Bachelor's Degree Programs / Undergraduate Institutions
Bachelors' degrees in the United States are typically designed to be completed in four years of full-time study, although some programs (such as engineering or architecture) can take five years, and some universities and colleges allow ambitious students (usually with the help of summer school courses) to complete them in as little as three years. Usually a completed secondary school education is required for admission to these programs
Graduate Degree Programs
Graduate level degrees include the Master of Arts (MA), the Master of Fine Arts (MFA), the Master of Business Administration (MBA), the Master of Science (MS) and the Doctorate of Philosophy (PhD), among others. Students who have already received their first higher education diploma are eligible to apply to graduate programs. Most Master's degrees are awarded after two years of study, although there are some one-year degree programs in certain fields. The Ph.D. is the highest academic degree in the U.S. This degree follows a Master's level degree and typically requires an additional three years of coursework and a lengthy dissertation.
Liberal Arts Colleges/Universities
A liberal arts college/university offers a curriculum designed to impart general knowledge with a focus on the development of critical thinking and analytical skills. These schools traditionally emphasize interactive instruction (although research is still a component of these institutions). They are known for being residential and for having smaller enrollment, class size, and teacher-student ratios than other undergraduate programs. These institutions also encourage a high level of student-teacher interaction.
Variety of Educational Opportunities
The United States is home to several thousand colleges and universities, boasting at least ten times as many campuses as in any other country. As a result, the higher education system in the U.S. has something for everyone. Some U.S. colleges and universities stress broad educational principles; others emphasize practical, employment-related skills; and still others specialize in the arts, social sciences or technical fields. As a result, you can often have a variety of options and educational opportunities if you are looking for a place to study a particular field. You can usually find several schools to choose from, no matter how specific or unusual your needs may be.
• Over 85 percent of adults in the U.S. have completed high school and 27 percent have received a bachelor's degree or higher.
• The average salary for college or university graduates is greater than USD $51,000, exceeding the national average of those without a high school diploma by more than USD $23,000 (2005 U.S. Census Bureau.)
• The U.S. has a reading literacy rate at 98% of the population over age 15, while ranking below average in science and mathematics understanding compared to other developed countries.