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Study in USA for Indian students after 12th – Courses & More

Updated on 09 November, 2023

There are numerous course options to study in the USA for Indian students after 12th. It is one of the most coveted destinations for studying abroad in the world. The academic framework in the United States requires students to study for 4 years to earn a bachelor’s degree. This is to ensure that students venturing into the undergraduate program have an overall understanding and knowledge of a range of disciplines and subjects. Indian students make up the second biggest group of international students in the US. The US has more than 5,300 leading institutions along with 2,000+ other institutions awarding bachelor’s degrees across multiple streams and course structures.


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Benefits of Studying in the USA 

Flying abroad for higher education is a big step for any student. Now, if you aspire to do so in an American university, you should consider all the benefits and even the various drawbacks and challenges you may face. Here are the various benefits of studying in the US:

1. Countless academic opportunities

Unlike most other countries, the US education system allows students to pursue careers and degrees aligned with their interests and ambitions. It allows students to explore various options and fields of study before choosing a career.

2. Job opportunities

 Irrespective of whether you wish to return to your home country after earning an education degree from the US or permanently settle there, an American academic degree has great potential and can help you broaden your career prospects. 

3. Global exposure

In addition to the academic and career opportunities that are guaranteed with an American degree, it is to be noted that pursuing studies abroad allows great personal development for every student. Studying abroad allows you to experience various cultures, network with people from around the world, and understand the dynamics of different languages and perspectives.

Course Structure for Studying in USA for Indian students after 12th

There are plenty of options to choose from. Those willing to study in the USA after 12th can complete undergraduate courses in two or four years. Both these structures have their differences. Some community colleges also grant tuition fee waivers for international students, but registration costs have to be paid. Students can choose the two or four-year UG programs based on their requirements. A two-year course, also known as the Associate Degree is awarded by a community college or junior college. It depends on affordability as well. Those with financial constraints may consider pursuing an associate degree in a community college and then transfer credits to a four-year program. 

It is different from the undergraduate course structure in Indian and UK universities, where honors courses offer an in-depth education in specific subjects. Universities in the US award bachelor’s degrees only after completing four years of studies. The first two years are mostly called the freshman and sophomore years. They require students to cover a wider base of subjects without emphasizing any discipline. Students can then select their majors in the last couple of years, commonly called the junior and senior years. These include subjects that they are interested in and wish to pursue further for academic and professional purposes. Students may change majors as per their preferences.

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Courses in the USA after 12th in Commerce, Science, and Arts streams

When it comes to studying UG courses in the USA for Indian students after 12th, aspirants can pick from a variety of options in commerce, science, and arts. Some of the popular options include math and computer sciences, physical & life sciences, and more. Other preferred options include social sciences, fine & applied arts, business & management, health, humanities, and intensive English.

Here’s a closer look at some of the courses offered under various streams: 

Pure Sciences

1. Bachelor of Biology

2. BSc in Physics

3. BSc in Biological Chemistry

4. BSc in Chemistry

5. BSc in Applied Physics


1. BSc in Mechanical Engineering

2. BSc in Electrical Engineering

3. Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering

4. BSc in Structural Engineering

5. BSc in Metallurgical Engineering

Medical Courses

1. Bachelor of Medicine

2. Bachelor of Surgery

Economics & Finance

1. Bachelor in Economics

2. Bachelor in Accounting

3. BBA in Accounting

4. BSc in Accounting

5. Bachelor of Arts in Accounting

Computer Applications

1. Bachelor of Computer Applications

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Studying Science in USA after 12th

Students wondering about how to study in USA after 12th science have a lot of options to choose from. These programs are not just academic but also require practical experience and extensive research output. Here are a few courses for students to study after 12th science.

Studying Engineering in USA after 12th

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) studies are one of the most sought-after programs in the USA. Additionally, the period for Optical Practical Training (OPT) for STEM students has been increased to 24 months, making it an ideal destination for students to study. Listed below are some top Engineering universities in the USA.

  • BSc in Mechanical Engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • Bachelor’s of Mechanical Engineering at Harvard University
  • BSc in Mechanical Engineering at Stanford University
  • BSE in Structural Engineering at Princeton University
  • BE in Electrical Engineering at California Institute of Technology

Studying Medical in USA after 12th

Unlike the four-year bachelor’s degree in India, MBBS in the USA is a four-year postgraduate curriculum and is equivalent to that of an MD (Doctor of Medicine). MBBS in the USA after 12th for Indian students is possible if they appear for the SAT exam and apply for a four-year undergraduate course in medicine. The two main courses after the 12th medical degree in the USA are:

Studying Commerce in USA after 12th

There are a host of courses in the USA after 12th commerce that an international student can pursue like Accounting, Economics and Finance, and Management.

Economics and Finance

International students interested in audits, investment banking, and other branches of economics have enough options to study in the USA after 12th in a field related to Economics. Listed below are the top universities in the USA for Economics and Econometrics as per QS World Rankings:

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  3. Stanford University
  4. The University of California, Berkeley (UCB)
  5. Princeton University


There is a high demand for accounting professionals, thereby making Account and Finance a bright option for the students. Career opportunities after an accounting degree are something to look forward to as every industry is in need of accounting professionals. Here are some top universities in the USA to study accounting.

