Common Programs Offered (both for international students and for domestic students)
The undergraduate program leads to a Bachelor’s degree. Normally, the Undergraduate programs take about 4 - 5 years to complete. The undergraduate degree is divided into Freshman (first year), Sophomore (second year), Junior (third year) and Senior (fourth year) years. Typically, in the Sophomore year you will have to declare your Major. If you like, you can also declare your Minor. Major is your main field of study, and you will get a degree associated with your major. Minor is your secondary field of study. You will not be granted a degree based on your minor, but you do not need to take as many classes as if you are taking a major in that field of study.
The graduate program leads to a Master’s degree. Normally, the Graduate programs take 2 - 3 years to complete. Some Graduate programs will require you to complete a thesis as a pre requisite for graduation.
The PhD program leads to a Doctor of Philosophy degree. Normally, the PhD programs take 4 - 5 years to complete. In most cases, a PhD candidate will have a master degree before he or she enters the PhD program. However, in some cases, you can start your PhD program right after you get your undergraduate degree. In this case the master program is embedded in the PhD program.
Dual Degree program
A dual degree program is a program that will award you two degrees upon graduation. Many Universities offer dual degree program such as MBA (Master of Business Administration) and MS-MIS (Master of Science in Management of Information Systems).
Normally, it will take you two years each (four years total) to complete the two programs individually. However, when you are in the dual degree program, you can complete both the programs in three years. This is because many of the courses that you take for MBA and MS-MIS overlap, i.e., you will be taking the same courses for both degrees. However, if the two degrees that you want to take do not have a lot of common courses, such as business and law, you might have to spend more time in the college / university.
Please check with individual colleges / universities for a list of dual degree programs they offer.
Programs Designed for International Students and Scholars
Some other typical programs designed for international students and scholars are:
Exchange Students / Exchange Visitors Programs
There are two types of exchange students program. The exchange can be based on the university or on the country.
Some US universities collaborate with universities from other countries. These universities often exchange each other’s students for one or two semesters. If you qualify for such program, you will be able to spend one or two semesters in a US university while a student from the US university will be studying in your home university. Please check with your college authorities for more details.
Besides collaborations between US universities and universities of other countries, US government in general also collaborates with the government of other countries to sponsor an exchange student program, which is well known as Fulbright program. International students participated in this program are called exchange visitors. Those students have the opportunity to study in the US not only for one or two semesters, but for the entire program, and obtain a degree from US universities.
Study Abroad programs
These programs are similar to the exchange student programs, in which you will be able to spend one or two semesters in a US university. The difference is that, there is no exchange student necessary. That means, you can come and study in the US even if there is no US student coming and studying in your home university. Please check with your current university for more information.
Visiting Scholar programs
Many US colleges / universities invite international scholars for a period of time to do research with the professors in the US. The period of stay normally is between one to two semesters. In most cases, you are required to have a Masters or a PhD degree. Sometimes, work experience in a Multi national company will also qualify you. The best way to get into such a program is to communicate directly with the Professors at the prospective university. If the Professor desires to work with you, he will communicate with the university authorities. Normally, the Professor will sponsor you (pay you a stipend) for working with him.
Post-doctoral Research programs
This program is similar to the Visiting Scholar programs. However, to apply for this program you are required to have a PhD degree. As the case of visiting scholar program, you should communicate directly with the Professors at the prospective university. If the Professor desires to work with you, he will communicate with the university authorities. Normally, the Professor will sponsor you (pay you) a stipend for working with him.