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UG, Masters & PhD

UG – Undergraduate Degree

Masters – Masters of a particular subject

PhD – Doctor of Philosophy

What are these three degrees mentioned above, and which one best suits your international education?

Our experience over the years made us realise why so many international students prefer a global masters and PhD degree over an international undergraduate degree.

Here are a few reasons:

  1. An international undergraduate degree costs a lot of money. If you are from a south Asian country (i.e. India, Nepal, Sri Lanka) or an Asian country such as Thailand, Singapore, China, an undergraduate degree will cost you a lot of money owing to the currency conversion. Some universities in the U.S can cost over $100,000 ~ INR 75,00,000. Very few students get an undergraduate degree with a fee exemption along with assistantships and part-time jobs. However, this population is not as high as the paying population.
  2. A Masters degree is a fast-track course. It takes over a year or two to finish one. The investment is 1/2 or 1/4 of what you would ideally spend in a full-time undergraduate degree and you automatically become more valuable to the companies if you just look at the degree.
  3. PhDs are a different ball game altogether. They are entirely funded by the department of a university or the professor who chooses you as a research assistant in their team. PhD is a long term commitment and can last up to 5-6 years. What’s the upside? You are doing the work you like to do!

Here are some of the Pros & Cons of each degree while studying in the U.S.:

Undergraduate 👨‍🎓

ProsCons
Study in an international environment among the top brains and best professors.Could be expensive as few fewer scholarships are available for international students.
Immense opportunities for research & startup.Personal issues such as loneliness, depression & homesickness. Difficulty with adjusting into a new community/culture.
A holistic education helps you develop in all aspects and not just academics.International undergraduates are less preferred in long term work visa i.e. H1B.
The flexibility to be able to take up a course and the subject of study even after the initial 2 years, which is quite contrary to the rigid education model in India and other countries.
Excitement; You are 18, in a new country and it’s the United States. This will be your best college experience ever.

Masters 👨‍🎓

ProsCons
Cheaper as your education duration is 1-2 years.The job market can be fluctuating depending upon recession or presidential candidates.
Faster & higher returns on investment.Problems of fitting into a new environment. Lesser time to adapt to the American culture, making it difficult to stand out in career fairs and interviews.
A lot of companies prefer masters student over undergraduates in career fair & interviews.
Higher chances of long term work visa i.e. H1B

PhD 🎓

ProsCons
Fully funded education. The university or the professor will fund your education along with a stipend of ‘x’ dollar/month depending upon the city.The stipend is lower than what you would be making in the industry. It could be as low as $1800/month which might seem a lot of money but isn’t if you do have a family to support.
Best research facilities with an incredible amount of resources.PhDs can take a long time depending on your research and the faculty you are working with. It could take anywhere between 3-6 years.
Gets easier to get a green card in the United States as compared to another education visa.Sometimes the companies feel like you are overqualified for a job position which makes hiring difficult. This stands true for a few industries but not all.

P.S. This pros and cons list does not hold for every university, this is a generalised list. For example, an undergraduate degree in a US-based university is one of the best things which can happen to a student. The exposure and opportunities it opens up are amazing. Even though a masters degree is the best ROI as compared to UG and PhDs, there is a high risk associated with it as there is lesser time for students to get used to the American system of doing things, which makes adjusting and getting a job very difficult.