Degrees & Schools for International Students

If you’re thinking of studying in the USA, a good place to start is to evaluate the many available degree programs and schools for international students. You’ll want to determine whether you wish to earn an academic or professional degree, for starters. An academic degree like a BA or MS is typically more research-intensive and may have a thesis requirement, particularly at the graduate level. A professional degree, such as an MBA, is usually more career-oriented and designed to help prepare you for specific professional goals, like leading a business. Need some help figuring out all the degree options that may be available at a college for international students? Check out this guide:

Undergraduate Definitions


A certificate program is a brief series of courses pertaining to a specific topic or skill area. Earning a certificate may be a good way to supplement your degree, or it may serve as a stand-alone credential to help prepare you for career tracks like medical billing and coding, office administration, veterinary assisting, and more. Some certificate courses may be completed in six months or less.

Associates degree:

An associates degree usually takes about two years to earn, though completion times may vary. This degree could be your first step toward pursuing a bachelor degree, or it may help you to pursue entry-level career opportunities. Associates degrees are often available in areas such as office administration, software development, accounting, and more, though you could also opt to pursue a general studies or liberal arts degree.

Bachelors of Arts Degree:

Bachelors of Science Degree:

Another four-year degree program typically available at universities for international students is the BS, or Bachelor of Science degree. Areas of study include science, technology, and mathematics. While some crossover with the BA degree may be observed, majors available in a BS program usually include Physics, Chemistry, Computer Science, Engineering, and more.

Graduate Definitions

Masters of Arts Degree:

The Master of Arts is an academic graduate degree program that is usually at least two years in length. Earned following a bachelor degree, an MA is a more high-level degree that may help students prepare for career advancement or opportunities in a new field. The degree is typically available in areas of the liberal arts and humanities such as English, Communications, History, Philosophy, etc.

Masters of Science Degree:

Like an MA degree, the MS (Master of Science) is an academic graduate degree program that may take two or more years to complete. This degree can be earned in an area of science, math, or technology, such as Nursing, Biology, Information Technology, or Engineering.


Masters of Business Administration Degree:

An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a professional degree designed to help prepare students for entrepreneurial or leadership roles in the field of business. The degree may usually be earned in two or more years. In most cases, students can select a concentration such as Business Management, Finance, Accounting, Marketing, or Human Resource Management.

Masters of Fine Arts Degree:

MFA stands for Master of Fine Arts, so it’s no surprise that this degree is usually earned in areas like visual arts, photography, creative writing, dance, and theater. An MFA typically takes at least two years to earn and features workshops or studio time to help artists hone their craft.

Masters of Education Degree:

The Master of Education, or M.Ed., can be a good choice for educators pursuing professional development or advancement. This academic graduate degree usually takes at least two years to earn. Candidates may choose from majors such as Curriculum and Instruction, Educational Leadership, and other areas of study relevant to education professionals like teachers and school administrators.

Doctor of Medicine Degree:

An MD is a terminal degree for those planning to practice medicine. Usually, a candidate may enroll in an MD program after earning a bachelor degree. While this professional degree may be earned in four or more years, future physicians or surgeons must complete additional training before they can enter a practice.

Doctor of Philosophy Degree:

A PhD is an academic, research-intensive degree that may be pursued after earning a bachelor or masters degree. The length of this program varies, and the degree typically culminates in a thesis or dissertation comprised of original research. A PhD may be earned in the liberal arts, sciences, and other areas of study.

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