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UG in the USA

UG Courses in USA: Shape Your Academic Journey – ManyaWhy Choose UG in the USA?

The USA is the leading study abroad destination for undergraduate aspirants. Let us understand what makes it a preferred destination for undergraduate aspirants.


Best Destination for Colleges/Undergraduate Courses for Indian Students

Excellent academic curriculum & faculty, a wide array of electives, impeccable research focus, high quality of campus life and high student satisfaction make the USA colleges rank higher among undergraduate applicants. A USA undergraduate degree is valued several notches higher than a similar degree from any other destination. Top-ranked colleges in the USA offer world-class UG degrees. Undergraduate students can pursue their bachelor’s in subjects ranging from architecture, biological & biomedical sciences, computer & information sciences, engineering, English language & literature, health, history, liberal arts and humanities to psychology. They can pursue their under graduation in atypical courses like agriculture; citizenship activities; ethnic; cultural, gender and group studies; library science; personal and culinary services etc.


High Ranking Institutes

As per the World University Rankings 2023 by QS, 9 USA universities feature in the top 20 list. The USA boasts of the most highly-acclaimed colleges in the world – Ivy League colleges, MIT, Stanford, Caltech and UCs etc. It is also home to highly-acclaimed liberal arts colleges such as Williams College, Amherst College, Swarthmore College and Pomona College.


Academic Flexibility in Choosing/Customising/Changing a Major

The USA is highly popular for the academic flexibility available to undergraduate students in changing their major after commencing their undergraduation. For the first two years, USA undergraduate students undertake core courses to identify their interests and even change their major later if needed. They can join with an undecided major if unsure of the choice of major. Most degree programs require a certain number of classes in a discipline but let students customise the rest of their schedule. E.g. for two students studying International Relations at the same college at the same time, one might decide to minor in Philosophy or Chemistry; the other might change the major to Anthropology after a year of study.


Excellent Networking and Research Opportunities

Studying in the USA offers countless networking opportunities that can lead to lifelong professional and personal connections and ultimately result in lucrative internships and job opportunities. It also provides opportunities to collaborate with professors and brilliant minds in a field to conduct path-breaking research. Such research collaborations could also lead to future referrals and work-study opportunities.


Global Career Opportunities and Exponential Increase in Earning Potential

Studying in the USA prepares students for a competitive international career. With technology advancing quicker than ever in a global economic set-up, irrespective of the field, a wide range of knowledge and agility is a skill sought-after by employers everywhere. Undergraduate students in the USA will enjoy an exponential increase in their earning potential and career trajectory.


Popular UG Courses in the USA for Indian Students after 12th

  • Architecture
  • Communication (Digital Cinema & Television, Ethics and Social Responsibility in Communication, Journalism and
    Strategic Communication)
  • Design [Communications (Graphic Design), Environments (Physical & Digital) and Products (Industrial Design)]
  • Engineering
  • Fine Arts (five areas of concentration – Ceramics, Digital Media, Painting, Photography and Sculpture)
  • Marketing
  • Nursing
  • Philosophy
  • Public Affairs (Criminal Justice, Emergency Management, Health Policy, Homeland Security, Political Science, Public Administration, Public Communications, Public Policy)
  • Social Work


Quick Facts to Know


Types of Higher Education Institutions in the USA for UG

Ivy League Colleges These colleges focus on undergraduate education of liberal arts; admission is supremely competitive

Liberal Arts Colleges These colleges endorse liberal arts study in humanities, sciences and social sciences. They are known for their high academic standards.

  • Amherst College
  • Carleton College
  • Pomona College
  • Swarthmore College
  • Williams College
Public (State) Universities Public universities are funded by the state government; tuition fees are lower than private universities. Some popular universities are:

  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Purdue University
  • University of California, Los Angeles
  • University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign
  • University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • University of Texas Austin
Private Universities Private universities run via private funding such as faculty research grants, alumni donations and tuition fees. Their tuition fees are higher than public universities. Some popular universities are:

  • Duke University
  • Harvard University (also Ivy League)
  • MIT
  • Stanford University
Technical Institutions These institutions offer engineering, science and research programs. Some institutions under this category are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), California Polytechnic Institute, and Georgia Institute of Technology
Community Colleges These colleges offer higher education, granting certificates, diplomas, associate degrees, and lower-level tertiary education to impart vocational skills

