university?
    A: The transfer process varies for each school. It is best to target the four-year institution early and determine what is needed to transfer.

  • Q: How can I find out if an institution is accredited?
    A: Search the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Post-secondary Education website to see if an institution is accredited.

  • Q: How can I find out if a specialized program of study is accredited?
    A: For specialized program accreditation, see “Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education,” available from American Council on Education.

  • Q: How can I find out which universities are rated best for a specific academic major?
    A: Refer to college and university guides to find which institutions are known for excellence in different fields of study.

  • Q: What are English language proficiency requirements?
    A: U.S. universities require an English language proficiency test before admission to ensure you can read, write, and speak fluently.

  • Q: I want to study in the United States, but my English proficiency isn’t good enough yet. What can I do?
    A: There are a number of programs for English language study in the United States and online, as well as local possibilities.

  • Q: Do students have to study a fixed set of subjects or can they individually form their major?
    A: It depends: Some degree programs are highly structured. Bachelors' degrees are very flexible and sometimes allow you to create your own program.

  • Q: When do you declare a major?
    A: You do not declare a major until the end of you second year of school.

  • Q: What is a liberal arts college?
    A: A liberal arts college offers courses in humanities, languages, math, social and natural sciences, and students take 25-50% of their courses in their major.

  • Q: What are the benefits of a liberal arts education?
    A: A liberal arts college offers a smaller setting and teaches critical thinking and communication skills necessary in an ever-changing job market.

  • Q: What is the credit system in U.S. universities?
    A: A credit is a value assigned to each course which reflects the number of hours the class will meet with the professor each week.

  • Q: What is a GPA?
    A: Grade Point Average (GPA) is a numeric indicator for a student's academic performance, calculated on a scale of 4.0.

  • Q: What is the U.S. grading system?
    A: Letter grades indicate a student's academic performance. Each letter grade has a numeric value which is used to calculate a GPA, on a scale of 4.0.

  • Q: How are grades determined in U.S. universities?
    A: Grades are typically determined by quizzes, midterms, final exams, papers, projects, class attendance, and class participation.

  • Q: What is the difference between state and private universities?
    A: State universities are funded by the state and are generally larger and less expensive than private universities.

  • Q: Are there opportunities for university exchange programs?
    A: Contact the office responsible for international programs at your institution to ask if your school has exchange agreements with U.S. universities.

  • Q: How can an international student find out what academic subjects from their country are acceptable for a U.S. university?
    A: Each U.S. university will want to review an international student's subjects and may ask the student to contact a credential evaluation agency.

  • Q: How can I apply for vocational training in the United States?
    A: U.S. institutions cannot issue I-20 forms for non-degree study, including vocational training. Community colleges offer technical/vocational study for an associate's degree.

  • Q: What’s the best general advice for an incoming student?
    A: Attend the closest EducationUSA advising center'spredeparture orientation. Then, when you arrive on campus, attend all orientation meetings scheduled at your college or university.