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Studying in UK vs US: What’s the Difference?

Today, more students are traveling overseas to pursue higher education than ever, and two of the most popular destinations are the United States and the United Kingdom. If you’re considering studying in one of these countries, know first that each offers a distinct higher education experience. According to the Times Higher Education university ranking, more than half of the world’s top 200 universities are located in either the US or the UK. Both countries share a rich tradition of quality higher education, excellent research facilities, a culture that promotes intellectualism and the pursuit of academic freedom. However, while both certainly provide an excellent environment for learning, there are many differences between the two countries in terms of the structure of the university and student life.

If you are caught between studying in the UK or USA, this video is a side by side comparison that will hopefully help you make a decision. If you are new here, consider subscribing to After School Africa for more educative videos like this.

Please note that this video is for information purposes. We advise that you seek professional advice and do your own research to make your choice according to your objective.

University Ranking Comparison

The USA has the world’s largest international student population, with more than 1,000,000 students choosing to broaden their education and life experience in the United States. The population of international students is at over 600,000 in the UK. The U.K. higher education system is comparatively smaller than that of the U.S. though, so consider that these statistics mean that 19% of students in the U.K. are international, while 5.5% in the U.S. are.

 In the world university rankings by Times Higher Education, while Oxford University, the University of Cambridge and the Imperial College London are at 1st, 2nd, and 9th positions respectively, the other seven universities in the “top ten” are from the US.

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Also, watch Studying in Germany vs USA: Which is better?

Teaching Style Comparison

Degree programs in the US take about one year longer than programs in the UK. Some students may value that extra year experience and the memories to be made on campus, while others may hope to earn their degree as quickly as possible. The major reason why courses are shorter in the UK is that the course programs are generally much more focused than in the US. In the U.S., students are encouraged to take a variety of classes that interest them. It’s typical to not declare a ‘major’ until your second year. But in the UK, students focus on the course they applied for from the beginning.

We can say that the general emphasis of higher education in the US is breadth, or getting a range of knowledge from a variety of different subjects. In the UK, the emphasis is more on depth; getting a very thorough understanding of your chosen subject.

Also, in the U.S., it’s common to have many quizzes and assignments throughout the semester that count towards your final grade. Comparatively, in the U.K. many classes rely on one or two exams or assignments to determine your grade. However, in both countries, students are encouraged to develop strong relationship with their professors.

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Tuition Fees Comparison

International fees may not exactly come cheap in either country, but tuition fees alone are generally cheaper in the UK than in the US. Since higher education in the US is not subsidized by the federal government, tuition fees remain notoriously high even for American citizens. The average tuition fee for undergraduate international students in public institutions in US is in the range of USD25,000/year, and 34,700USD for private institutions. It will cost an average of 20,000-35000USD for a master degree at US universities. If you are keen on getting a Ph.D. in the US, then you might spend something in the range of 28,000-40,000USD.

In the UK, tuition fees for international students start from 14,000USD for lecture-based courses although a medical degree might cost as much as 54,000USD. Classroom-based programs at the postgraduate level may start from around 5,500 USD and peak at 45,000USD while the laboratory-based programs range from 17,000USD to 38,000USD.

Cost of Living Comparison

Cost of living in the UK could amount to about 17,200 USD/year, if you live outside London. However, if you live in London during your study period, be prepared to spend around 21,500 USD/year. Living costs in US also depend on where you decide to stay and study. Depending on where you stay, you will need around 10,000USD to 12,000USD/year as an international student to live in US. In addition, in the U.S., the books required for each class can cost a small fortune, while in the U.K. textbooks aren’t as regularly required as many professors post readings online. That notwithstanding, cost of living is generally more expensive in the UK than in the US.

Scholarship Availability

Although university education in the US is pricey, there are many scholarships dedicated to international students interested in studying in the United States. If you demonstrates academic excellence, financial need and meet other requirements, there are lots of scholarships you can take advantage of in both countries. See the description below for links to our videos on top scholarships in UK and US.

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Ability to Work while Studying

International students can work while studying in the UK and the US but there are different conditions. With the UK, part-time jobs are available as long as you study at a university or college that is listed on the official UKVI Sponsor list and the list of ‘recognized bodies’. You are able to work for up to 20 hours a week during term and full-time during holidays.

As an international student studying in the US, you have the opportunity to work part-time except that you will be restricted by the terms of your visa. Most international students in the United States hold an F-1 visa which is the U.S. non-immigrant student visa. F-1 students are allowed to work in the United States, but only under certain conditions and in accordance with complex guidelines and restrictions issued by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service.

Language Comparison

The UK and US are both English speaking countries. So you don’t have to worry about learning a new language. But depending on which of the countries you choose, you do need to understand the differences in naming. For instance ‘Football’ means different things in both countries. For admission requirement, you are likely to provide either TOEFL or IELTS score to prove your proficiency in English.

The United States and the United Kingdom are both great destinations to study abroad, and rank among the top countries for quality higher education. You have to decide what factors are most important to you and choose the country that win along those lines. Will you prefer to study in the US or the UK? Let us know in the comment section. If you found this video helpful, thumb up and share with someone. If you are yet to subscribe to our channel, this is likely a good time to subscribe. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!

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