University Curriculum In The United States

How to get your Bachelor in The American university

In the United States, nearly 70% of young people enter university after high school. Some describe this experience as the best time of their lives. Nevertheless, between the evenings of the fraternities and the American football matches, the students must work hard to obtain their university diploma, the famous Bachelor. Are you in high school? It is time to discover the workings of the American education system, colorful and creative.

In general, to learn more about the selection criteria of American universities, read our article.

Undergraduate: welcome to the big yard!
During 8 semesters, students must work as a team or solo and produce "research papers" to obtain a Bachelor degree, a diploma that sanctions the end of 4 years of American studies. From then on, they become "Graduates" and can continue their studies by a specialization, like the Master for example.

Types of Bachelor: BA or BS?
Two options are available: the Bachelor of Arts (BA) and the Bachelor of Science (BS). The BA is more general and students have the opportunity to explore various subjects such as science, social sciences, commerce, and languages.

The BS is more specialized in technical and scientific subjects such as computer science, physics, and mathematics. Students must choose subjects directly related to their major, that is to say to their field of predilection.

The major, the minor - what is it?
BS or BA, the student chooses a "field of study" according to what interests him, called major (which can be economics, communication, political science ...). Concretely, he must take courses related to this major and validate them to obtain credits and be graduated.

The minor: study what you like
The student may also choose a minor, a specialization in another field, which may be close to or different from his major. He will then have to take a number of courses to validate this minor.

For example, for the Bachelor of Arts, a student wishing to pursue a career in science, but passionate about languages can choose a major in biology and a minor in Spanish.

And when there are more, there are still
For the hardest of all, the American university offers the possibility of double-major. The student can choose two majors and will thus obtain two diplomas after his four years.

Compulsory courses: the core curriculum
In addition to courses related to the major, the student must take each semester general and compulsory courses that allow the student to develop his skills outside his major, such as a course of writing, speaking, language , Sports ... This is the core curriculum.

Credits - what is it?
To graduate and participate in the famous launch of the Mortar (the hat) during the graduation, one must have accumulated a certain number of credits, which are the unit of measure of the universities.

Concretely, the student must validate the courses of his major, and core curriculum. If he fails and gets an F in a course, he gets no credit this might prevent him from graduating in time.

Your 4 years and 4 steps

Freshman year: the new life

First year at university, it's freedom! You have just left the family cocoon to move into a student room. You choose the courses of the core curriculum, it is the year discovered ... To know more about the life of the campus, read our article.

Sophomore year: Declare his major
In the second year, it is always the discovery, but the future points its nose. You formally declare your major.

Junior year: Some experience
The third year is generally the time when you boost your CV by going abroad or by doing an internship (it is possible to obtain credits through professional experience related to your major).

Senior year: Last effort ...
The last year is to consolidate its achievements and to make up for the delay or the lack of credits in subjects where you did not shine as planned.
College, university ... same degree, but what difference?
The difference is based on the size of the campus. A university hosts tens of thousands of students, while a college is limited to a few thousand.

Lessons
The number of courses and diplomas offered is more limited in college, whereas universities are generally subdivided into departments (business school, communication school ...).

Class Size
In university, students are independent. Allow up to 200 students per class. In college, the classes are smaller (30 students maximum) the pupils are more attended by the teachers.

Infrastructure
Universities generally have more resources than colleges. The sports facilities and the university rooms, the dorms, are therefore often of better quality than in the colleges.

For more information on the differences between public and private universities, scholarships, and costs, see our article The American University, how does it work?

International students?
Universities like foreign students. The best way to be accepted in an American university for a French is to go through an organization. But to be accepted, the first criterion is to speak English!

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