Approval by nationally recognized professional associations or regional accrediting bodies.


24 months prior to

        How are U.S. degrees recognized in my country?

A U.S. degree is highly valued in many countries. However, in some countries, particularly those with educational systems that are very different from the United States, U.S. graduate degrees may not be officially recognized or they may be recognized at a different level. Seek guidance from your nearest EducationUSA Advising Center or with the ministry of education or other appropriate authority before you begin your applications.

U.S. higher education is different from many other systems around the world as it is not subject to a central government authority and institutions are free to design curriculum. Regional and national accreditation is given to U.S. colleges and universities to ensure institutional standards. If the school you attend is not properly accredited, you may find that your degree is not recognized in the United States or other countries, or by other universities, professional associations, employ and government ministries and departments. To verify that an institution is properly accredited, visit the Council on Higher Education Accreditation (

For some professions, you must be a graduate of a program with programmatic ac¬creditation in order to practice in a specific field. If you are con¬sidering working in a particular profession, check with the licens¬ing body in your home country or where you intend to practice to determine whether programmatic accreditation is required for practice before enrolling in a de¬gree program. To verify if a program is properly accredited, visit the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors (ASPA) at

In some cases, it is more important to study under a particular faculty member or professor than at a university with a prestigious name. Remember that assistantships and fellowships are often based on the right "match" between student and faculty research interests.


Students with the right set of qualifications, expertise, and global exposure often have better opportunities upon return to their home countries.


Start your research earlymany of these fairs take place in the spring or fall of the year before you intend to begin your studies.


"You can easily get information from everywhere, but knowing how to select the right program can be much harder."


- Germanic languages and literature student from Hungary

"It is difficult to overestimate the help and support I got from the EducationUSA Advising Center. The center was my first and primary source of information about the American educational system. The books, magazines, and internet access at the center proved extremely useful, and the staff assisted me very much in achieving my goals.


- Student from Russia

STEP 1: Define Your Education and Career Goals

To help select the best graduate program for you, first define your education and career goals. Knowing your goals will guide you through the application process and help you in writing application essays. Also, defining your career goals will make it easier to identify the exact qualifications for your chosen career and find out if U.S. credentials are recognized in your home country.


To help define your goals, ask yourself these questions:

        What career do I want to pursue? What advanced degree is required to enter this profession? Is employment available in my country in this field?

Speak to people already working in the field and to representatives of professional associations. EducationUSA Advisers can provide information about the skills, background, and demand for professionals in different fields in your country.


        How will study in the United States enhance my career? Will a graduate degree help me earn a higher salary?

Consult educators, government officials, working professionals, and local labor statistics in your country to learn more about the value of U.S. study, including any increased earning potential. Also consider revalidation or certification requirements for employment in your particular field when you return home. View U.S. statistics on median earnings and unemployment rates.

STEP 3: Make a Short List of Programs

Because of the differences between U.S. graduate programs, you should clearly define your goals to determine the institutions that offer the program you need.


1.     Identify universities that offer your field of study. After you define your education and career goals, your next step is to identify institutions that offer your subject area and any specializations you wish to pursue within that subject area. Finding the right academic "match" can be the key to a successful U.S. graduate experience.

2.     Take advantage of available resources to learn more. University catalogs, general directories about graduate study, professional associations, and college and university websites are great tools to help you learn more about various programs and narrow your choices.

Independent search engines allow you to search for institutions by the subject you are interested in studying, by geographic preference, or by a range of other criteria that you specify.

        National Center for Education StatisticsCollege Navigator

        Peterson's College Search

        The Princeton Review

STEP 4: Decide Where to Apply

Narrow down your list to 10 to 20 accredited institutions that offer your field of study and make a comparison chart to list differences with respect to:

        Research programs and facilities, including libraries and computer facilities.

        Size of department (students and faculty) and size of institution.

        Faculty profiles.

        Accreditation of the institution and, if applicable, the department or program.

        Course and thesis requirements for graduation.

        Length of time required to complete the degree.

        Academic admission requirements, including required test scores, degrees, and undergraduate grade average required.

        Cost of tuition, fees, health insurance, etc.

        Availability of financial assistance.

        Location, housing options, campus setting, climate, and cost of living.

        International student services and other needed services available on campus.

Next, eliminate institutions that you cannot afford, that do not offer financial aid for which you qualify, that do not meet your individual needs, or that have admissions requirements that do not match your qualifications. Develop a final short list of three to seven institutions for which you are qualified for admission, that meet your personal and professional needs, and that you can afford to attend. Also include institutions in your final list that offer financial aid for which you qualify at the level you need.

Attend U.S. higher education fairs in your country to meet admissions officers or faculty members face-to-face. Depending on your personal circumstances, you may also be able to visit colleges or universities in the United States to see for yourself what campus life is really like and meet and speak with faculty members in the areas of study or research of interest to you.

STEP 2: Consult an EducationUSA Advising Center

To find the nearest EducationUSA Advising Center click here. When you contact an EducationUSA Adviser, it would be helpful for you to have answers to basic questions about why you want to pursue a graduate degree in the United States.

Trained EducationUSA Advisers provide information and advice about study in the United States. Advisers are available to assist you in answering questions about:

        Equivalency of the educational system in your country and that of the United States.

        Entry requirements for study in your field.

        Using reference materials to find institutions that are appropriate for you.

        Sources of financial assistance available in your home country and in the United States.

        Testing and other application requirements.

        Preparation of your applications.

        Planning your education.

        Adjusting to academic and cultural life in the United States.

        Using your education after you return to your home country.

3.   Make contacts. Talk to faculty members in your country and individuals who have studied in the United States. They may know

people or have suggestions of universities to consider in the United States. Also, contact universities and other international students in the United States to learn more about programs that interest you.

Graduates of U.S. colleges and universities who have recently returned home are excellent resources for advice about study in the United States.


"A visit to the school you are considering helps a lotwhether during an exchange year, a vacation trip, or a sports contest.

- Theater performance student from Finland

"Talk to other international students who have studied in the United States to learn about the things you won't find in any school brochure."


- Graduate student from Thailand

EdUSA Connects Session The Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA)

Watch It Now>>

EdUSA Connects Session Types of Accreditation: Whats the Difference?  

Watch It Now>>

EdUSA Connects Session Degree Mills and Accreditation Mills

Watch It Now>>

EdUSA Connects SessionSpecialized & Professional Accreditation: What Should I Know?

Watch It Now>>

Choose the Best Graduate Program For You