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UK vs US: Which is Better to Study Abroad for International Students?

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

Table of Contents

Higher Education Institutes in UK vs US

To judge between USA or UK which is better to study, it’s essential to compare US vs UK education systems for better understanding. So let us discuss different institutions to study in UK vs USA:

  • United Kingdom (UK)

Higher Education Institutes in UK vs US

Following are a few types of UK education institutes: 

  • Private and public universities in UK: The universities in UK are often run by British government and private organisations. 
  • Group of institutions: Many small colleges and universities in 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 organisations. 
  • Degree awarding institutions: The degree-awarding institutions in UK have the right to provide some specific research, associate, and teaching degrees. 
  • United States of America (USA)

United States of America (USA)

Following are the types of universities in the USA: 

  • Public universities in USA: These are also known as state universities, backed with the support of public taxes, and regulated by US government. 
  • Private universities: Not supported by 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 specialise 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 the list of top universities in both UK and USA. These universities will surely help you make a choice, understanding UK or USA which is better for Indian students. 

Top Universities in UK vs US

While comparing UK or USA, which is better for Indian students, it is essential to go through the top ranking universities in both the study abroad destinations. Seeing the QS World University Rankings 2023, one can decide USA or UK which is better to study. 

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

  • Top 7 Universities in UK

UK Universities

QS World University Rankings 2023

University of Oxford

4th rank

University of Cambridge

2nd rank

Imperial College London

6th rank

University College London (UCL)

8th rank

The University of Edinburgh

15th rank

The University of Manchester

28th rank

King’s College London

37th rank

You can choose UK if you wish to pursue your education or have a course in the above-mentioned universities. 

  • Top 7 Universities in USA

US Universities

QS World University Rankings 2023

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

1st rank

Stanford University

3rd rank

Harvard University

5th rank

California Institute of Technology

6th rank

University of Chicago

10th rank

University of Pennsylvania

13th rank

Princeton University

16th rank

Suggested: 5 Best States in USA for Indian Students

Similarly, choose US if your choice of course and financial budget suits to these universities. Next, let’s explore the top courses to choose between USA vs UK for international students. 

Top Courses to Study in the UK vs US

When you compare the countries UK vs USA for Indian students to study, one of the most common things you’ll find is that both nations are well-known for providing high-quality education. Both the countries offer a wide range of courses to international students. As we’re comparing UK vs USA for Indian students, we mention the top courses to study in these countries below.

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 US

Between the UK or USA which is better for Indian students? Here, the eligibility criteria play an important role. Therefore, checking the eligibility criteria to study in both nations is very straightforward. Let’s begin! 

  • UK Eligibility Criteria

Following the criteria to get admission in the US universities. 

  • You must clear your 10+2 from an authorised school/college and 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 Eligibility Criteria

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

  • You should clear your 10+2 from an authorized 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, SAT, and TOEFL. If you wish to pursue some subject-specific courses, they 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 the 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 SOP.
  • You should show 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, one can check for new updates on the official university websites to make an informed decision. Next, let’s check the…

Cost of Studying in UK vs US

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 in the UK vs US

Let’s check the pointers given below: 

Study program

Tuition fees in the UK

yearly (in GBP)

Tuition fees in the US

yearly (in USD)

Bachelor’s degree

£8,000 to £15,000

$20,000 to $40,000

Graduate degree

£10,000 to £15,000

$20,000 to $50,000

Doctoral degree

£10,000 to £25,000

$25,000 to $55,000

Coming back to the discussion of UK or USA, which is better, the UK universities are slightly expensive in terms of tuition fees on bachelors and doctoral levels.

Cost of Living 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 to £4,000

$3,000 to $4,500

Private accommodation

£4,000 to £6,000

$4,000 to $7,000

Public transportation

£1,500 to £1,800

$2,000 to $3,000

Entertainment

Depends on lifestyle and personal preferences

Depends on lifestyle and personal preferences

Household bills

£200 to £400

$1,000 to $2,000

Internet

£100 to £150

$100 to $200

Miscellaneous

£500 to £1,000

$1,000 to $2,000

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’re thinking about UK vs US for international students, you should check out the student visa procedure of both countries. Below, we’re sharing the detailed visa procedure of both nations.

  • Student Visa for UK

Tier-4 is the full-time student visa of the UK. The overall cost of the Tier-4 UK visa is around £350. 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

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

Documents Required for 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)
  • 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 US and UK. If you are a student with a low financial budget, this point matters a lot when selecting between 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

  • 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.

These pointers will surely help you make an informed decision. Next, let’s check the…

Stay Back Options In UK Vs US

Around two years back (2019-2020), the British government made some changes regarding the stay-back option for international students. Initially, abroad students can only stay for two months in the UK after completing their studies. As per the new rules and regulations, international students pursuing undergraduate degrees and higher can stay in the UK for two years after completing their studies.

International students can only stay back in the US if they apply for STEM OPT (optional practical training). According to this program, students who apply for general OPT can stay for 12 months after completing their studies. On the other hand, STEM OPT candidates can stay and work for up to 36 months.

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We hope the comparison of UK vs US education system and other aspects guide you. Selecting the right study destination depends on your preferences and other important factors. For better clarity on the question USA or UK which is better to study, subscribe to Yocket premium and get end-to-end expert advice. 

Frequently Asked Questions on Study in UK vs USA

Ques. How is US different from UK? 

Ans. The USA practises the federal constitutional republic form of government, whereas the UK has a constitutional monarchy and a parliamentary system. Next, the USA has 50 states and one federal district while the UK is a single state kingdom comprising four different countries. Lastly, US has bigger GDP, land area, and domestic product compared to the UK. 

Ques. Is cost of studying in UK less than US? 

Ans. Studying in UK is usually cheaper as it has shorter courses and less tuition fees consequently. 

Ques. Is it better to live in UK or the US? 

Ans. The cost of living in UK is 0.49% less than in the US. This percentage may seem less; however, saving can be really helpful in paying the tuition fee, thereby reducing the overall loans. 

Ques. Which has better job opportunities between UK and US? 

Ans. If you don’t have knowledge of the US job market, UK definitely has better job/internship opportunities for th international students. 

Ques. What is the average salary of UK vs US?

Ans. The average salary in USA ranges from $101,000 to $130,000 annually. At the same time, the average salary in UK is between $64,000 to $105,000 annually.