UK Universities or US Universities – where to go?


We often hear this debate amongst students deciding which route to take: the UK or US? .  Studying abroad and living alone without parental support is indeed a very challenging and life-changing decision for most students.  Let’s have a look at the key differences.

America Britain
Length of Time BA: 4 years
MA: 2 years
PhD: 5-7 years or longer
BA: 3 years (except Scotland – lasts 4 years)
MA: 1 year
PhD: 3 years
Academic Term Most schools use the semester system, but some use a trimester or quarter system. Most schools start in mid to late August and end in May. Most also use a semester system, but some use trimester or quarter systems. The start and end of an academic year varies by university.
University Organisation Universities are often divided into schools by subject, but these schools do not typically have a lot of autonomy from the university. Some universities act as an umbrella organisation for different colleges. Colleges are fairly independent of one another in this collegiate system.
Style of Education More varied, liberal arts, study outside your major. Take only classes in your subject.
Depth vs Breadth Breadth Depth
Homework Constant reading and writing assignments General assignments throughout the semester
Cost High Moderate
Grades Based on overall performance on all assignments Based mostly on the final exam
Athletics Important social activity; athletic scholarships available. Intramural sports; generally no athletic scholarships available.
Living Situation Dormitories with roommate. Off-campus housing occasionally available. Dormitories without roommate generally. Off-campus housing generally available.
Types of Degrees Associates, Bachelors, Masters, PhD, variety of vocational and professional degrees. Higher National Diploma, Certificate of Higher Education, Diploma of Higher Education, Foundation Degree, Bachelors, Masters, PhD, variety of professional and vocational degrees. Postgraduate degrees divided into taught and research degrees


While both countries provide a great education, each system approaches education slightly differently, and there are advantages and disadvantages to each. If you are considering getting your education in either the US or the UK, you should take into consideration the various differences mentioned in this article, especially the amount of time it takes to finish the degree, the tuition fees, and whether you prefer more depth or more breadth in your degree program.