The United States offers a wide range of options to the international student and opens a new world of opportunities to grow personally and professionally. US universities are renowned for their facilities, faculty and resources. Course choices are very flexible and one can easily move from one college to another.

University admission requires completion of 12 years of primary and secondary education culminating in a high school diploma. Admissions criteria involve the students’ GPA, class ranking, and scores at the Scholastic Aptitude Test I (SAT I) and the American College Test (ACT). International students need to submit a high school equivalency report from a foreign credential evaluation agency.

Students who have completed high school can pursue post-secondary education at a college or university leading to a bachelor’s degree in a field of concentration known as a major. There are schools that offer either a two-year degree (called an associate degree) or a four-year degree (called a bachelors degree) in a specific course of study. International students can transfer to a US college or university by submitting a course-by-course evaluation report that shows the equivalence of the courses completed in their country in terms of U.S. courses, semester credit hours and grades.

After obtaining an initial undergraduate degree a student can proceed to the second stage of university education which consists of the Master’s degree, as well as other postgraduate Diploma or Certificate courses. Master’s programs are designed for two years of full-time study, which includes the completion of a research thesis. Many graduate and law schools do not require experience after earning a bachelor’s degree to enter their programs; however, business school candidates are usually required to gain a few years of professional work experience before applying.

Students who want to advance their education beyond the master’s level in a specific field can pursue a doctorate degree, also called a PhD. A PhD degree can take between three and six years to complete, depending on the student’s educational background. The Ph.D. degree is awarded after writing a dissertation on an original piece of significant research and successfully defending the work before a panel of faculty members who specialize in the discipline. The doctoral degree is designed to train research scholars and, in many cases, future college and university faculty members.

Certain courses like law, dentistry, pharmacy and medicine are are offered as graduate study after earning at least three years of undergraduate schooling or after earning a bachelor’s degree depending on the program. These professional fields do not require a specific undergraduate major, though medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry have set prerequisite courses that must be taken before enrollment. Some of these programs have formal apprenticeship procedures like residency and internship which must be completed after graduation.