De Anza College and Bellevue Community College fall under this category

Community college students can transfer their associate degree credits to pursue two more years in a full-time bachelor’s degree program at a degree-awarding college/university


Top Universities for UG in the USA

According to the 2023 Times Higher Education World University Rankings, the following are the top universities in the USA for Undergraduate Degree programs:

California Institute of Technology

  • Six academic divisions with a strong emphasis on science & technology teaching and research
  • It has a high research output and alongside many high-quality facilities, both on campus and globally. It includes:
  • Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Caltech Seismological Laboratory
  • International Observatory Network
Stanford University
  • One of the largest campuses in the United States with 18 interdisciplinary research institutes such as the School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences; Graduate School of Education; School of Engineering; School of Humanities and Sciences; Law School; and School of Medicine.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • It is organised into five schools: Architecture and Planning, Engineering, Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Management and Science. 
  • Scientific discoveries and technological advances accredited to MIT include the first chemical synthesis of penicillin, the development of radar, the discovery of quarks, and the invention of magnetic core memory, which enabled the development of digital computers
Princeton University
  • One of the world’s foremost research universities with connections to more than 40 Nobel laureates, 17 winners of the National Medal of Science and five recipients of the National Humanities Medal
Harvard University
  • Situated in Cambridge, Massachusetts, the campus has 12 degree-granting schools in addition to the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study
  • The private Ivy League institution has impressive alumni of 45 Nobel laureates, over 30 heads of state and 48 Pulitzer Prize winners
Yale University
  • A private Ivy League research university
  • It comprises 14 schools, and students follow a liberal arts curriculum, covering Humanities and Arts, Sciences and Social Sciences before choosing a departmental major. Students also receive instruction in writing skills, quantitative reasoning and foreign languages
University of Chicago
  • An urban research university with an interdisciplinary core curriculum and programs focused on developing critical, analytical, and writing skills in students
  • Faculty, researchers, and alumni have earned 90 Nobel Prizes and 50 MacArthur “genius grants” along with numerous other national medals and fellowships


USA UG Courses Duration & Cost of Education in the USA

Duration Cost of Education (Tuition Plus Living) per annum
Associate degree: 2 years duration

Bachelor’s degree: Usually four years

Bachelor of Architecture Degree, Doctor of Medicine(MD), Doctor of Dental Surgery (DDS) or Juris Doctor(JD) may take four to six years to complete


Tuition: $20,000-$35,000 per annum

Living: $10,000-$18,000 per annum

Total: $30,000-$53,000 per annum

The tuition fee will depend on whether the university is public or private.


Eligibility Criteria for Undergraduate Programs in the USA

Academic Credentials Standardized Test Scores Extra Curriculars
  • Strong academic credentials; consistent academic performance from Class 9th to Class 12th (from a recognised board)

To apply for an undergrad program, at least 70% is recommended in your high school.

  • Digital SAT/ACT
  • Digital SAT II, AP (Optional)
  • Strong Extra Curriculars at State/National/International Level – Declamations, Model United Nations, Olympiad, and several more

Extra-curricular activities ranging from sports to leadership are given very high weightage in the undergraduate admissions process.


Application Portals – The Common Application (CommonApp) is an undergraduate admission application accepted by more than 900 institutions, including some institutions outside the USA. It helps streamline an essential part of the admissions process for students. Applicants will need to fill out details like name, address and extracurricular activities only once. Applicants can apply to a maximum of 20 colleges via the Common Application. All Ivy League colleges (Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the UPenn, and Yale) and top colleges such as Stanford, Caltech, Vanderbilt and Rice accept the Common Application. MIT does not use the Common Application but its application portal called MyMIT. University of California’s campuses have their application portal for UG; the same is with University of Texas campuses.

Important Documents Required for Application

Apart from the entrance exam scores, some important documents required to be submitted are:

  • Transcripts/Final Marks Sheets (Class 9, 10, 11 and 12)
  • Official Test Score Reports
  • Scanned Copy of Passport
  • Financial Documents
  • Essays (CommonApp asks for a 650-word essay; most of the universities ask for supplemental essays as well)
  • Letters of Recommendations
  • Portfolio for Fine Arts programs like Architecture, Dance and Music (If applicable)

Know more about the Entry Requirements for USA Universities.


