The Most Important Differences Between the American System and the British System in University Study

Many students dream of studying at universities in America or Britain, as universities in both countries always occupy the first ranks in most disciplines in the world, and statistics show that more than half of the top 200 universities in the world are located in both America and Britain only, and this may be due to the quality University education, advanced educational capabilities, advanced research services and the rich culture of the two countries stimulate the pursuit of learning and education.

Although they share these characteristics, there are many differences between the two educational systems at the university, as well as the nature of student life, which we will discuss in this article shown in the following points.

Duration of study

The duration of study in each of the two systems differs in different programs. In the baccalaureate program, the study continues for 3 years in Britain while it lasts for 4 years in America, although students can enroll in doctoral programs directly after obtaining the degrees of the bachelor’s degree, but it is more common In Britain, first enrollment in Masters Programs, then enrollment in PhD programs, and for the duration of other study programs, graduate programs continue in Britain for one year while continuing in America for about two years, while the PhD continues in Britain for 3 years Whereas in America it lasts for a period of 5-7 years and perhaps more, and the reason for the short period of study programs in Britain may be that universities offer more specialized and accurate programs.

Classroom timing and start

While most American universities start their academic year in mid-August, then students take a mid-year vacation from mid-December to early or mid-January, and after that they complete their academic year until May or June, universities in Britain begin the school year in September and perhaps in October, and the academic year ends in May or June. In total, the length of the academic year in Britain’s universities is more than that of America, the duration of holidays during the year in America’s system is longer, however the academic year in Britain’s universities mostly does not go according to a uniform time, If you choose to study in Britain, you will often find a schedule of study that varies somewhat at your university.

Grading system

The degree distribution system in the American system differs from the British system. In America, study programs throughout the year depend on the student providing assignments and assignments such as: (Essay writing projects), as well as submitting some research papers, and submitting his ideas through the (Presentations), either in Britain. The academic programs depend more on the student receiving the lectures. Students are rarely obligated to do the assignments and if they are assigned, it is not necessary for the professor to review and correct them. Therefore, the learning process is more dependent on the student in the British system than in the American system, in which the responsibility of learning lies not only on the student but also on the teacher.

This makes the final score that a student obtains at the end of his academic program in the British system mainly depends on the end-of-year test, while the degree that the student gets in the American system depends on his academic performance throughout the year, grades of assignments and assignments alongside the end-of-year test.

study FEES

Here comes the major problem that most students who want to study in both America and Britain face, and that is the high costs of studying at universities significantly. Most students cannot afford the tuition fees, especially international students. The costs of studying at British universities are less than the costs of American universities. In Britain, a binding law was imposed for universities in 2012, which guarantees that the maximum tuition fees in the year are 9,000 pounds, which is equivalent to $ 14,300, but this applies to the English citizen, but for students coming from countries Others, their study costs are higher than that, the maximum limit may be 20,000 pounds. The English government puts an end to the costs of studying in universities, and it is then left for colleges and universities to determine the amount of expenses in this scope imposed by law.

In America, the government does not control the academic expenses that universities set, and universities are divided into public universities, which are called (public state universities) such as: UC Berkeley and UC San Diego universities, and private universities, which are called (private universities) such as: Stanford and Harvard universities, the study costs are often higher, and tuition fees vary in America depending on the institute or university. For example, the average tuition fee at a state institute or public institute is about $ 3,000 a year, while the average expense in a non-state institute or private institute is about $ 29,000 a year, and it may reach $ 50,000 a year, which enhances The idea that there is no specific amount in which to study costs ranges, as each university differs greatly from the other.

To help students and motivate them to study, the government in both countries provides student loans that allow students to complete their studies, as well as governments, universities and some other agencies provide many forms of financial support to students such as college scholarships, or partial scholarships they offer to students who are academically, technically, or athletically excelling.


Universities in both countries provide places for students to stay inside the university, and although they are very similar, there are still some differences. In Britain, the student’s obtaining a room in which he lives alone is considered normal, while in America it is more likely that your room will be shared with a student or Moreover, after the first year, students in America have the choice to live outside the university in a place of their own. Likewise, in Britain’s universities, students depend on themselves for food and nutrition services, while students ’accommodations in American universities provide a variety of meals services, and what differs clearly is the cleaning service provided by the maids in the housing, which exist in Britain, but students pay in In exchange for it.

The nature of the study programs

The nature of the programs offered in each country is different. The nature of the programs offered in American universities is more extensive and varied, while the study programs in the universities of Britain are more specialized and profound. In Britain, students do not study subjects that are far from their specialty. Therefore, the student must be able to determine the major he wants to study before the start of studies, and he cannot change the major that he chose in the mid-year, or after the start of his studies.

On the contrary, the study programs in America allow some flexibility and capacity to choose, so the bachelor’s student chooses his major after the second year of the university, which allows some exploration of his preferences, and he can change this specialization after his choice if he changes his mind, which is what most students do It has been estimated that approximately 80% of students change their major after choosing it, and start studying it.

Therefore, if you are able to resolve the major you want to study, British universities may be the environment for you, or if you feel some hesitation and confusion about what you want to study, or you want to study your major in general and wide, then American universities may be the best for you .

Jobs chances

Many students seek to find a job opportunity during the study to be able to bear the costs of studying, living and residing, and for both countries, each of them sets laws that regulate the number of working hours allowed for a student during his studies, whether inside or outside the university, which is about 20 hours per week during study On holidays, he can work full time.

In Britain, a student can benefit from choosing a baccalaureate program, which gives you an opportunity to gain practical experience by working in one of the specialized places, related to your studies for a year, and therefore the duration of these programs is 4 years instead of 3 years, and joining these programs, and joining the job opportunity for students Those who own a student visa.

In America, you can benefit from what is called (Optional Practical Training), which gives you the opportunity if you are a student in one of the baccalaureate programs to work for a year on the student visa (F-1), and after this period has ended you must either complete your studies in the event that you did not You finish your studies, or return back to your country, unless you can obtain a work visa.

In general, obtaining a job opportunity in both countries after graduation is not easy. Although universities try to help students obtain job opportunities, the severe political and economic conditions may make it difficult to obtain a job opportunity.

The university admission process

This step is considered one of the most important steps that must be prepared well if you seek to obtain the acceptance of one of the universities, and the requirements for enrollment in Britain’s universities differ significantly from the universities of America, in Britain universities are concerned with academic performance and the degrees obtained by the student in the last year in his studies, so the level The academic is one of the most important factors that the admission office relies on to evaluate the student.

In America, there are many conditions for enrollment, including tests for student assessment such as (SAT) or (ACT) for undergraduate students, and (GRE) or (GMAT) for postgraduate and doctoral students. This is in addition to language assessment tests such as (IELTS) or the (TOEFL) which are required in both countries. The admission office depends on all the papers submitted by the student for his evaluation, so a comprehensive look at each of the academic level, the results of the required tests, and recommendation answers along with letters Purpose of study, or personal speeches.

In the end, the system of study in both Britain and America is distinguished by quality, yet each system differs from the other in some things, and each system has its advantages and disadvantages, and because each of us has its requirements and circumstances, he will find one of them more suitable for him than the other after knowing the differences that we mentioned to you in This article.

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