The USA is the world’s most popular study destination for international students. It has one of the largest education systems globally, with over 4,000 institutions, including five of the top ten ranked universities according to QS World University Rankings 2022.
American universities are divided into two main types, profit-based schools and not-for-profit schools (also known as “proprietary schools”):
- Profit-based, private universities – smaller universities that are funded through donations, fees and grants. They have fewer students but higher fees.
- Not-for-profit public universities – large, state-funded institutions that have lower tuition fees but more students.
According to the QS World University Rankings 2022, five of the top ten universities in the world are USA institutions. These are:
1st – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
3rd – Stanford University
5th – Harvard University
6th – California Institute of Technology (Caltech)
10th – University of Chicago
There are eight prestigious institutions that make up the American Ivy League. These historical institutions have a reputation for high scholastic achievement and social prestige:
- Harvard University (Massachusetts)
- Yale University (Connecticut)
- Columbia University (New York)
- Brown University (Rhode Island)
- Cornell University (New York)
- Dartmouth College (New Hampshire)
- Princeton University (New Jersey)
- University of Pennsylvania (Pennsylvania)
Postgraduate study in the US
In the United States, graduate courses at the graduate school level are more focused than undergraduate courses and the subject area plays a far more significant role in rankings than the institution’s overall national ranking.
Tuition fees & costs in the USA
Universities in the USA are required to publish their Cost of Attendance on their website. This gives a good guide to the cost of tuition as well as the cost of living in the local area.
As an international student, you will find that tuition fees vary between institutions and can depend on a number of factors including the demand for the university, reputation, location, discipline, length of study, online or campus learning and application fees. There is also a difference in fees between profit-based schools and not-for-profit schools.
The average cost of tuition and fees at ranked universities in 2021-2022 was $38,185 at private schools, $22,698 for public out-of-state, and $10,388 for public in-state. The University of New Mexico has some of the cheapest public in-state tuition fees, averaging around $6,920.
Though, many top-ranking USA university fees can range from around $50,000 to $64,000.
USA university applications & admissions
On average, application fees for US universities cost around $100. To be successful in your application you will need a first degree in a relevant subject area. If your first degree is not from an English speaking university, then you will need to prove your English language skills.
Universities in the USA often use standardised testing for entrance, so if you wish to study a masters program in law or medicine or even business, you will probably need to complete a test. The GMAT covers management and business-related courses, the LSAT is for entry into law school and MCAT is for medical school.
Student life at Grad School in the USA
Students in the USA are career focused and this is doubly so at Grad School. By the time students have completed their first degree and moved onto postgraduate study, they have a clear idea of what they want from their career. The relatively high tuition fees and private loans that many students need to use to attend a university in the United States also help to concentrate their minds. Universities in the USA often have large sports teams and plenty of campus-based activities to be enjoyed.
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Top-ranked universities in the USA
The university or grad school you choose to attend for your postgraduate study is an important decision that should be thoroughly researched. To help with the process, we’ve compiled a list of the top universities in the USA.
Top 10 universities in the USA
Here are the top universities in the United States, with information on their tuition fees and the number of students:
|Number of Students
|Massachusetts Institute of Technology
|University of Chicago
|University of Pennsylvania
|California Institute of Technology
10 largest universities in the USA
These are the 10 largest universities in the United States together with the number of students enrolled:
|Number of Students
|University of Phoenix
|Arizona State University
|University of Central Florida
|Grand Canyon University
|Texas A&M University
|Florida International University
|The Ohio State University
|University of Texas at Austin
|The Pennsylvania State University