Frequently Asked Questions***

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There are so many schools in the U.S. How do I decide which schools to apply to?
Research your options and define your priorities. Contact the EducationUSA advising center nearest you. There are websites like which can give you some insights.
What’s the difference between a college and a university?
Colleges offer only undergraduate degrees while universities offer graduate degrees as well, but the terms are often used interchangeably.
Are there age limitations to attend U.S. universities?
In general, you must have completed high school and you must be at least 17 years of age.
What is the academic calendar for universities in the United States?
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).
What is the difference between "Undergraduate" and "Graduate" degrees?
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.
What are the different types of undergraduate degrees?
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.
What are the different types of graduate degrees?
Masters: two-year degree providing additional specialization. Doctorate: five to eight-year program certifying the student as a trained research scholar and/or professor.
Is it possible to take a professional degree program without first earning a bachelor's degree?

Yes, but they are highly selective and require a heavy courseload across a total of six years of study.

Is it possible to obtain a bachelor's degree and a master's degree at the same time?

In a joint-degree program, students begin a graduate program in their fourth year of college, earning both degrees upon graduation.

What is the length of study for MBA programs in the U.S.?

MBA programs typically last one to two years.

Can you work while studying in the United States?

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.

Can I transfer to a U.S. university from a university outside of the United States?

Yes, although you may lose some credits and require extra time to complete your degree.

How can I find out if an institution is accredited?

Search the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Post-secondary Education website to see if an institution is accredited.

How can I find out if a specialized program of study is accredited?

For specialized program accreditation, see “Accredited Institutions of Postsecondary Education,” available from American Council on Education.

How can I find out which universities are rated best for a specific academic major?

Refer to college and university guides to find which institutions are known for excellence in different fields of study.

What are English language proficiency requirements?

U.S. universities require an English language proficiency test before admission to ensure you can read, write, and speak fluently. You can submit scores of TOEFL/IELTS or PTE*

What is the credit system in U.S. universities?

A credit is a value assigned to each course which reflects the number of hours the class will meet with the professor each week.

What is a GPA?

Grade Point Average (GPA) is a numeric indicator for a student's academic performance, calculated on a scale of 4.0.

What is the U.S. grading system?

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.

How are grades determined in U.S. universities?

Grades are typically determined by quizzes, midterms, final exams, papers, projects, class attendance, and class participation.

What is the difference between state and private universities?

State universities are funded by the state and are generally larger and less expensive than private universities.

How can an international student find out what academic subjects from their country are acceptable for a U.S. university?

Each U.S. University will want to review an international student's subjects and may ask the student to contact a credential evaluation agency if necessary.

What is the difference between CPT and OPT

In case you are a student on F1 visa, then you can start work after 9 months from the time of entering the US. It is known as Curricular Practical Training (CPT), however after graduation you can work on what is known as the Optional Practical Training for one year (OPT).

What is STEM OPT?

On May 10, 2016, DHS replaced the 17-month STEM OPT extension with a new 24-month STEM OPT extension - Eligible F-1 nonimmigrant students with STEM degrees (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) from Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP)-certified and accredited U.S. colleges and universities may apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension. Interested F-1 students must apply for and receive an Employment Authorization Document (EAD) from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

*** Source Education USA – United States Department of State.