Undergraduate education in the US is largely based on a liberal arts philosophy. This means that regardless of specialization, you will be exposed to a variety of courses in field. An undergraduate degree is highly flexible and allows you to create your own study path. A bachelor's degree is awarded once the student receives a certain number of credits, which usually takes four years to complete. Each course is assigned a number of credit hours, usually between 3 or 4. To earn a bachelor’s degree you will need between 130 and 180 credits. Most bachelor’s degree programs are made up of four types of courses.

English language ability

You will also be required to submit your TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) results. Some universities may accept alternative English language exams such as IELTS. Be sure to check with the university as to which English language qualification they recognise before you apply.

Other standardized tests

Some universities require international students to take an admissions test. There are three main tests to enter a bachelor’s degree: SAT I (Scholastic Assessment Test I), SAT II Subject Tests, and ACT (American College Testing). These are multiple-choice tests and measure the skills necessary to enter undergraduate study. Check with the prospective university regarding which admissions test (if any) is required.


Graduate education in the US can either be in the form of a Masters program or an integrated Masters/PhD program. To be eligible for admission to a graduate program, one must have 16 years of education or a few years of work experience. Applicants for business administration and finance courses are required to take the GMAT, while others have to take the GRE. Most institutions require candidates to appear for the TOEFL as well. Some offer a TOEFL waiver if the applicant can certify that English has been medium of instruction and exam. Check with the prospective university if you are eligible for a TOEFL waiver.

Application process

You should start the application process between 10 to 18 months before the intended study date in order to research the different institutions and complete any necessary tests. Once the shortlist of institutions is made, you have to work on your application. Each institution sets its own application deadline. These are usually between November and February, although they can be earlier or later. Applications are accepted for Fall and Spring semester, though international students are usually only allowed to apply for Fall semester. It is always a good idea to submit the application as soon as possible to use the early acceptance option.

Applications are made directly to USES. For more information contact us