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Higher Education System In The USA

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In the U.S.A. there is no national education system guiding all states. Each state has their own official institution which determines their educational policies. Although such system may offer a variety of options for international students, it requires more effort to understand and choose wisely between options. Different from Turkey, in the US many higher eduaction institutions are called “colleges”. After completing 12th class in the high school and getting the diploma, student can continue to undergraduate education. After graduating from high school, student can apply to two types of higher education institution.

1. Associate Degree (Community College or Junior College)

2. Bachelor’s Degree (Universities and Colleges)

Associate Degree (Community College or Junior College)

Community colleges last two years. A student ,who completes 60 credits, graduates from the college with Associate of Arts (A.A) or Associate of Science (A.S) degree. Also in these colleges there is a chance for a student to get a vocational and technical education. One of the best parts of these colleges is after graduation if a student meets the conditions, he/she can transfer to four years unviersity. With this opportunity, after studying first two years of bacherlor’s degree program in community college, student can transfer to four years school and get his/her bachelor’s degree. Studying in community college is more affordable than four year bachelor’s degree programs. Furthermore, terms of application is easier than four years bachelor's degree. In community colleges they do not expect SAT or ACT result but only TOEFL score. If TOEFL score does not meet the expectations of the college, they provide English course and then expect you to enter their language exam.

Bachelor’s Degree

Stundets can contiunue their eduaction in four years universities and colleges. At the end of this four year education they get bachelor’s degree. A student ,who completes 120 credits, gets Bachelor of Arts (B.A) or Bachelor of Science (B.S) diploma. Student must meet the terms of the universities in order to enroll these four years programs. After taking scores from standardized exams, gathering neccessary documents and meeting the terms of universities, students can apply to these colleges and universities.

Master’s Degree

Earning a Master’s degree is considered a graduate level diploma in the U.S.A. Master’s programs require an undergraduate degree as a prerequisite. Students complete an additional 30-36 credit hours and write a Master’s thesis for this degree. In some Master’s programs, students can receive a Master’s degree by taking a comprehensive exam. In the Social Sciences field, students receive a Master of Arts degree (M.A.). In the Sciences and Engineering fields, students receive a Master of Science (M.S.) degree. There are also other Master’s degrees such as Master of Fine Arts (MFA) and Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Doctorate Degree

Earning a doctorate degree is the highest level of graduate study and is begun after a student has earned a Master’s degree. Doctorate studies usually take three to four years to complete. In some fields, which require more research, this time frame can be longer. Students are usually required to write a dissertation on a unique topic to receive the doctorate degree. After completing the dissertation and with the approval of your university, students can be awarded the “Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)” title. However, there are other doctorate degrees such as Doctor of Business Administration (D.B.A) which is given according to the field of specialization.

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