The USA is known as the ‘Land of Opportunities’ as the country promises endless scope in building an accomplished life to its citizens and immigrants alike. It boasts of being home to the top ranked universities in the world and education from one such institute will be a lifelong asset to your career. The quality of learning besides the world-class experience you will gain as a student at a US university will be cherished by you forever. A US degree is recognized universally and will help you secure a suitable job in the field of your choice once you graduate. In this article we will attempt to cover all areas related to Study in USA for Indian Students after 12th.
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Undergraduate Course Structure
The US Education system probably offers the widest range of academic programs, across fields of science, humanities, and commerce. However, unlike the college scenario in India, students in the US have to enroll in a Two-Year college before they can apply for the Four-Year Program. Let us understand both the structures.
The United States has over a thousand colleges offering a two-year course structure, these are also known as community colleges or junior colleges. Most of these colleges are run by a division of the state university or by special districts guided by state agencies. Studying from these colleges grant students an associate degree or an intermediate degree. This degree indicates that a student has successfully completed the course and has a broad base of knowledge in the general area of the subject with deeper knowledge in a more focused area.
These programs are planned around 60 semester credits and usually take about two years to finish, during which you need to follow three models: the general education requirements, requirements within your concentrated area of study (also known as your major) and electives (modules chosen based on personal interest).
Two-Year Undergraduate Degrees
The two types of Associate Degrees, namely Associate of Arts Degree (AA) and the Associate of Science Degree (AS) are structured to train students for transferring into a 4-year college or university. This Two-Year degree forms a foundation for you ahead of choosing a Bachelors’ Degree which leads you to become a professional in a particular industry.
Some of the community colleges have an enrolment agreement with a local college, where the community college provides a student with the first two years of education and they can finish the remaining two years at the university.
Then there are degrees that allow students to immediately join the workforce after they complete the course, such as the Associate of Applied Science Degree (A.A.S). These degrees are also known as occupational or vocational degrees, and they are sometimes referred by job recruiters in the IT industry for mid-level positions.
Read More: Key Requirements for studying in USA
There are about 2000 colleges and universities in the US that offer four-year programs for students to earn a bachelor’s degree. Each year the country sees approximately one million people earning this degree, which is commonly known as a College Degree. The Bachelor’s Degree, which typically takes four years to complete, comprises 120-128 semester credits, and allows 60 of it to be transferred from junior college.
The four years of an undergraduate program at a US university are known as the freshman, sophomore, junior and senior years. The American college curriculum follows a “liberal arts” approach where students are encouraged to study modules from a gamut of subjects to help them build a broad knowledge base. Some of these general academic courses include English composition, History, Social Sciences, Humanities, Physical or Natural Sciences or Mathematics.
In the first two years, the students gain general knowledge about the subject, and once they meet the core curriculum requirements, most institutions ask them to choose a specific, more focused area of study also known as the “major”. It is essential that you choose an academic area which intrigues great personal interest as this will lay the foundation for you to pursue a higher degree and choose a career path. These final two years emphasise more on courses that have relevance to your major.
However, degrees in Law or Medicine are offered only after a student acquires a bachelor’s degree in a general field. These two courses do have a specific undergraduate course that they need the students to complete, although undergraduate students wishing to pursue medical school do need to take a few defined courses at college and they are known as pre-med students.
Four-Year Undergraduate Degrees
The two types of bachelor’s degrees that a student can earn in the US are the BA Degree (Bachelor’s in Arts Degree) and the BSc Degree (Bachelor’s in Science Degree). A BA Degree is awarded to those majoring in subjects such as social sciences, humanities, or fine arts, whereas a student majoring in subjects such as natural or physical sciences or mathematics is given a BSc degree.
Read More: Study in USA from India
Here is a list of specialized degrees to Study in USA after 12th in science
1. Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.)
2. Bachelor of Engineering (B. Engg.)
3. Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
4. Bachelor of Architecture Degree (B.Arch.)
5. Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs (B.S.P.A)
Students pursuing courses in science stream face a tightly structured curriculum, owing to the intensity of the industries related to them, in comparison to the courses related to humanities or social sciences. Once a student finishes his/her bachelor’s program successfully, they can aspire to take up a more specialized subject at the postgraduate level.
Popular Subjects to study in the US
Let us discuss the various undergraduate courses in the USA for Indian students. We have compiled top five programs in terms of student enrolment:
1. Business Management
Over 20% of all international students enrolling into American universities choose business management, making it by far the most popular course for higher education in the US. The names like Harvard, Wharton, or Columbia need no introduction and are enough to excite any student who has a desire to make a career as a business leader. Another factor that attracts students from across the globe to study business is that the US is the world’s largest economy, which promises fantastic career opportunities to international students who wish to settle in the country after they graduate.