  • BBA in Accounting at Adelphi University
  • BBA in Accounting at Bryant & Stratton College
  • BS in Accounting at American University
  • Bachelor of Arts in Accounting from Briar Cliff College
  • Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign


Students from any stream can pursue a business and management course in the USA. There is no better country than the USA to undertake management courses. To get an MBA degree, students might gain some experience after pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business management from the USA. Listed below are some of the universities that offer bachelor’s programs in Business and Management.

Studying Arts in the USA after 12th

From Hospitality and Tourism Management to Humanities, and Architecture to Fine Arts, there are a number of courses to look forward to studying in the USA after 12th. Here are the courses in USA after 12th arts you can explore:

  • Bachelor of Liberal Arts at Williams College
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts at University of California, Los Angeles
  • Hospitality and Tourism Management at Arizona State University
  • Bachelor’s Degree in English / History at University of California – Berkeley

Costs of Studying in the USA after 12th

The average expenditure of a four-year undergraduate degree in the US will be roughly around $25,000 (Rs 19 lakh) for public universities and $35,000 – $60,000 for private universities. The cost may vary, depending upon the course, college, location, and certain other factors. It is best to check the university website for university and course-specific details.

If you are pursuing a flexible educational program with upGrad Abroad, you can get cost savings of Rs 60 lakh in comparison with regular degree programs in the United States. The first two years include studying online at Chandigarh University while in the next couple of years students will complete their course on-campus at Northern Arizona University.

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Top Ranked Universities for Undergraduate Courses in the US 

Several top-rated universities offer a bachelor’s degree in the USA for Indian students. Many of these universities are highly ranked in the list of the top 10 QS World University Rankings 2022. Here are some of the top names in this sphere:

UniversityQS World University RankingsAverage tuition fees per year
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1$57,590
Stanford University3$57,693
Harvard University5$52,659
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)6$58,479
The University of Chicago10$59,256
University of Pennsylvania13$55,584
Yale University14$62,250
Columbia University19$60,514
Princeton University20$57,410
Cornell University21$37,880 – $56,550

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How to Study in the USA after 12th 

Earlier, pursuing higher studies in the US was somewhat limited to postgraduate studies and specialization courses. However, the scenario has changed now. More than 40% of international students are pursuing higher studies in the US after 12th. To study in the USA after 12th, Indian students should know the importance of planning early. The first step towards their US education is to prove their proficiency in the English language. Before applying to any university in the US, they must take an English language proficiency test such as an IELTS or TOEFL

Another prerequisite for studying in the US after the 12th grade is taking the SAT test. SAT is a qualifying test that every aspiring international student must take before proceeding with their admission into an American university.  

After fulfilling these two basic requirements, they can proceed with applying to colleges of their choice,and on acceptance, they can further proceed with student visa and other such requirements.  

Admission Requirements for US Universities/Colleges 

  1. ACT/SAT scores
  2. Acceptance letter from SEVP-approved institution 
  3. IELTS/TOEFL scores 
  4. Should have completed 10+2 or 16 years of formal education
  5. Academic transcripts of educational grades
  6. Certificates of achievement and extracurricular participation proof
  7. LOR (Letter of Recommendation) from at least one faculty member in a previous school or college 
  8. Proof of funds 
  9. SOP (Statement of Purpose) or essay as stated in admission form 
  10. Valid passport

Admission Intake 

Universities and colleges in India only offer single admission intakes. Unlike this, American universities and colleges offer three admission intakes in an academic year. These admission intakes, popularly known as semesters, are as follows:

IntakeStarts from Duration
Fall (commonly known as August intake)AugustAugust – December
Spring (also known as January intake)JanuaryJanuary – April
Summer (offered by particular universities for particular courses)MayMay – August

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Types of Student Visas

Before understanding how to study in the USA after 12th, students seeking education opportunities may choose between numerous colleges, courses, and universities. For enabling easier access, the Government has flexible visa options.

1. F Visa

International students seeking an academic degree at an accredited US college or university can opt for this student visa. 

  • F-1 visa – For full-time students
  • F-2 visa – For dependents of F-1 visa holders (spouse and unmarried children below 21 years of age)
  • F-3 Visa – For border commuters (Canadian or Mexican citizens staying in their home country while studying a part-time or a full-time program in the USA)

2. M visa 

International students intending to apply for vocational/non-academic studying or training in the country can apply for this visa. 

  • M1 visa – For candidates pursuing vocational or non-academic studies
  • M2 visas – Dependents of M-1 visa holders (same as F-2 visas)
  • M-3 visas – Similar like F-3 visas, but for ‘border commuters’ in vocational or non-academic studies.

3. J (Exchange Visa)

For participating in programs aimed at promoting cultural exchange for international exchange visitors.

