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UK or USA - a tough choice?

Confused between the UK and the USA? Don’t worry! You are not alone. Since you have to choose between two of the most famous study abroad destinations, it is important that you know all about them. Understanding the different aspects of the two countries will help you narrow down your choice and decide on where to go.

Let’s look at both the countries from a broader window and grab on the key decision-making factors.


  • The USA has continental climate ranging between 32℃ in summers to subzero temperatures in winters. The USA is a huge country comprising 50 states and you can experience different weather conditions in its sub-states.
  • Similarly, the UK, being an island country experiences rain throughout the year and also has varied weather conditions with an average temperature ranging between subzero with snowfall in winters to 21℃ in summers.

Education System

  • In the USA, the master’s courses are mostly of two-years duration (very few are of one-year duration). The courses are focused on making the student more independent and involve continuous evaluation. Moreover, the USA master’s courses are divided into two categories - Academic and Professional. Academic courses focus on the broad subject areas while the professional courses like Law and MBA help inculcate vocational skills and provide technical training for particular professional careers.
  • In the UK, the master’s courses are usually of one-year duration with six months to one year of compulsory internship or practical training, depending upon the course you choose. The courses are more focused and are completed in a short span of time. These courses are similar to academic courses in the USA.

Famous Universities

According to the QS World University Rankings 2020, the USA has 13 of the world’s top 25 universities while the UK has 5 universities in the top 25 list.


  • If you are planning to study in the USA, you will find the best courses in the fields of STEM - science, technology, engineering and mathematics as well as business & management studies, medicine, social and life sciences, psychology, international relations etc.
  • If you are planning to study in the UK, you will find the best courses in the fields of business studies, banking, accounting and finance, law, politics, economics, art & design, computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, hospitality and tourism, sports science, medical and biological sciences.

Tuition Fees

The tuition fee may vary based on the course and university of your choice.

  • The average tuition fees for masters in the USA ranges between $30,000 to $60,000 (approximately INR 20 - 40 lakhs) based on the academic master’s degrees and professional master’s degrees.
  • The average tuition fees for masters in the UK is ranges between £10,000 to £33,500 (approximately INR 10 - 30 lakhs) for a one-year full-time course.

Cost of Living

Cost of living depends upon the type of accommodation you choose, your expenditure on food, travel, daily expenses, stationery and recreational activities etc. You may need to show proof of liquid assets to fund your study and stay for both the UK and the USA.

  • The average cost of living in the USA adds up to $12,000 (approximately INR 8.5 lakhs).
  • The average cost of living in the UK adds up to £10,000 (approximately INR 9 lakhs).

Admission requirements

For admission into a university in the USA, you need -

  • Bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 60% marks.
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP).
  • 2 - 3 Letters of Recommendation (LORs).
  • English Language Proficiency Test Score (IELTS or TOEFL).
  • Graduate Admission Test Score (GRE or GMAT).
  • Related work experience if applying for an MBA.

For admission into a university in the UK, you need -

  • Three or four years bachelor’s degree with a minimum of 60% marks from a deemed university (4 years for engineering courses and 3 years for other courses).
  • Statement of Purpose (SOP).
  • 2 - 3 Letters of Recommendation (LORs).
  • English Language Proficiency Test Score (IELTS).
  • GMAT score for MBA (some ask for GRE score).

These requirements may vary from university to university. Don’t forget to check the individual university and course requirements before applying. You can always rely on our student support team for assistance.

VISA Process

To study in the USA, you need to have an F-1 Visa. In order to apply for a US Student F-1 Visa, you need the following -

  • An admission letter (SEVIS I-20) for a full-time program like MBA, MS etc. in a SEVP approved university which provides I-20 form (accepting international students).
  • Proof that you can financially support your education and stay in the US (tuition fee waivers, scholarship grants, personal bank statements, loan approval letters, fixed deposit proofs etc).
  • A Machine Readable Visa (MRV) Fee of $160 (approximately 11,500 INR ) along with a completed DS-160 form.

Please note that -

  • You can apply for an F-1 visa within 120 days before your course begins but you can only enter the USA within 30 days before your course begins.
  • With F1-Visa, you will be eligible for opening a bank account, getting a driving license, and travel in and out of the US anytime without any restrictions.
  • If your spouse/children below 21 years of age are travelling with you, they need an F-2 Visa but they will not be allowed to work in the USA.
  • F-1 Visa holders cannot work off-campus but can work for 20 hours/week and 40 hours/week during the holidays in on-campus jobs.