Due to the brilliant job market and handsome compensation, this field in science remains one of the most popular subjects to pursue in the US. Also, the universities offering Degrees in Engineering are rated amongst the top in the world. According to the US News, the universities to aspire for would be Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of California-Berkeley (UCLA) and Stanford University.
3. Mathematics and Computer Sciences
This group of subjects makes up a chunk of the STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) subjects which is currently popular amongst international students because of the high demand the IT industry shows for graduates of the subject. The country offers a lot of scope in research too, that compels the students to aspire for this field. Here too, names like Stanford, MIT and Caltech make the top of the list.
4. Social Sciences
Over 75,000 international candidates enroll in humanities and social sciences, making this one of the top courses in the country for higher education. Popular subjects under this category include journalism, international relations, economics, anthropology etc. The USA also has the best research facilities and organizations in the world who hire Social Science graduates.
5. Physical and Life Sciences
Biology and Medicine has forever been a highly preferred field of education in the US. The country’s Medical Education is deemed as one of the best in the world and gives graduates an extremely rewarding career in life.
Read More: Cost of studying in USA
Average costs of academic programs in US universities
Education in the US is considered to be amongst the most expensive in the world. However, the country allows university students to work part-time in their free time to offset the expenses. Additionally, there are a lot of scholarships and Government funds available that Indian students can opt for to ease the financial burden. Efficient budget planning will ensure a smoother transfer and you must remember to consider all kinds of expenses besides the tuition fee, such as cost of living, travel, course materials before you plan your application.
The primary expenditure you need to take into account is your tuition fee. Here is an indicative list of the average cost of tuition at various levels of education in the country as recorded in 2020.
Level/Category of Education
|Tuition fee in USD||
Tuition Fee in INR
English Language Studies
|700-2000 per month||52,000-1,48,000|
|6,000 0 20,000 per year||
Undergraduate Bachelor’s Degree
|20,000 – 40,000 per year||14,88,000 – 29,77,000|
Postgraduate Master’s Degree
20,000 – 45,000 per year
14,88,000 – 33,49,000
28,000 – 55,000 per year
20,83,000 – 40,93,000
Read More: Settle in USA from India
Top Universities for Undergraduate Studies
Some of the world’s top ranked universities are established in the USA. The host of prestigious institutes that the country has is unparalleled and they consistently rank on top of global lists. Take a look at some of the best universities in USA in their respective fields of specialization:
a) Massachusetts Institute of Technology
b) California Institute of Technology
c) University of California- Berkeley
d) Stanford University
e) Carnegie Mellon University
a) Stanford University
b) Wharton University
c) Harvard University
d) University of Chicago
e) Columbia University
f) Yale University
a) Harvard University
b) University of Pennsylvania
c) Yale University
d) Princeton University
e) University of California-Berkeley
Medicine and Biology
a) Harvard University
b) New York University
c) John Hopkins
d) Duke University
e) Columbia University
f) Stanford University
Requirements for Admission to an Institution/University in the USA
Once you have decided to pursue higher education in the United States of America, you will have to deal with the defined admissions procedure of the universities. You must meticulously carry out the application process; otherwise, you may be denied admission in spite of being deserving. Here are the prerequisites that you must keep in mind for applying to a US university:
1. Completed Application Form, unique to each university you apply to. This may involve a Statement of Purpose, Recommendation Letters, and a qualifying SAT score.
2. Proof of completion of 12 years of formal education with the transcripts and transfer certificates.
3. A TOEFL score- which is different in requirement for lower-level colleges from a four-year course university.
4. Proof of Financial Support, this is required for the I-20 form
upGrad Abroad BBA program at Northern Arizona University
upGrad is one the largest online platforms for higher education in Asia and it has recently introduced a BBA course in partnership with the Northern Arizona University in the US to facilitate flexible and affordable education. It has developed a study abroad program as a part of their online vertical ‘upGrad Abroad’. This will allow students to enroll for world class education at an affordable cost and expand the concept of online learning, a mainstream phenomenon in the US. Students will have access to the best minds of the country teaching them, without having to break a sweat about the mammoth expenditure that a US education entails.
USA is definitely the first name that pops up when discussing higher education abroad for Indian students. The country’s educational legacy is world renowned and naturally draws 10,00,000 international students each year. As far as student experience and global exposure is concerned there is no place like an American University. Find out more about study opportunities for Indian students abroad on upGrad.