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UK vs USA: Which is Better for Indians Students in 2024?

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Yocket Editorial Team
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Have you ever wondered why Indian students prefer foreign countries for higher studies? You can expect countless advantages while studying in these countries, like scholarship options, employment opportunities, top-notch quality of education, higher standards of living, part-time job opportunities, and much more. As both the UK and the USA attract a huge pool of international students, a comparison between them is inevitable. Based on various aspects, this blog highlights the differences between studying in the USA and the UK.

And if you are confused about studying in the US or the UK, let Yocket help you.

Confused about whether to study in the UK or the US? Yocket Premium cuts through the clutter!  Get expert guidance at every step, ensuring you understand about the education provided in the UK and the US with all the financial investment involved.  This way, you can focus on acing your academics and can make your decision.

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Table of Contents

Higher Education in UK vs USA

Wondering if the US or the UK is better for your studies? The key lies in their educational styles. The US starts school a bit later but has a longer high school with broader subjects. In the UK, you'd delve deeper into chosen subjects earlier. Universities in the UK are shorter and more focused, while the US offers more freedom to explore before picking a major. Let's see which system aligns better with your goals!

1. United Kingdom (UK)

Higher Education Institutes in UK vs US

The way universities work in the UK is like the old strategy game Go: they are all linked together and follow the same national rules. Students apply to a central system and usually name a degree program instead of a specific school. This method makes the application process easier, but it may not give each student as many education options as the US system does. Here are the details so that you can easily understand:

  • Private and public universities in the UK: The universities in the UK are often run by the British government and private organizations.
  • Group of institutions: Many small colleges and universities in the UK combine and form groups, also known as the ‘mission groups.
  • Autonomous institutions: These institutions are either backed by public funds or run by government/private organizations.
  • Degree awarding institutions: The degree-awarding institutions in the UK have the right to provide some specific research, associate, and teaching degrees.

2. United States of America (USA)

United States of America (USA)

Universities in the US are like strong, independent chess pieces. There are both public and private universities, and each has its own skills and areas of expertise. Certain universities are very good at certain things, like science (Caltech), technology (MIT), or the liberal arts (Williams College). This method encourages competition and new ideas, but the application process can be hard to understand. So here’s a breakdown for you to understand easily:

  • Public universities in the USA: These are also known as state universities, backed with the support of public taxes, and regulated by the US government.
  • Private universities: Not supported by the US government, funded by alumni donations and faculty research grants.
  • Technical schools: Specialized in providing engineering and science and degree courses.
  • Liberal arts college: Higher educational institutions specialize in specific undergraduate courses of social science, science, and humanities streams.
  • Community colleges: The community colleges provide 2-year associate degrees and are relatively inexpensive than other universities.

Suggested: Complete Guide to Education System in UK

Further, let's explore top universities in both the UK and the USA. These universities will surely equip you with a world-class education and open doors to exciting opportunities. Now that you have an understanding of the education systems of the USA and the UK, let us discuss in detail some of the top universities in each country to help you make an informed decision.

Top Universities in UK vs USA for International Students

Choosing between the US and UK for studies depends on your academic goals. To help you decide, let's explore the top-ranked universities in both countries. Resources like the QS World University Rankings 2024 can be a valuable tool for comparing institutions and finding the best fit for you.

The ranking comparison of top universities in USA vs UK is tabulated below:

Top 7 Universities in UK

The UK hosts world-renowned universities like the University of Oxford, the University of Cambridge, the Imperial College London and others blending tradition with innovation. Offering diverse courses, cutting-edge research, and a global community, these institutions foster academic excellence and cultural enrichment. Some of the top universities in the UK are as follows:

UK Universities

QS World University Rankings 2024

University of Oxford

4

University of Cambridge

2

Imperial College London

6

University College London (UCL)

8

The University of Edinburgh

21

The University of Manchester

27

King’s College London

39

Top 7 Universities in USA

People from all over the world want to study in the United States because it has world-famous colleges like MIT, Stanford University, Harvard University and many others, which have a huge selection of academic programs, and state-of-the-art research facilities. This creates a space for academic study and new ideas, which brings in students who want the best education possible. Let's look into the best US colleges!

US Universities

QS World University Rankings 2024

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

1

Stanford University

3

Harvard University

5

California Institute of Technology

7

University of Chicago

11

University of Pennsylvania

13

Princeton University

18

Suggested: 5 Best States in USA for Indian Students

The US might be a good fit if your chosen program and budget align with those of these top universities. Next, let's explore some popular courses for international students in both the USA and the UK to help you decide which country offers the best options for your goals.

