Study in the US vs UK for international students: which is better?

It’s obvious that the United States and UK are both leading countries in the academic field. This is due to the fact that they have the best well-known universities in the world. In addition, they both have excellent research facilities that researchers and scientists head to from all over the world. However, while both provide an excellent learning environment, the difference between studying in the US vs in the UK can be felt in terms of the study cost, the structure of the university, and many other differences.

In this article, we will explore the difference between studying in the US vs studying in the UK as well as the advantages of each.

Study in UK vs Study in UK

Registration Process at UK vs US universities

Enrollment in British Universities

The registration process at British universities is different from the one in American universities. Britain allows British or international students to apply to several universities at once either through the pre-registration service or through the UCAS website. Moreover, the application process shall take place during the fall of each year.

Enrollment in American Universities

On the other hand, enrollment in an American university requires the student to submit his application to the university or college much earlier. However, this process may be longer, because the student who wishes to complete his studies in the United States must apply directly to each institution individually, through the Central Admission Department or by email.

In addition, cover letters must be prepared and uploaded to each individual university (about 200-300 words each). When applying to American colleges, it is also important for the international student to pass written tests called SAT. These tests seek to test the student’s ability in reading, language, math as well as editing in English.

Duration of study

Perhaps the most important difference between studying in the US vs in the UK is the time a student shall spend to obtain an academic degree.

Duration of study in the UK

  • Duration for obtaining a bachelor’s degree in UK is 3 years
  • Master’s degree duration is one year
  • A PhD degree duration is 3 years

Duration of study in the United States

Generally, the programs for university degrees in the United States take about one year longer than in the UK:

  • It takes 4 years to obtain a bachelor’s degree in the United States
  • Master’s degree duration is two years
  • It takes 5 to 7 years to obtain a PhD degree.

University Structure in the UK vs the US

Subjects available in British Universities

Many universities in the UK consist of “colleges” dedicated to a specific subject. For example, a university may have an art or engineering college or even a drama college. Meanwhile, the college is still governed by the university and by its rules.

What distinguishes the subjects available in British colleges is that you remain restricted to the field you have chosen until you graduate and get your university degree.

Subjects available in American Universities

In contrast, in the United States, you apply to a major university for a one-year study or more. Then, you start taking courses in different disciplines to choose in which you aim to complete your studies at the end of your first or second year.

However, even after the announcement of specialty at an American university, they still accept that students take classes outside their field. Basically, it remains optional for a student who wants to expand his culture on a particular subject.

Modules organization system

Modules in the United States

The difference between studying in the US vs the UK is the fact that most American universities operate on a two-semester basis. As an illustration, classes start in mid to late August. Moreover, most students take a fairly long break from mid-December to the beginning of the second semester in January.

However, universities with different calendars, such as four or three semesters, may begin their winter break on the Thanksgiving holiday, which comes at the end of November.

Modules in the UK

The British university semester is more diverse than its US counterpart. Indeed, many schools start in September or October and end in May or June. This makes the academic year a bit longer. However, the system of class and modules organization is less standardized across the UK.

UK vs US university cost and student living cost

Obviously, the cost of education in both countries is not cheap. However, the fees & cost of study in the UK remain generally higher. Basically, universities in the UK charge a fee of up to $14,300 per year. This applies to UK and EU citizens. On the other hand, the study cost for international students can be much higher.

On the contrary, the average tuition fee for public institutions is about $3,000 per year for a duration of two years. Whereas the average fee for private institutions of four years is about $29,000 per year. Furthermore, some prestigious private institutions of four-year study cost up to $50,000 per year.

In order to help students cover the costs of their studies, there are many US scholarships as well as scholarships in the UK. These scholarships are funded by many government and non-governmental organizations.

At last, the difference between studying in the US vs in the UK may be significant. However, each country has its own advantages.

Therefore, in case the student wants to pursue a broader university course, allowing him to choose slowly the direction to take in the future, American universities are the best choice. Whereas in case the student is ready for a more focused study within a shorter period of time, British universities remain the most suitable option.

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