Higher Education System in the UK and the US

Higher Education System in the UK and the US
Higher Education System in the UK and the US

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Higher Education System in the UK and the US


Education systems in the United States and in the United Kingdom have certain differences and similarities. The similarities and differences can be traced when tertiary education is examined. The goal of any institution of higher learning is to produce excellent and brilliant scholars who would transform the societies. Lindberg (2009, p.345) argues both education systems foster quality.

Education facilities of both countries are superficial to facilitate learning. The other notable similarity between the two countries is that their institutions of higher learning promote intellectualism and academic freedom. However, notable differences are observed between the education systems of the countries.

One of the differences occurs in terms of the time taken to graduate from the institutions of higher learning. In the United Kingdom, a bachelor degree mostly takes a period of 3 years, except in Scotland where it takes 4years. In the United States, the period to acquire a bachelor degree can take 4years. However, both systems share a similarity in that a graduate can go for the PhD program after coming out of the undergraduate level (Lewis, Lyons, Jarvis & Baillargeon 2015, p.14).

Nevertheless, in the United Kingdom, it is encouraged for one to take master before proceeding to PhD. Still on the same line, courses of study usually consume shorter period in the United Kingdom than in the United States. This is apparent because education system in the United Kingdom is more focused than that of the United States.

University organization

Universities in the United Kingdom usually have colleges that are oriented toward a particular subject matter. Each college establishes some sense of autonomy from the mainstream. However, in the United States, students apply to the central university admission unit. In the United Kingdom, the student applies directly to the college of the unit/subject of study (Loeber & Higson 2009, p.513).

Therefore, a scenario that is drawn is that students know what to study before applying. In the US, the student is not aware of the subject before applying for it. A student is introduced to many units for the first and second years. From here, the student is supposed to declare a major. For instance, a student pursuing Bachelor of Arts in the United States must experience a number of related majors.

Observably, a student is supposed to take classes outside the majors that are known as ‘electives’ (Moodie 2015, p.5). Therefore, it can be declared that in the United States the general emphasis of higher education majorly focus on gaining knowledge from a variety of varied subjects. However, in the United Kingdom, the focus changes since acquisition of knowledge is focused through understanding of the selected subject.

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Grades and homework

Since education system in the United States requires one to attend to various majors, other assignments are needed to compliment the weekly readings. The additional assignments include oral presentations, writing projects, and writing research articles (Pickard 2014, p.6). The additional assignments are done throughout the course. However, this situation is not experienced in the United States since most universities and colleges are lecture-grounded.

The students are subjected to infrequent assignments throughout the semester. In another dimension, the entire grade may be based on one ultimate test (Proper 2009, p.150) However, in the United States, the final test does not account much of the grades. In fact, it makes up only a percentage (30) of the total grade. In emphasis, the final grade is based on the performance on the number of assignments done during the course.

Cost of education

The cost of education in the United States is relatively higher. It is the role of the institution in the US to dictate the tuition fees for students. However, in the United Kingdom, the cost of tertiary education is a bit cheaper. The UK government sets the limit for tuition fee, which is followed by the latter by each individual school. In simpler terms, the US government has comparatively low control over what the institutions of higher learning charge.

The government soles differentiates between out-of-state and in-state tuition fees (Silver 2009, p.8). There is the presence of a third party lender when funding the institutions of higher learning in the United States. The United Kingdom government subsidizes funding of student tuition fees. This makes the tuition fee to become cheaper in this education setting. In social matters, the education program in the United States does not include the concepts of social life such as athletic scholarships. In the United Kingdom, athletic scholarships are available to include social phenomena in the education system.

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Based on the above comparison, it can be said that learning in the universities in the United States is preferable. There are many differences in the two educational systems than similarities. This is because the education system facilitates serious learning. The consistent assignments throughout the course ensure that the students get a comprehensive understanding of the concepts. Quality in this case can be mirrored through the time taken to finish the course.

Reference List

Lewis, Z, Lyons, E, Jarvis, J, & Baillargeon, J 2015, ‘Using an electronic activity monitor system as an intervention modality: A systematic review’, BMC Public Health, 15, 1, pp. 1-15, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 March 2016.

Lindberg, ME 2009, ‘Student and early career mobility patterns among highly educated    people in Germany, Finland, Italy, and the United Kingdom’, Higher Education, 58, 3, pp. 339-358, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 March 2016.

Loeber, S, & Higson, H 2009, ‘Motivation to Study in Higher Education: A Comparison   between Germany and Great Britain‘, Higher Education In Europe, 34, 3/4, pp. 511-521, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 March 2016.

Moodie, G 2015 , ‘How Different Are Higher Education Institutions in the UK, US and   Australia? The Significance of Government Involvement’, Higher Education Quarterly, 69, 1, pp. 3-36, Academic Search Premier, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 March 2016.

Pickard, S 2014. Higher education in the UK and the US: converging university models in a global academic world? Leiden, Brill.

Proper, E 2009, ‘Bringing educational fundraising back to Great Britain: A comparison with the United States’, Journal Of Higher Education Policy & Management, 31, 2, pp. 149-159, Business Source Complete, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 March 2016.

Silver, H 2009, ‘Martin Trow on British higher education’, Studies In Higher Education, 34, 7, pp. 751-763, Professional Development Collection, EBSCOhost, viewed 28 March 2016.

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