Top Courses to Study in the UK vs USA

The courses that interest you will help you decide where to study abroad. The US and UK both have multiple programs, but they are geared toward slightly different tastes. The US is known for its flexible college programs that let you try out different fields before deciding on a major. In the UK, on the other hand, students are encouraged to study a subject in depth from the start. Let's look at some of the most popular courses in each country to help you find the right one for your goals!

 Popular Courses in UK

Popular Courses in USA

Business and administration studies

Business management

Bioscience, health, and medicine

Engineering

Computer Science

Maths and Computer science

Design studies

Social Science

Business management

Physical and Life Sciences

Law

Law

Nursing

Biotechnology

Preclinical medicine

Medical science

Psychology

Agriculture

Sports and Exercise Science

Fashion design

Subjects allied to medicine

Accounting and Economics

Suggested: Top 10 Courses to Study in UK for International Students

Next, let’s check out the admission requirements to study in the USA.

Admission Requirements to Study in the UK vs USA

Deciding between studying in the US or UK? Eligibility requirements are a big factor! Here's the good news: Figuring  them out for both countries is easy. Let's jump in and see what you'll need!

UK Admission Eligibility Criteria

For admission in the UK, there are various eligibility criteria:

  • You must clear your 10+2 from an authorised school/college or board. The minimum marks required for admission vary from university to university and study program to study program. 
  • Some UK universities also require candidates to submit their GRE or GMAT scores. The top-rated UK universities conduct special selection rounds, like personal interviews, to provide seats only to deserving candidates.
  • If you plan to pursue management courses, you should have some years of work experience in the relevant industry.
  • TOEFL, PTE, and IELTS are the English proficiency tests accepted in UK universities. Securing an IELTS score of 6.5 with 6 in every band is necessary for admission to the desired universities.

USA Admission Eligibility Criteria

As an Indian student, if you’re planning to pursue higher studies in the USA, have a look at the below pointers:

  • You should clear your 10+2 from an authorised school or college and respective board. You should have the original copies of all your previous qualifications.
  • You need to sit for competitive exams like GRE, GMAT and SAT. If you wish to pursue some subject-specific courses, you need to appear for MCAT, DAT, PCAT, and VCAT.
  • Apart from the requirements mentioned above, you’ll also need a Letter of Recommendation (LOR) to apply to US universities. The LOR should be signed by a faculty member of your previous institute.
  • Apart from LOR, you’ll also require a Statement of Purpose (SOP). On the other hand, some universities ask for admission essays instead of SOPs.
  • You should show in your financial statements that you have enough funds to study and survive in the United Kingdom.

Suggested: Everything You Need to Know about Requirements to Study in UK

Coming to the UK or USA, the eligibility criteria of both countries is more or less the same. However, you must check for new updates on the official university websites to make an informed decision.

Cost of Studying in UK vs USA

As we’re talking about whether the UK is better than the US, it’s imperative to discuss the cost of living and the cost of studying in both countries. Below, we explain the tuition fees and cost of living in both nations.

Tuition Fees Comparison in the UK vs US

Let’s check the pointers given below for the tuition fees in the UK and the US: 

Study program

Tuition fees in the UK

yearly (in GBP)

Tuition fees in the US

yearly (in USD)

Bachelor’s degree

£8,000 (INR 838,020) to £15,000 (INR 1,571,280)

$20,000 (INR 1,667,160) to $40,000 (INR 3,334,320)

Graduate degree

£10,000 (INR 1,047,520) to £15,000 (INR 1,571,280)

$20,000 (INR 1,667,160) to $50,000 (INR 4,167,900)

Doctoral degree

£10,000 (INR 1,047,520) to £25,000 (INR 2,618,800)

$25,000 (INR 2,083,950) to $55,000 (INR 4,584,690)

Picking between studying in the US or the UK? Universities in the UK might cost a little more for both bachelor's and PhD degrees.

Cost of Living Comparison in UK vs US

Following are the parameters with the costs for calculating the total living expenses in both countries. 

Major expenses

Cost of living per year

(in GBP)

Cost of living per year

(in USD)

On-campus

accommodation

£3,600 (INR 377,110) to £4,000 (INR 419,010)

$3,000 (INR 250,070) to $4,500 (INR 375,110)

Private accommodation

£4,000 (INR 419,010) to £6,000 (INR 628,510)

$4,000 (INR 333,430) to $7,000 (INR 583,510)

Public transportation

£1,500 (INR 157,130) to £1,800 (INR 188,550)

$2,000 (INR 166,720) to $3,000 (INR 250,070)

Entertainment

Depends on lifestyle and personal preferences

Depends on lifestyle and personal preferences

Household bills

£200 (INR 20,950) to £400 (INR 41,900)

$1,000 (INR 83,360) to $2,000 (INR 166,720)

Internet

£100 (INR 10,470) to £150 (INR 15,710)

$100 (INR 8,330) to $200 (INR 16,670)

Miscellaneous

£500 (INR 52,380) to £1,000 (INR 104,750)

$1,000 (INR 83,360) to $2,000 (INR 166,720)

Note: Most of the costs mentioned above are tentative and depend on one’s lifestyle and personal needs.

