US vs UK education - Which is better

UK vs US education | Which country is the right fit for you

Last Updated on June 18, 2021 by iSchoolConnect

These 5 primary points of differences between a UK vs US education will help you decide which one of these is the best country for your higher studies and career abroad!

Among the top 3 study abroad destinations among international students, United States and United Kingdom offer entirely different experiences to students. There are vast differences between US vs UK education systems, costs of studying and living, job opportunities, and immigration policies.

It’s not that one is better than the other. But you have to consider which one offers you the best facilities according to your field of study, budget, and career plans.

Use the points in this blog to differentiate and decide!

How to compare a UK vs US education

A variety of factors go into choosing your study abroad destination country. If you keep them in mind, it will be much easier to decide which one is right for you.

  1. Top universities offering programs in your field of interest
  2. The method of education followed by these institutes (theory-based, research-based, experiential, etc.)
  3. The duration of your course
  4. Eligibility criteria
  5. Cost of education
  6. Cost of living
  7. Ease of getting a student visa
  8. Attitude toward international students
  9. Immigration policies

We will consider each of these points one by one in this blog. 

An in-depth idea of what the UK and the US have to offer in these aspects should help you make the right decision.

Let’s get started!

UK vs US school system

There are two differentiating factors between a UK vs US education. One is the method of education, and the other is the duration.

Teachers using AI in education
The major point of difference between UK and US education is the eligibility criteria. US needs you to have 12+4 years of education. UK is okay with 12+3 years.

Let’s take a look at both-

Method of education

The US education system is known to have a more practical, hands-on learning approach. Students not only learn the theory, but they also focus on projects, research, and internships.

One the other hand, the British education system focuses more on theory, delving deeply into certain subjects and not giving students the option to take up as many varied electives.

Course duration

The period of education is one of the primary differentioators for students looking to study in US or UK.

While the majority of bachelor’s courses in the US last for 4 years, those in the UK have a 3-year duration.

Similarly, master’s degree programs in the US go on for 2 years, whereas the same program would only last a year in the UK.

This is why most US master’s programs require students to have completed 12+4 years of education before applying.

UK vs US university list

US has a greater number of universities in the top 100 world rankings. But UK comes as a close second.

Both countries have some of the most amazing institutes.

And this is why we suggest that you choose universities based on your course of interest.

However, we are give you a brief about the top 10 universities in each country. Afterall, they are among the best universities in the world for a reason.

Best universities in UK

A leader in engineering, science, art, business and management, law, and finance, UK attracts more than 60,000 international students every year.

Four out of the top 10 universities in the QS World University Rankings are from UK, accounting for UK’s incredible education system.

Here are a few of the top universities in UK that attract both researchers and students from around the world-

University of Oxford
University of Oxford
  1. University of Oxford
  2. The University of Cambridge
  3. Imperial College London
  4. UCL
  5. The University of Edinburgh
  6. University of Manchester
  7. King’s College London
  8. The London School of Economics and Political Science
  9. University of Bristol
  10. The University of Warwick

Top universities in the US

33 of the world’s top 100 universities are based out of the US. This speaks volumes about the country’s education system.

The colleges in the US have a hands-on practical approach and provide the latest technologies to their students for the same.

Not only that, but the students also have access to some of the brightest minds in the world – their stellar faculty.

Harvard university
Harvard university
  1. Harvard University
  2. Stanford University
  3. MIT
  4. University of California, Berkeley
  5. University of California, Los Angeles
  6. Yale University
  7. Columbia University
  8. Princeton University
  9. New York University
  10. University of Pennsylvania

Cost of studying and living in UK vs US

Your exact costs of studying and living in US and UK will depend on a bunch of factors. Like which university you choose, the location of the university, and your lifestyle.

Cost of studying

The tuition fees for the same course vary across institutions.

But to give you a rough idea, here’s the average cost of studying in UK vs US-

  1. UK – £10,000 to £26,000 per year
  2. US – $15,000 to $40,000 per year

Keep in mind that programs like Engineering, Medicine, and MBA cost more than the others.

Cost of living in UK vs US

The tuition fee is not the only expense you have to consider while calculating your study abroad costs.

You also need to put some money aside for accommodation, food, transport, WiFi, traveling, and more. 

On an averge, the cost of living in UK vs US-

  1. UK – £9,600 to £15,600 per year 
  2. US – $8,000 to $12,000 per year

Living in the city, of course, will cost more. But you can save up by choosing cheaper accommodation options.

Note: The duration of education is less in the UK. This means that your total tuition fee and living costs will be less for UK than US.

Differences in immigration policies

The visa processes for US and UK are not very different.

However, it is important to note that the US is stricter when it comes to offering entry to international students.

F1 student visa for USA
US visa

The US interview questions, apart from considering your subject expertise, also revolves around your future plans. And if there’s even a hint that you’re planning to stay in the US permanently, your application will get rejected.

The UK goes easier on international applicants. This is why a greater number of students apply for a UK visa, making the competition much tougher.

Stay back policies

When graduating from a university in the US, you will have 3 months to land a job.

After this, you can stay back for a period of 12 months and work in the US. Additionally, STEM students get another 24 months to live and work in the country.

This is not the case for UK.

Britain, according to its new point-based immigration system, will allow international students to stay back and work for 2 years. This will be true regardless of which field you graduate from, the kind of job you get hired to do, or your salary!

So…is UK better than US?

There is no right answer to this question because it depends on a lot of factors-

  1. First, you need to figure out which course you’re pursuing
  2. Next, see which universities offer the best programs in your field
  3. Check if you’re eligible to apply
  4. Look at the cost of studying
  5. Make sure that immigration policies of the country you want to go to align with your career plans

Once you’re through these steps, you will know exactly which country is the best for you.

And if you get stuck at any point or have any more questions, feel free to drop a comment or reach out to us! We’d be more than happy to help.

In the meanwhile, we wish you all the best with your dream of studying abroad!

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