How does the US Education System for higher education work?

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Starting an undergraduate or graduate degree in others countries  is the dream of many students, but the structure of education in countries like the United States is not always known. With that in mind, this article shows how the education system in the USA is , with well-defined rules and steps that must be followed to give a student a professional and academic title.

Ahead, you understand how undergraduate and graduate studies in the US work, knowing some specific terms such as Associated Degree Bachelors Degree , Freshman , Sophomore , Junior , Senior , Major and Minor . At the end, the content shows what to do to enter a higher education selection process in the United States. Keep reading!

What is the US higher education system like?

To answer the question, it is necessary to know, initially, that the higher education system in the USA is divided into undergraduate ( Associated Degree and Bachelors Degree ) and postgraduate (Master and Doctorate), but has consistent differences in relation to the Brazilian structure. Check out!

University graduate

Under graduated is the term that defines the education Americans receive after graduating from high school. The stage is divided into the areas of Health Sciences, Social Sciences and Humanities, which comprise short courses, the so-called Associated Degree  , and bachelor’s degrees, known as Bachelors Degree .

Associated Degree programs can give the student a university degree in different areas of knowledge, and the curriculum consists of a general theoretical basis, complemented by specific subjects, according to the Director of Admission at MUST University,

This modality lasts 2 years, but candidates can take advantage of the credits. Continuing their studies, in a 4-year bachelor’s degree.

In turn, Bachelors Degree programs not only introduce students to general knowledge, but also deepen knowledge in a specific area. Candidates who choose bachelor’s degrees in philosophy, cultural studies, and religious studies, for example, earn a Bachelor of Arts (AB). Programs such as mathematics, engineering and physics grant a degree in Science (SB).

The duration of the undergraduate course at an American higher education institution is divided into Freshman (first year) and Sophomore (second year), in which the student is dedicated to general knowledge, in addition to Junior (third year) and Senior (last year ) ), in which the student chooses a specific qualification. The rule is not valid for Medicine, Veterinary Medicine, Law and Dentistry, courses that have a different schedule.

Bachelors Program

US Education System

There is also the Major , which is the name for the qualification in which the student completes the bachelor’s degree (such as Psychology, Biology, Physics and Journalism). In this way, the graduate can also choose subjects to obtain the Minor , similar to a specialization. For example: if the candidate took the Major in Journalism, the Minor can be taken in Economic Journalism, deepening knowledge in that area.

Unlike Brazil, the American higher education system does not provide specialization courses for graduates. In the country, master’s and doctoral degrees are considered postgraduate programs.

Master’s degree

After graduation, many people want to pursue an international master’s degree to professionalize in a field and expand employment opportunities. In the United States, programs fall into these categories:

  • Master of Arts(MA), for areas such as Economics, English, Folklore and Anthropology;
  • Master of Science(MS), encompassing areas such as Chemical Engineering, Architecture and Computer Science;
  • Master of Fine Arts(MFA), dedicated to areas such as Photography and Performing Arts;
  • Master in Business Administration(MBA), which lasts an average of 2 years and is an option to qualify professionally .

In any case, the master’s degree should bring the student closer to the academy, being, generally, a preparatory stage for the academic doctorate.

Doctorate degree

The doctorate is the stage that certifies that the researcher has enough knowledge to act as a university professor. In general, the course is divided into two parts:

  1. stage, lasting from 3 to 5 years, in which the student attends classes;
  2. final phase, completed in 2 or 3 years, in which the candidate develops research on a specific topic.

In the United States, the main doctoral title awarded to candidates is the Doctor of Philosophy, the Ph.D., but there are other doctoral certificates equivalent to the Ph.D. in other fields of knowledge.

Many schools require the student to have a master’s degree in order to participate in the doctoral selection, but the rule is not general, as some programs accept classification for direct doctorate, without requiring a master’s degree from the candidate.

What is the admissions process for a US university like?

The first step towards admission to an American university is to take the Scholastic Assessment Test (SAT), a mandatory test that gives access to higher education in the country and assesses candidates’ knowledge in subjects such as English, science, history, mathematics and a foreign language, as MUST University’s Director of Admission, explains.

To take an undergraduate or graduate course in the United States. It is also necessary to be fluent in English, which is attested by the IELTS or TOEFL tests. The student must, therefore, verify the minimum grade required by higher education institutions. In each of the certificates of English as a foreign language.

Likewise, the candidate must provide letters of recommendation in English. Generally required by institutions to prove the student’s experience and qualifications. For that, you should look for a teacher or boss, who can report on your ability as a student or professional.

After the release of the SAT grade, the student can start the selection process in the institutions. That want to start the graduation or post-graduation, also separating the translated documents. Necessary to validate the application.

In the end, with approval at a US university, it is sufficient to obtain a student visa . At an American consulate in Brazil to begin your studies.

In this article, you understood how the education system in the USA is, which is divided into undergraduate and graduate . However, to succeed professionally and be able to study in the country. It is necessary to pay attention to the admission process in American institutions. Preparing for official tests and separating the mandatory documentation for selection.


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