Next, let’s explore the visa requirements in the US and UK.

Student Visa in UK vs US

If you are a foreign student deciding between the UK and the US, you should look into how to get a student visa in each country. Here are the full steps for getting a visa for each country.

1. Student Visa for UK

If you're planning to study in the UK, you'll need a student visa to enter and stay there for the duration of your studies. The most common type of visa for international students is the Tier-4 student visa in the UK. The overall cost of the Tier-4 UK visa is around £350 (INR 36,660). If a dependent is also coming with you, the same visa fee will be required. You also need to pay an international surcharge of £705 (INR 73,850).

The visa officer might or might not call you for the interview round.

Documents Required for a UK Student Visa:

  • A valid passport
  • The reference number of Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS)
  • Passport-size photographs
  • Tuberculosis screening report might be asked
  • Assessment documentation
  • ATAS (Academic Technology Approval Scheme) clearance report
  • Documents of the student loan (if you have taken a student loan from any bank)

2. Student Visa for USA

In the US, there are three types of student visas which are as follows:

  • F1 student visa- Study programs that require 18 hours of study weekly like MBA, MS requires the F1 visa.
  • J1 Exchange Visitor Visa- This visa is for students and lecturers pursuing exchange programs in the US.
  • M1 Visa- Students interested in studying at technical and vocational schools require an M1 visa. The procedure for applying for an M1 visa and F1 visa is the same.

Documents Required for Student Visa in USA:

  • A valid passport
  • A printed copy of the DS-160 application form
  • SEVIS fee receipt (visa fee receipt)
  • The original and copy of the interview appointment letter
  • The original and copy of the Form I-20 sent from the university/college you’re enrolling in
  • Visa fee payment confirmation receipt
  • The bank statements to prove you have enough funds to reside in the US
  • A copy of your previous qualifications
  • The score sheets of your chosen English proficiency exam

Suggested: Find out the Difference Between F1 and J1 Student Visa

Next, let’s explore the working options in the US and UK. If you are a student with a low financial budget, this point matters a lot when selecting between the UK and US.

Work While Studying in UK vs US

Fortunately, both the US and the UK allow abroad students to work while studying, with conditions that are mentioned below:

Studying in UK

Tier 4 is the UK student visa which allows the abroad students to work 20 hours a week part-time.

You’re eligible to work on the university campus or under a university-affiliated employer.

International students can work off-campus, depending on their chosen study program and the university’s terms and conditions.

Studying in USA

If you are studying in the United States, you can work on-campus up to 20 hours per week and full-time (up to 40 hours per week) on the holidays.

Working off-campus is pretty complicated because most US universities disallow international students from working off-campus for safety reasons.

However, you can’t work after completing your study program using your F1, M1, or J1 student visa.

Stay Back Options In UK Vs US

International students who complete a degree program in the UK are eligible for the Graduate Route (previously PSW visa) allowing them to stay and work in the UK for 2 years (or three years for PhD graduates) after graduation.

International students on F-1 visas can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing their studies. OPT allows them to work for up to 1 year in a field related to their degree. International students can only stay back in the US if they apply for STEM OPT (optional practical training)

Suggested: Best Banks for International Students USA!

From the Desk of Yocket

While both the UK and USA offer world-class education, the UK's shorter programs and clear post-study work visa might be ideal for focused students seeking affordability. However, the US offers more diverse programs and a wider cultural experience, so consider your goals in terms of program flexibility, budget, and desired lifestyle to make the best choice for your study abroad adventure in 2024.

For better clarity on the question - “USA or the UK,” check out Yocket Premium and get end-to-end expert advice. Yocket Premium is your ultimate ally for international studies, offering personalised guidance, exclusive application insights. Craft compelling SOPs and LORs, access real-time admission updates, and streamline financial planning. Are you worried about studying abroad?  You can use Yocket Premium as a secret tool! It clears up all the things you need to know and makes your trip to study abroad easier.

Frequently Asked Questions on Study in UK vs USA

How is US different from UK? 

Is cost of studying in UK less than US? 

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