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6 Differences Between US and UK Education Systems

Despite the fact that many students throughout the world look for the opportunity to study abroad and choose between US and UK universities, they don’t know much about the differences between these two educational systems.

However, such negligence can cost you a solid investment. For example, one may spend lots of their time preparing documents and transferring fees, going the extra mile for it. However, when they finally arrive and start studying, the reality often does not live up to their expectations.

The problem is that every education system is different. However, the difference between US and UK systems is huge. That does not mean that one is great and the other one is not. They both are recognized as the world’s best. Your choice, however, should be based on your individual preferences and factors that play an important role specifically for you.

For that very reason, below, we’ll discuss a few striking divergences between these two systems to help you make up your mind.


Program Length

The US programs usually take one year or longer compared to the similar ones in the UK. In the US, you are allowed to skim a Master’s and complete a Ph.D. right after you get your undergraduate diploma. In the UK, it’s possible but not common. The classic way of moving from a Bachelor’s through a Master’s and then to a Ph.D. title is preferable there.

The difference is explained by the fact that UK universities offer much shorter course programs. They are more focused than their alternatives in the US. That allows saving some time.

The Start of the Program

If you like to stick to the routine, you need to study the academic term choices provided by colleges in the US and the UK. For example, the term in American universities usually starts in late August. Students study till mid-December and then rejoin in mid-January. The learning process lasts till May.

In the UK, programs may start at different times of the year. Most colleges use the two-semester system. However, universities and colleges individually decide how long the program will last. That often means that UK students have a slightly different schedule.

Application Procedure

The organizational structure of educational institutions in the UK differs from the US. Mostly, the biggest reason for it is that colleges governed by universities are quite independent. That’s why you’ll need to know where you’d like to study and what exactly you want to study before you even apply.

If you are going to study in the US, high chances are that you’ll be applying via a single system called UCAS. The thing is that wherever you study, you’ll start with courses from a variety of fields. A major will be declared after one or two years of study. For that reason, the US higher education is seen as more generic.


Since US education focuses on providing a broader background, courses usually have regular homework that is carefully checked. With that in mind, writing projects, essays, and other assignments are quite common for American schools.

For example, in the US, you may find yourself in a situation where you need to submit an essay due in two days. You’ll be looking for an essay writing service like EssayHub that will handle the assignment as fast as possible. Such factors as affordability and quality will play the second role.

In the UK, the learning process is more lecture-based with less homework. It happens, these assignments are usually pretty big but rare. The final grade mostly depends on your educational activity throughout the year rather than on your homework.

Tuition & Other Costs

Education costs a lot in both of these countries. However, the US tuition usually beats the record. For example, universities in the UK charge students up to $15,000 a year. In the US, one can see a price tag exceeding $50,000 a year.

That is why the system of financial aid is more advanced in the US. There, a student either gets a serious discount or a student loan. For that reason, in the UK, the percentage of indebted alumni is a lot smaller.

Housing Issues

Before choosing a place to study, consider other expenses as well. For example, the costs for accommodation and food in the UK will be higher.

In the UK, however, students choosing to reside on-campus will have better conditions. They most likely will live in a bedroom with their own bathroom. In the US, campus options usually mean a bedroom shared by two people.


Private housing is available in both countries. It’s cheaper in the US, especially if shared. The food is also cheaper in America because there are lots of student offers and dining options provided at a small cost.


As you can see, there is a significant difference in the approaches to education in the US and the UK. Both these countries prepare high-performing, qualitative cadres. However, the way they choose to do it is quite different for each of the states.

Before you decide to go and study abroad, try to evaluate at least the factors we’ve discussed here. There are many other smaller differences that one will notice while studying. The ones expressed above are the major ones, though.

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