Intake & Application Deadlines

US universities have two intakes throughout the year- Fall and Spring. However, Fall is the most preferred and primary intake.

  • The Fall semester typically starts in August and ends in December
  • The Spring semester commences in January and ends in May. The Fall intake is the preferred starting point for international students for three reasons:
  • In the Fall, the entire student body on campus comprises new students that makes it easier to adjust
  • The weather is also milder in August as most states in the US have a bitter winter
  • There are higher chances of securing financial aid and scholarships in the Fall intake. The deadlines for each intake are usually a few months before the start date. Hence, applicants must commence their application process and preparation 9-12 months in advance for the targeted intake. For e.g., if they are targeting the September 2023 intake, they need to take the required standardised test(s) and shortlist universities by August-September 2022. Transcripts and recommenders for LORs need to be arranged. Significant time and effort will need to be made on application documents like SOPs, LORs, essays and resume to ensure the submission of impactful and qualitative applications. One must avoid submitting applications on the day of the deadline or in the final minutes to avoid technical glitches. Universities generally take about 8-10 weeks to process the applications.


Early Action, Early Decision and Regular Decision Deadlines

Early Action deadlines are opted by undergraduate applicants for the USA if they wish to apply early and receive an early admission decision (by December); it is not legally binding. The Early Action deadlines usually fall in November.

Early Decision deadline is opted by undergraduate applicants for the USA in case they are clear about the university they wish to study in and expect an early admission decision (by December). It is legally binding.

Regular Decision deadlines are the usual deadlines targeted by most of the applicants. They usually fall at the beginning of January. Admission decisions are rolled out by March or April.

Know more about the Upcoming Intakes to Study in the USA.


Work While Studying: After the first year in college, students are eligible to work on campus for 20 hours a week. During breaks and vacations, there is no restriction on the work hours.

Student Visa: An F1 student visa is required for studying in the USA. Know more about the Student Visa Assistance for the USA.


Average Median Salaries for UG Graduates

  • Physician Assistant – $97,000
  • Registered Nurses – $70,000
  • Research Scientist – $67000
  • Software Engineer – $81000
  • Public Affairs Officer – $65000
  • Business Analyst, IT – $55000
  • Design Architect – $60000
  • Marketing Manager – $64000


Top Industries to Choose

  • Technology
  • Life Sciences
  • Pharma
  • Home healthcare services
  • Educational services
  • Financial and Banking services
  • Consumer products and services
  • Mining/Oil and Gas
  • Leisure and Hospitality
  • Retail

Find Popular Colleges/Universities in USA

If your are aspiring to study in USA and are searching for the best fit university to match your profile, then you're at the right place!

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Why study UG in the USA?

An undergraduate degree from USA is valued higher compared to a degree from any other country. US universities provide students with the best of faculty, a flexible curriculum, a wider range of courses to choose from and a strong community and alumni support. Tie-ups with top-rated organizations provide an opportunity to work with the best of organizations through campus support. A multicultural environment gives international students global exposure and better opportunities to learn.

What are the popular UG specializations in the USA?

Universities in the USA offer many academic choices for undergraduate programs and courses. Students can cultivate existing passions; explore new interests and find a major that will put them on the desired career path. Top college majors in the USA listed below are based on research covering job prospects, alumni salaries, and popularity:

  • Biology
  • Biotechnology
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Computer Science
  • Data Science and Robotics
  • Economics
  • Engineering: Aerospace engineering, IT, Computer engineering; Chemical Engineering
  • Law
  • Life Sciences
  • Mathematics
  • Medicine
  • Nursing
  • Psychology
  • Social Sciences

What are the top careers after completing an UG in USA?

Undergraduate study in the USA opens up plenty of opportunities for Indian students to apply for high-paying jobs, in both international and domestic job markets. Depending on your UG course specialization and academic performance, you can earn higher than your peers with a UG degree from the USA. Currently, the following are the best career options after UG in the USA:

  • Data Scientist
  • Data Analyst
  • Blockchain Developer
  • Digital Marketer
  • Cloud Computing Professional
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Machine Learning Expert
  • Software Developer
  • Healthcare Service Professional

Which standardised exams are required for undergraduate study in the US?

  • SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) – The test is designed to evaluate critical reading, math, reasoning and writing
  • ACT- American College Test. The test evaluates the aptitude and critical thinking abilities of applicants
  • IELTS– International English Language Testing System. It tests the English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of applicants
  • TOEFL- Test of English as a Foreign Language. It tests the English reading, writing, speaking and listening skills of applicants

What is the cost of pursuing an undergraduate degree in the USA?

The cost of pursuing an undergraduate degree in the USA is a function of several factors. In the US, there are mainly two types of universities-Public and Private. Private universities are more expensive than public universities. The cost includes tuition fees plus living expenses such as food, travel, insurance, accommodation etc. The cost of education for UG courses in USA ranges from $30000-53000 annually. The fee varies based on the type of course, specialisation and the university.

Can I get a job after pursuing an undergraduate study in the USA?

Yes, you can get a job after completing a UG degree in the USA. A UG degree from the USA is one of the most sought-after degrees for Indian students as it exponentially increases their earning potential. However, as an international student, one should be well aware of the visa rules and policies related to employment in the USA. For this reason, international students should start working on their job-hunting plans early on and seek support from the college and their network.

What are the eligibility criteria for pursuing undergraduate study in the USA?

The eligibility criteria for international students who intend to apply to US universities for a UG degree are:

  • Completion of class 12th examination from a recognised board of the country with the required percentage
    US universities require candidates to take standardised tests like -SAT I, SAT II or ACT to qualify to apply for a UG program in the USA
  • IELTS/TOEFL – an English proficiency test is a mandatory requirement for international students to be eligible to apply for a UG program in the USA

When can I start undergraduate (bachelor’s) studies in the USA?

The United States has different types of educational institutions offering undergraduate programs and degrees. The application requirements and deadlines may differ depending on the institute. Undergraduate applications are open in US universities between November and January for sessions due the following September. Seeking guidance from a study abroad education consultant can help you with information and processes related to processing university applications.

What are the steps an Indian student must follow to apply to a US university as an undergraduate?

As an Indian student wanting to apply for a UG course in the USA, the following steps need to be followed:

  • Apply to all the shortlisted universities with your academic transcripts.
  • Submit your SAT/ACT/IELTS/TOEFL score.
  • Submit two academic references and essays.
  • Submit the required financial documents

Post acceptance by the university, applicants will have to apply for their visa. The entire process takes months to prepare and apply. It is advisable to take expert advice from an overseas education consultant who can help with test preparation, admission and visa processing.

Where can I find a list of US universities for undergraduate programs?

The top three websites are- https://www.princetonreview.com/, https://www.usnews.com/ and https://www.topuniversities.com/. These reliable websites conduct annual surveys based on factors like student satisfaction, employment rate, salaries, alumni feedback, student retention, graduate rate performance, faculty and more. 

What are the major scholarships/financial aid for Indian undergraduate applicants wanting to study in the USA?

US-based colleges will provide fellowships and assistantship opportunities to their UG students. On a few rare occasions, a school may decide to waive off your tuition fee. However, schools rarely provide financial aid to UG students; hence, such scholarships are generally competitive and merit-based. Nonetheless, merit-based scholarships (based on your test scores, academic ability, skills and talent) and need-based scholarships are available. A lot of scholarships for UG students are limited to residents. You can also apply for private loans if you have a cosigner.

What are the common application-related mistakes made by undergraduate applicants?

  • Limiting application to a few universities- Applying to high-ranking & Ivy League universities alone may not be the wisest step. Applicants should map their academic and extracurricular achievements to universities that are suitable for them. Getting the right counselling saves time and effort alongside increasing the probability of acceptance.
  • Little/Overload of information- Sharing too little/too much information can become a problem. Not sharing all information or sharing unwanted information voluntarily without being asked for it may lead the admission officers to question the applicant’s ability to understand and adhere to the given instructions. They may relate this inability to academic studies as well.
  • Not being authentic- Imitating others or writing what an admissions officer may want to read is a common mistake made by applicants. The essay and other questions asked in the application are for the admission panel to know more about the applicants. Using big words and common responses will not make an application stand out; the responses should be original. It is wise to take professional help to improvise and proofread an application.

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