International Study Center

American Education System

The Number One Education Model in the World

QS Higher Education System Strength Rankings 2018 ranks the USA as the top education model globally.

The American Education System

Higher education in the USA is recognized around the world but comes in many different formats. From ‘Ivy League’ to community colleges, for both undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Universities are usually large institutions made up of several colleges across disciplines. Colleges are smaller, usually focused on a limited number of subjects with fewer students than universities have.

Flexible Learning

US universities offer flexible learning where you can study a broad range of subjects before choosing your major and focusing your studies. This is called ‘liberal arts education’, and means you can learn multiple subjects that you’re interested in while concentrating on a degree in your chosen path. The benefit of this is that you gain a broad knowledge and transferable skills you can use in many industries, making you a unique graduate.

You usually do not need to declare your major until your third year (also known as junior year), giving you time to explore your interests. You can still change your major later in your degree but this may extend your program.

Degree Programs

There are three types of degree you can study for in the USA.


Many domestic students in the USA choose to study at a community college for the first 2 years of their degree, then transfer to a university to complete their bachelor degree. The program they complete at their community college is known as an Associate's Degree, either of Arts (A.A.) or Science (A.S.).


In the USA, undergraduate degrees are usually completed in four years when studying full-time. It can take a little longer or less time depending on your study plan, as long as you complete 180 credits. Undergraduate degrees are also known as bachelor’s degrees.

Baylor University offers a broad range of undergraduate degrees across colleges in arts, science, law, education, theology, and more. These are the degrees you continue working towards after International Year.


Graduate degrees are for students who have completed their undergraduate degree at any institution. You can change universities to study your graduate degree or stay at the same university. There are two types of graduate degree: master’s or doctoral (PhD). These can either be taught or based in hands-on research and are usually more specific to your area of interest than an undergraduate degree. You can study a graduate degree at Baylor after studying the Masters International Year.

Teaching Styles in Higher Education in the USA

Teaching styles can vary across universities in the USA, however, they usually fall into a combination of lectures, group discussions and individual learning. In some subjects you will also be required to do some practical, field or lab work.


You will be expected to participate in classes, both asking and answering questions. The teachers in the International Study Center will encourage you to do this as you adjust to studying in the USA.

Independent study is also a key part of your education. This involves accessing the University’s library resources and online materials to enhance your understanding of a topic. The International Year program will guide you and teach you skills like managing your time and workload so that you can successfully navigate the rest of your degree.


Different subjects are assessed in different ways. You may have regular assessments in one course and one final exam for another. Assessment could take the form of essays, coursework, group work, class participation, presentations, exams or a dissertation.


Throughout your studies you will be able to ask your teachers for support with each of your courses. Each teacher has office hours when you can visit them and talk directly or you can usually contact them by email outside of those times.

International Year

Start earning credits towards your degree while improving your English language and being supported as you settle into life in the USA.

Getting Selected by Baylor

Baylor is looking for students who will excel and contribute to the community. With so many applications each year, they only choose the best.

Find out more about starting your studies or check the latest COVID-19 information.