Study in the USA
Graduate programs in the USA
The USA is a modern country, with strong values and a strong sense of national pride.
It is currently a world-leader in technology and business, and has some the oldest and most established universities in the world.
USA postgraduate courses combine first-class teaching and leading research to prepare graduates for professional excellence in the world of work.
There are over 5,500 universities in the US, averaging at around 115 per state, so with this much choice you are bound to find an institution to suit you.
Graduate programs in the US fall into three main categories:
- Academic Masters
- Professional Masters
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 in the USA
Before travelling to the USA to study, 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, 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.
It is normally also necessary to demonstrate that you have adequate study abroad travel insurance, which you must buy before you travel.
Life in the USA
The USA is one of the largest and most diverse places in the world, in terms of geography, climate, culture and society. Life in New York will be totally different to life in Arizona or Florida: every state has its own unique culture and lifestyle.
American university life is famous throughout of the world for its fraternities, sororities, and outrageous sports teams: every college has its own traditions and customs, and it’s the American tradition to get stuck in as soon as you arrive!
Working in the USA
Only in certain circumstances will you be permitted to work whilst studying in the USA on an F-1 student visa.
Furthermore, applying for permanent residence and employment in the USA post-study is also tricky: to obtain your ‘green card’ (known officially as lawful permanent residence), you would need to be sponsored by either a close relative, who is a lawful permanent resident, or an employer.
The USA is one of the world’s largest economies, and the job market remains extremely competitive. To stay ahead, attempt to gain permanent employment through a grad-scheme and try and take part in a work experience program whilst you’re studying.
There are three main types of accommodation available to USA postgraduates:
- University residence halls
- Private student housing
- Homestay accommodation
On-campus accommodation is more convenient, but can be more expensive. As a guide you can expect to pay around $5,000 per semester, but this includes room, board and utilities.
Private can be cheaper, but is much more relative. As a guide, you can expect to pay between $300 and $1,000 a month for a room in shared housing, or more if you want to live on your own
Staying with a Homestay family is a more unusual choice, but is a very good way to save money and adjust quickly to American life.
Climate in the USA is very diverse due to its huge landmass, and so will entirely depend upon which state you choose to study in. Generally, the climate ranges from humid continental in the north to humid subtropical in the south.
Driving is the most popular form of transport in the US, which accounts for 86% passenger-miles travelled. Bus, rail and air travel make up the remaining 14%, and bicycle usage is minimal.
The cost of public transport will vary greatly depending on the state and city you are in, the company you are using and how far you are travelling. Generally, bus travel is the cheapest way to cover longer distances.
The currency of the USA is the United States dollar.
What to do next
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Universities and cities in United States