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Undergraduate Courses & Education in USA

undergraduate studies usa

In the US, “undergraduate education” refers to There are quite a few programs available for undergraduate education in the US. The standards for admission are very high. For instance,  students are required to have adequate preparation in their high school combined with a couple of classes at the college level to compete with the brightest of students for admission.


Also read: List of commonly used terms in the US higher education system

In the United States, the number of years taken to complete a course is based on the credit hours and full time study.

Two types of undergraduate courses in the US

2 yr coursesAssociate degree60-80 credit hoursAwarded by Community Colleges
4 yr coursesBachelors degree120 – 128 credit hoursAwarded by Colleges or Universities

While students take up a 2 year course as well, it is important to know that 16 years (12 + 4) of formal education is required for an admit to a masters program.

Transferring from 2 year college (associate degree) to 4 year college (bachelor’s degree)

Most students transfer after getting an AA degree from community college to the 3rd year of the relevant program at a local college/ university and go on to graduate with a “bachelors” degree.

The California Institute of Technology, the Georgia Institute of Technology, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, apart from the six State Maritime Academies and the five United States Service academies (the Military, the Navy, the Air Force, the Merchant Marines, and the Coast Guard  Academies) award the Bachelors Science for all subjects, including the ones for which other institutions would award a Bachelor of Arts, for example, History.

The difference in a B.S. in History awarded by these institutions and a B.A. awarded by some other institution is that their course is heavily weighted in science and engineering.

The authenticity of an undergraduate degree in the US depends on the accreditation of the institution granting the degree. In the United States, a number of regional non-profit groups accredit undergraduate instruction. In addition, state and federal governments impose requirements on degree-granting institutions, typically by limiting financial support to the institution or the availability of loans to its students based upon specified standards of quality. In the United States, unaccredited degrees may not be acceptable for financial aid, civil service  or other employment purposes. Criminal penalties sometimes apply should such a degree be presented in lieu of one from an accredited school. The use of unaccredited degree titles is legally restricted or illegal in some jurisdictions.

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