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Choosing a degree programme that is a good fit for you can be a challenging task, but also an exciting one! With over 1,700 universities offering postgraduate degrees, you may find the process of narrowing your search to the 4-6 to which you will apply a bit overwhelming at first. We provide a 3 step process and factors to consider when choosing a US university. We also have a list of resources that can help you when researching universities in the US. Also, attend our USA Grad School Day!
There is no centralised, authoritative ranking system of US universities and programmes. Unofficial rankings, such as US News and World Report, Princeton Review, and the THS-QS Top Universities will give you a general idea of the academic reputation and relative prestige of a degree programme. However, it is important to realise that a top 20, or even top 100, list of programmes covers only a small percentage of those available. Further, you should read the fine print on how rankings are determined. Rankings are not necessarily based upon factors that impact your quality of education most, such as class size, teaching quality, student advising, faculty access and opportunities for research, internships, etc.
That being said, in some fields such as Law and for MBA degrees, the reputation or 'brand name' of a university can have a significant impact on your career prospects. Therefore, you may wish to place an emphasis on rankings when choosing a degree programme.
Both medical and law degrees are only offered at the postgraduate level in the US. You will need to have completed or are preparing to complete a bachelor’s degree before you can apply to medical or law schools in the US. Most students in the US complete a bachelor’s degree in a subject area that is relevant to the professional program they wish to enter. For example, a prospective law student may study political science or international affairs during his or her undergraduate degree while someone wishing to get into medical school may study chemistry or biology. For more information on professional programmes, visit our postgraduate degrees page or read our hand-outs on medical and law degrees.
There are many organisations and individuals in the UK who can help you prepare applications to American universities. Many of our partner organisations offer one-on-one support to students who are searching for and applying to universities in the USA. You can also search for educational consultants online.
After reviewing the information provided on our website, feel free to contact our advising team. You can reach us via phone 0845 894 9524 (Tuesdays 1:30 - 5 pm and Thursdays 1:30 - 5 pm); via email – firstname.lastname@example.org; or in-person at events.
If you need additional assistance as you apply for US study beyond what our staff is able to provide, you may wish to consider contacting one of the organisations on our resources page. These test tutors and educational consultants offer a higher level of personalised, additional support and services to help you prepare for admission exams and complete a competitive application.