  • J-1 visas – Exchange students on a particular exchange program
  • J-2 visas – Dependents of J-1 visa holders (similar to F-2 visas) 

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Scholarships for Indian Students to Study in the USA after 12th 

Pursuing higher education in the US is an expensive affair. However, students can finance their education there in several ways. Although, as an international student, they might not qualify for financial support designed for US students, they can still seek one of the many international scholarships for Indian students to study in USA after 12th. 

Specifically, there is a wide range of scholarships offered by US universities exclusively for Indian students. Let us look at various popular scholarships available for Indian students in the US.

Name of the scholarshipDescription
Hubert Humphrey Fellowship Program (Government-funded)

Applicable for international students pursuing a non-degree graduate coursework and related practical experience for ten months. 

The program covers tuition fees, living expenses, flight, monthly maintenance stipend, and other professional expenditures such as field trips.

AAUW International Fellowships

(Non-Government scholarship)

Applicable for international women students enrolled in a graduate and post-graduate program in the USA. The amount of scholarship is ₹13,15,071 – ₹21,91,485.

#YouAreWelcomeHere Scholarship

(Non-Government scholarship)

This is a social media campaign designed to attract overseas students to the US higher education system. Students need to submit an essay or a video demonstrating their enthusiasm for promoting intercultural exchange activities. Students receive two annual and renewable scholarships that will pay at least half of their tuition expenses for an overseas undergraduate programme.  

Part-Time Employment Opportunities in the US

American universities emphasize a culture of hard work and self-sufficiency. Students are encouraged to pursue part-time work opportunities while studying. Part-time work is still subjected to specific regulations which should be followed carefully.

1. Holders of F-1 visas may work up to 20 hours every week while on campus. Job opportunities will only be offered with a valid F-1 visa

2. During breaks and holidays, students can work up to 40 hours every week. 

3. Off-campus jobs may be applied for after completing a single academic year and with permission of the Designated School Official (DSO). 

4. Those pursuing full-time courses and are holders of F-1 visas may choose Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing their courses. Under this system, they may stay for 12 months after completing their studies in the US and work in their fields of study as well. 

5. After-study work visa options are also offered for international students pursuing education at American universities. 

There are numerous scholarship opportunities that Indian students may also avail to reduce the financial burden. Students should keep an eye out for specific scholarships for Indian students to study in USA after 12th offered by their universities and also the government.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What is the tenure of an undergraduate course in the U.S?

Undergraduate courses in the US require four years. Two years will be spent studying a wider range of disciplines and subjects while the remaining 2 years will be required for studying majors or selected subjects that students wish to pursue in the future. Students may also choose intermediate two-year courses at community colleges that are more affordable while preparing to join a full-fledged four-year Bachelor’s course in the third year.

What is a two-year degree called in the United States?

A two-year degree from a US Community College is known as an associate or intermediate degree. In comparison to the four-year bachelor’s degree course, the associate degree has a relatively lower fee while allowing students to readily transfer course credits to a full-time four-year program at any private or state university.

What requirements should you fulfill for US studies?

1) ACT/SAT scores
2) Proof of funds
3) IELTS scores
4) Student visa
5) An academic certificate with at least 10+2 or 16 years of formal education

If you are pursuing a flexible educational program with upGrad Abroad, you can get cost savings of Rs 60 lakh in comparison with regular degree programs in the United States. The first 11-12 months include studying online at a partner university while in the next year, students will complete their course on-campus at a chosen university.

What are the popular undergraduate courses for Indian students in the U.S?

Some popular courses for Indian undergraduate students in the US include social sciences, humanities, mathematics, computer science, fine & applied arts, health professional, and business & management.

Can undergraduate students work part-time while studying in the USA?

Undergraduate students may work part-time while on campus for up to 20 hours every week and they may work up to 40 hours during breaks and holidays. Students can only apply for off-campus job opportunities after completing a single academic year and with prior approval from the DSO or Designated School Official.

Can Indians study in the US after the 12th?

Yes. An Indian student can choose to pursue their higher education in the US immediately after their 12th. They can pursue a BA, BS, BTech, Associate, or any other degree from the country.

How can I go to the US after the 12th from India?

If you wish to pursue higher education in the US, you can do so by fulfilling the requirements of the American universities and applying to the colleges that you want. On acceptance, you will be required to obtain a student visa, an important document that verifies your stay in the country during your studies.

What exams are required to study in the US after the 12th?

If you aspire to pursue an educational degree from an American university, you will be required to take certain exams that test your eligibility. They include SAT, GMAT, TOEFL, GRE, and others.

How can an Indian student get a full scholarship in the USA?

Scholarships are awarded to students depending on various factors. Scholarships are mostly merit-based which means they are awarded to students who display good academic qualities and great promise.

What is after 12th grade in the USA?

After 12th grade in the US, students usually pursue undergraduate degrees in colleges and universities. This is a part of higher education in the country.

Pratishtha Ghosh

A post graduate in Journalism and Mass Communication, Pratishtha enjoys penning down things significant. What interests her the most is exploring and researching on gamut of study abroad.

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