Study in Connecticut, United States
Connecticut is a state in New England, on the East Coast of the USA, just north of New York and falling largely within the New York Metropolitan Area. Despite its proximity to such a large city, Connecticut is regularly classed as one of the safest places to live in the whole of the USA, and is the area of choice for many families and students who want New York City to be within easy reach.
It is also a hub of world class education - Yale University, regularly ranked as the number one university in the world, is located in New Haven, the state’s second largest city.
As well as being a centre of higher education, Connecticut is also historically important as it was one of one of the first established colonies, and one which was influential during the fight for American independence. This wealth of history is still visible today, and provides an interesting backdrop for anyone looking to take up a postgraduate course overseas in the USA.
Although Yale University is arguably the most highly respected university in the world, it is far from the only higher education institution that Connecticut offers. There are a large number of other universities and colleges in the state that offer postgraduate courses. The most well respected of these include:
- Wesleyan University
- University of Connecticut
- Quinnipiac University
- Central Connecticut State University
- Fairfield University
Wesleyan University is a liberal arts college, which has a number of students following PhD courses in mathematics and science subjects. The University of Connecticut is a public institution with a large postgraduate population of almost 8,000; it has six campuses and is also highly regarded in terms of research.
Professional, or ‘terminal’, masters are designed to lead to employment rather than further study, whilst academic masters are generally designed to lead the way into doctorate/PhD study. 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 at one of Connecticut’s universities, 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 for a graduate program in Connecticut, 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 Connecticut
Life in Connecticut’s is main cities is characterised by the fact that they are predominantly university towns – many of the museums in New Haven, for example, are affiliated with Yale University. The large population of students in Connecticut, both from the US and overseas, makes it an extremely popular destination for those looking to take up postgraduate courses.
As a student on a postgraduate course in Connecticut you are likely to live in either New Haven or Hartford, or one of the city suburbs. The cultural scene in New Haven is well known: there are a number of festivals, and the city’s downtown is a hub of restaurants, clubs and bars – the nightlife here is very popular with those studying locally, and there are also a number of free music festivals in the summer months. In Hartford, there are countless historical sites that will pique the interest of any student who chooses the area as a location in which to take up a graduate program.
In terms of transport cycling is a popular way to get around, although both towns have public transport systems.
Working in Connecticut
Connecticut’s economy is heavily influenced by agriculture, transportation, electrical equipment and industrial machinery, and chemical, metal and pharmaceutical products. In Hartford and its suburbs, insurance is the most predominant sector.
In recent years there have also been a large number of jobs created by the film, arts and tourism industries – these are particular areas of growth across the state, and one that will be of particular interest to those who graduate from postgraduate courses in creative areas.
The state’s unemployment rate is in line with the national average.
Whilst studying abroad on postgraduate courses many students choose to live on their university campus in halls of residence. Living in halls allows you to meet fellow students and settle into campus life. Many halls include gym facilities and recreational areas - you should check with your university whether they offer this type of accommodation for those on postgraduate courses.
In order to keep their independence, some students on postgraduate courses choose to live in private accommodation – where paying for utilities and bills will be your own responsibility. Your chosen university should be able to advise you on how to rent a private flat.
In New Haven, many students studying postgraduate courses choose to rent privately in the East Rock area, or downtown in the city.
Weather and climate
Connecticut’s climate is both humid continental and humid subtropical, depending on the particular area. In general, the state is fairly sunny. Summer is humid with the possibility of thunderstorms, autumn is mild, spring is rainy with varying temperatures, and winter is cold and sees regular snowfall. The state also experiences approximately one tornado per year.
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