More than half of the top 200 universities in the world are located in the United States or the United Kingdom, according to Times Higher Education. There is a strong culture of intellectual freedom in both countries, as well as high-quality higher education and excellent research facilities. In spite of the excellent educational environment in both countries, the university structure and student life differ significantly. This blog examines the key differences between the American and British educational systems.
Approximately How Long it Took:
It is likely that the time it takes to complete a degree in the US and UK education systems will be the most significant difference (except in Scotland, where bachelor’s degrees also take four years). US and UK degree programs vary in length generally, but this can be influenced by whether you earned a Master’s before completing your PhD. Regardless of the system you follow, you may enter a PhD program as soon as you complete your undergraduate degree, but in the UK, you must complete a Master’s degree before applying to a PhD program. The emphasis on course programs in the UK generally results in shorter courses than in the US.
A Term Used in Academics:
Smaller liberal arts colleges may start later, but most US universities begin their academic year by mid- to late August. Early to mid-January marks the beginning of the second semester after a lengthy break that began in mid-December. Depending on the calendar used by the university, winter break may begin at Thanksgiving in late November for universities using trimesters or quarters. Unlike the United States, the United Kingdom has a slightly different academic year. Despite the fact that some universities use trimesters and quarters, the majority uses semesters. A typical academic year lasts from September or October through May or June at many schools. Different calendars may be used by your university if you so choose.
Organization at the University:
Universities in the UK have many “colleges” that specialize in particular subjects. In spite of the fact that they are still under the control of the university, colleges have a great deal of autonomy. You spend most of your time studying in college, where you live and eat with other students. Rather than applying to the central university admissions department, as in the United States, students apply directly to the college where they intend to study the subject, or, for undergraduate programs, through a centralized system allowing them to apply to multiple colleges at once. The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service administers this system. You must know what you want to study before applying.
The United States, on the other hand, requires applicants to apply to larger universities and take courses from various fields for the first year before declaring a major. In American universities’ Schools of Arts and Sciences, you can choose from a wide variety of related majors. Students at American universities must take electives outside of their majors even if they declare a major. Due to this, American higher education generally focuses on acquiring knowledge from a wide range of disciplines. A broad knowledge base is less important in the UK than a deep understanding of a subject.
Assignments and Grades of a Student:
A large emphasis is placed on breadth in the US system, and students are required to read weekly or even biweekly, as well as complete small writing assignments, essays, and oral presentations. Throughout the semester, most UK schools have fewer assignments because they spend most of their time lecturing. If you do not need to complete any assignments, you may be graded on only one final exam. It is generally your performance on various assignments that determines how well you will do on your final exam, which accounts for just a small part of your grade.
Neither country is cheap when it comes to education, but the U.S. is generally more expensive. University students in England can charge up to £9000 per year (approximately $14,300) under a law passed earlier this year. The program does not accept students from outside the EU or the UK. Tuition fees may be higher for international students in some cases. Schools determine their own tuition fees within the limits set by the government.
The government does not regulate university tuition in the United States. In the United States, public and private universities are distinguished by their tuition fees. In order to determine the tuition fee, these distinctions must be considered. A public two-year college tuition is around $3000, while a private four-year college tuition is around $29,000.
Depending on the institution, the cost of a four-year degree may exceed $50,000. A government-backed student loan program is available in both countries to help students cover tuition costs. If you are interested in learning more about financing your education in the United States, you can visit our Financial Aid Center. More information about funding your education in the UK can be found in our Financial Aid for the UK section.
Assisting in Accommodation:
In both countries, students have the option of living in residence halls. United States residents have more shared bedrooms, whereas British residents have more private bedrooms. United States students have access to a variety of full-service dining options, while British students are more likely to self-cater in dormitories. In the UK, maids are paid a nominal fee in residence halls, but this can be significant.
As a Conclusion:
Despite the differences in the systems of education between the two countries, both countries provide a high standard of education. When considering obtaining your education in the United States or the United Kingdom, it is important to take into account the differences discussed in this article, particularly how long it will take to earn a degree, how much tuition will cost, and if your degree program should be more in-depth or more comprehensive.
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