Study for a graduate program in Texas
Think Texas is just cowboys, cactuses and Stetson hats? Think again. Contrary to the popular image of Western films, only 10% of Texas is actually made up of deserts. The rest is split between welcoming cities like Houston, San Antonio and Dallas and lush forests or ocean coastlines.
One thing all parts of Texas have in common is their history. The state has a rich history in rebellion and fighting foreign invasion, and this spirit has endured through its people. Texans are some of the most fiercely patriotic people in American, but are also well known for the welcome they give outsiders.
Texas is home to many universities offering postgraduate courses. Thirty six separate public universities exist in Texas, of which 32 belong to the six state university systems. The state is also home to many private institutions of higher learning, including the world-renowned Rice University.
You can study a graduate program in Texas at the following:
- The University of Texas System
- Texas A&M System
- Texas State System
- Rice University
- Trinity University
- Baylor University
Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study. Popular courses include: Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) and Master of Library Science (M.L.S.).
Academic masters, however, are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. Popular courses include: Master of Education (M.Ed.), and Master of Engineering (M.Eng.).
Both last between one and three years, depending on the subject.
Doctoral degrees are the most advanced level of higher education, and usually take between four and eight years to complete, which includes the time it takes to write and present a dissertation.
Immigration and visas
Before travelling to the USA to study a graduate program in Texas, you will need to apply for a non-immigrant visa.
The most common kind of student visa is the F-1 visa, which entitles the holder to study at any US accredited college or university.
To apply for a student visa in order to study in Texas, you will need to fill out an application form (found on the US Embassy website) and send appropriate documentation, such as evidence of financial standing and proof of university acceptance and academic qualifications, as well as possibly attending a visa interview at the US Embassy in your home country.
Life in Texas
Known as the ‘Lone Star State’, Texas has an independent spirit (Texas was once its own country) and a fiercely competitive nature. This is a state that is larger than Germany, the UK, Belgium the Netherlands combined, so expect to take your time getting around.
Nevertheless, old Texan spirit still exists, but mostly in mindset rather than practice. Music is a way of life in Texas, with Austin having hundreds of live music venues and San Antonio skipping to a distinctly mariachi beat.
Wherever you go, you’re assured of one thing: Texans are hospitable, friendly, welcoming people who will be very happy to show you around their proud state.
Working in Texas
Texas has the second highest GDP of all American states, with over a $1trillion generated each year – an output comparable to the GDP of India or Canada. The state achieves this through a combination of natural resources, centres of education and its sprawling oil industry.
Texas’ oil industry generates the state millions of dollars each year. The state has a quarter of the known oil reserves in the US and generates 4.6 million barrels of oil a day. However, it is not just oil that Texas thrives on – the state is also a leader in renewable energy sources, providing the most wind power in the US.
Postgraduate students in Texas will normally choose to live in university accommodation at first, as a way of settling into university life and getting to meet fellow students. However, one exception is students at the University of Texas Brownsville, where 99% of students live off campus.
If you do decide to find your own accommodation, you should contact your university first to find out about reputable estate agents and good areas to live in.
Weather and climate
The large size of Texas means that its climate can vary depending on where you choose to study. For example, the Panhandle has colder winters than North Texas and gets plenty of snow each year, whereas the Gulf Coast gets snow only every couple of years.
Thunderstorms are a common occurrence in Texas, while Tornado Alley covers the northern section of Texas, with April, May and June the most likely months for them to strike.
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