To study in the UK, you need to have a Tier-4 General Student Visa for your full-time course. You need the following for the visa process -

  • A Confirmation of Acceptance of Studies (CAS) letter from the university.
  • An application fee of £348 (approximately ₹32,500 INR) along with the completed visa application form.
  • Your tuberculosis test report from approved medical test centres.

Please note that -

  • You can apply for this visa 3 months before the start of your course.
  • After the personal interview is successfully done, you will be given a sticker called vignette which will be valid for 30 days during which you will need to move to the UK and then your passport will be stamped at the airport by immigration check officer.
  • You will also get a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) within 10 days of your arrival in the UK, which can be collected from your university or a designated post office.
    You can work for 20 hours/week and 40 hours/week during holidays as per the terms and conditions of your visa.

Post Study Work Permit

  • USA - As an F-1 visa holder, you can apply for Optional Practical Training (OPT) after the completion of your studies which will allow you to stay in the USA for 1 year. If you have studied a STEM certified program, an OPT extension of 24 months can be obtained. That means, post your study, you can work for up to 3 years with your F-1 visa itself
  • UK - As per the recent statement released by the UK government, students enrolling in UK universities from the year 2020/21 will be allowed to work post-study for 2 years in the country.

Permanent Residency Opportunities

  • USA - If you are a student with an F-1 visa, you can not directly apply for permanent residency (commonly known as a green card) in the USA. In case, you manage to get a job where your employer files a petition on your behalf and your visa status is changed to H-1B, only then you can apply for a green card.
  • UK- It takes a lot of patience and hard work with a strategic plan to get permanent residency (Indefinite Leave to Remain, ILR) in the UK. You need to have an experience of at-least 5 years along with a stable full-time job with a good income and good moral conduct with no criminal record. After a year of getting ILR, you can apply for British Citizenship.

Now that you have an idea about both the countries and their related requirements, you can make an informed choice on your university & course preference as well as future goals.

You can contact us if you need any other information.

For all those SMART Ubergrads who would let the experts do what they do the best!

Ubergrad.com is a D-I-Y (Do-It-Yourself) study abroad platform that is democratizing the way students APPLY and ENROLL at top universities overseas for graduate studies. You don't need to go to any person/agency for help. You can do it all by yourself from the comfort of your home !!

  • PREPARE - You can prepare and ace the mandatory tests like GRE, IELTS, etc. using our AI-enabled personalized adaptive learning platform and mock tests, at your own pace and comfort.
  • CHECK - Using our proprietary advanced Data Science-backed Machine Learning algorithms (U-SURE & U-SURE PRO), you can get best-fit courses and universities based on your profile parameters - CGPA, Bachelor's degree, Test scores, etc (up to 42 parameters).
  • SEARCH - You can then research these universities and get all the required information/data like required test scores, GPA, tuition fees, global and national rankings, WES evaluation, scholarships, etc., all in one place.
  • SELECT - Using our advanced filters like Tuition Fees, GRE Waiver, Duolingo acceptance, etc., you can shortlist and finalize the universities you want to apply to.
  • APPLY & ENROLL - You can apply to the universities finalized by using our step-by-step self-help resources (guides, videos, blogs, etc.) along with unique samples for SOPs, LORs, Transcripts, University Sample Applications, Admit Letters, Financial Documents, I20/COA/CAS, etc. You will also be getting WhatsApp/Email alerts to track the progress all along the process when you use our proprietary 'Application Tracking' feature.
  • VISA - Now that you have your I-20/CAS/COA, you can find step-by-step resources (guides, videos, blogs, etc.) along with samples for Visa Documents (DS-160 filling), etc as well as mock-visa drills to complete the most critical step of the entire process.
  • TRAVEL - You can find options/resources to book your flight tickets, buy forex/forex cards, international SIM cards, pay tuition fees, etc., all on our website.

In case, you need help at any stage of the process – from ‘shortlisting’ universities to finally ‘enrolling’ at your chosen university abroad, Ubergrad's Expert Counsellors are always available and are just a phone call away (Book a call by clicking on "Talk to Ubergrad Counsellor" button).