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2021-12-26 21:10:16

TOP-6 differences between higher education in USA and UK

TOP-6 differences between higher education in USA and UK

Nine of the ten best universities in the world are located in two countries – America (5) and England (4). So why be surprised that people intending to pursue higher education in English choose between these two jurisdictions?

Most often, the choice is based on applied questions of the second plan. For example, it is much better and easier to get a study visa, where the price for a year of study is lower, someone thinks about the quality and convenience of life. We propose to go a little further and compare the USA and UK in terms of the quality and features of student existence.

Depth of subjects studied

"A narrow specialist is like a flux," says folk wisdom in the form of a proverb (or saying). In English universities at the biofaculty, a student can study some bacterium or suction cup on the paw of a lizard during the trimester.  Continuing the same theme: in the first year, the basics are studied, then the student chooses a specialization, after which he goes deeper step by step in order to choose a point specialization by graduation.

A couple of trimesters spent with colleagues from the Mekhmat or The Faculty of Chemistry may help with this, but the training will still revolve around biology, even if we are talking about related disciplines.

Summing up: here it will be easiest for people who know from the first year what they are going to and what they will do after graduation.

In the U.S., by contrast, a more liberal approach is in use. Most often, they enter the humanities faculties, where they give knowledge of social and social sciences, languages and other things that are customary in the British Isles at school.

As the specialization is realized and determined, a person is transferred to other faculties or even other universities, where the program in the chosen direction is stronger and deeper. At the same time, Americans often choose elective subjects and disciplines that are not related to the main one.

Teaching Methodology

In the U.S., students can expect a significantly greater level of support from the teacher, while their overseas counterparts are largely represented by themselves.

Americans are democratic, behave exactly like in school: it is in their interest that the person studying with them demonstrates maximum results, so the preparation process is as effective as possible. Homework is practiced here (they are evaluated, and everything goes into reporting to the final assessment), various activities are carried out to assess academic performance. It is not uncommon for a teacher to evaluate a draft and invite a student to make edits to get a better score.

Their English colleagues are not so interested in checking academic performance - it is believed that once a person has enrolled, he himself can monitor the degree of his success. Final exams and intermediate tests are usually enough.

Accommodation and meals

Of course, a lot depends on a particular educational institution, two identical campuses in the same country can not be found. But there are universal rules-features.

In particular, in the US you can easily live with pets, and in the UK it is an unacceptable liberty. It is known that Byron was extremely annoyed that in Cambridge he could not take Botswain's beloved dog with him.

True, he found something to shine with, and brought a tame bear instead of a dog - that was not on the list of prohibited items. In America, such prohibitions are not practiced, but those who want to acquire animals are still quite rare - the student's schedule is irregular, so there is no time to mess with the pet.

Another significant difference in the issue of nutrition: in the US, this is often included in the cost of living on campus, and British studios must take care of food on their own (so they eat beans from a can and sandwiches).

The importance of additional studies

The British, unlike their former colonial partners, do not always pay attention to sports indicated in the application, even with differences, as well as hobbies, hobbies and musical talents.

This is partly due to the difference in approaches and traditions of life in universities here and there: in American institutions, the task is not only to grow a scientist out of a person, but also to provide an opportunity for a teenager gifted in something else to try to become part of the elite (hence the disproportionately large number of sports scholarship holders among first-year students).

At the same time, there are a huge number of clubs in British universities. Some of which, take at least the debate clubs at Oxford and Cambridge universities, constitute a significant phenomenon on a national scale, but still remain an optional entertainment, and not a prerequisite for studying.

In the United States, it is different, because in the state founded by the Puritans, educational institutions have more in common with medieval educational institutions than in old England. Ancient colleges were founded at monasteries, the task of the latter was not so much spiritual life as supporting local communities in various sectors - from science and education to economic development. Hence the semi-sacred significance of brotherhoods and a large number of rites, traditions and other very strange things.

Professional skills

The British have a very specific attitude to teaching the skills necessary for development and career. This is due to the historical division of higher education into academic and professional (the first is engaged in universities, the second - in polytechnic institutes). In the latter, it was easier to enroll, training was more accessible and concentrated on practically useful skills, while latin, Greek and philosophy were repeated in universities. Then polytechnics were unified with classical institutions, but in the eyes of the abitur, these are still second-class institutions.

So practical skills and technical subjects in higher education institutions from the top of the ratings are taught almost optionally, even at the medical and law faculty, where students meet practical cases in the 3-4 year, or even after completing the training.


Another point is assessments. The British valuation system is based on the following percentages:

  • Less than 40% = bad
  • 40-50% = satisfactory
  • 50-70% = good
  • Over 70% = excellent
  • More than 80% = outstanding results.

In the US, the gradation corresponds to the school gradation, and where British teachers put 80%, Americans do not regret sculpting 100%, which is almost impossible in England.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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