Difference between your home system and the british one

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Universities worldwide serve a major function i.e. to offer higher education to students. Studies show that over half of the top two hundred universities around the world are based in either the USA or the UK. It should be noted that the parallels between these higher education centers are at the peak. However, the university systems in the United States and Britain vary. However, it should also be remembered. This research will concentrate on the gaps between the British and American systems. Differences between the structure of British universities and the system of American universities Length of Time One of the main differences between the two university systems is the length of time taken to complete a degree. In general, degree programs in the US take a year longer than in Britain. Degree programs in the US take an average of four years while the British system recommends and an average of three years. The Masters and Ph.D. programs take an average of two years and five to seven years respectively in the US. On the other hand, Masters and Ph.D. take an average of one year and three years respectively in Britain. The university education takes a more extended period in the US. This can be attributed to the fact that courses are much more focused in Britain than in the US, (Etzkowitz, Henry & Loet, 251)

Academic Term

The academic term is less standardized in the British system than in the US. Most universities start their academic year in mid to late August, and after taking a break in mid-December, they resume for the second semester in early to mid-January. However, there are some universities which operate on a trimester as well as quarter-based programs. Most schools start their academic year in September or October in Britain and end in either May or June. This makes their academic year to be longer than the one for the American university system, (Moore, 24).

University Organization

In the British system, universities are organized according to the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). Universities are made up of colleges, whereby each college is different from the others regarding courses, but the university manages them. The students, live, eat, interact with and study with others who are in their college throughout their university education. Applications for Masters and Ph.D. are made to the specific college while the undergraduate applications are done through a centralized program that allows students to apply to different colleges at once. This means that the students need to have decided on what to study before making an application in the British system, (Hicks, 251).

On the other hand, applications are done to a central university admissions department whereby students take courses from various disciplines. The students get the chance to choose a major at the end of their first year or during their second year. The American university system organizes universities regarding schools or departments which comprise of similar majors, for instance, the School of Business. This gives rise to a difference in the emphasis on education between the two systems, whereby the American system emphasizes on breadth while the British system lays more emphasis on depth. The former refers to getting knowledge from various fields while the latter refers to getting a thorough understanding of a specific discipline, (Ravitch, 201).

Homework and Grades

Due to the nature of the US system whose emphasis is on breadth, students have to undertake regular assignments which in most cases are weekly or biweekly. The assignments are in the form of readings, small writings, oral presentations and research papers which make up a certain percentage of the total grade, (Cohen, 53). However, most universities in the British system are lecture-based, whereby some lecturers give occasional assignment while others don’t give any but assign the grade depending on the final exam.

Cost

The cost of university education in both systems cannot be described as cheap, but the cost of the American university education is more expensive. According to Bruneel (859), British universities charge local students up to £9000 (approximately $14,300) per year. International students are charged a higher amount of fees. The limit for tuition fees are set by the government and the universities set their fees according to the limit provided.

On the other hand, American universities’ tuition fees determined by the type of university, that is if the university is public or private, and the state of the students, that is, in-state or out-of-state. The US government has very little control over the tuition fees charged by the universities. Both countries give students loans through the government at favorable interest rates as a way of helping them to cover their tuition fees.  

Accommodation

Both university systems provide residence halls for the students. However, in the British system most students have their bedroom while in the US most students share bedrooms in pairs. The American system has additional residential options whereby students can choose to reside in or outside of campus, (Ravitch, 66). The dormitories in the British system are self-contained, and in most cases, students enjoy maids’ services at a higher fee. The American universities provide a variety of dining options for the students, (Etzkowitz et al., 313).

Athletics

Both systems provide students with the opportunity to participate in sports. However, the US system has athletic scholarships whereby well-performing students’ university education is catered for by athletic institutions. Athletics are therefore an important social activity among students. On the other hand, the British system supports intramural sports, whereby the students enjoy participating in sports, but there are no athletic scholarships available, (Ravitch, 77).

Types of Degrees Available

The British university system provides more types of degrees than the American University system. Students have the opportunity to pursue the following degrees in the US: Associates, Bachelors. Masters, Ph.D. and a variety of professional and vocational degrees; On the other hand, the British system allows students to pursue a Higher National Diploma, Certificate of Higher Education, Diploma of Higher Education, Foundation Degree, Bachelors, Masters, Ph.D., various professional and vocational degrees, and Postgraduate degrees which are classified as either taught or research degrees, (Cohen, 211).

Drinking

Most universities prohibit students from drinking. This makes students end up holding house parties which are also closely monitored by cops. On the other hand, student rarely holds house parties in the British system due to the small size of the students’ house as well as bad weather. Most parties are therefore held in clubs, (Cangelosi et al., 36)

Meal Plans

The fact that students share rooms in the US university system makes it impossible to have an actual kitchen in the rooms. Students, therefore, get a meal plan in their first year, whereby they access the dining halls for the meals, most of which are in pay as eat basis. The British system students have the privilege to choose catered or self-catered meals. Catered meals are a bit better than canteen meals, but they do have pudding and in most cases do feature custard, (Cole, 23)

University Orientation

In the US, students start their university education with an orientation week. This is whereby most old students engage the new students in activities that are meant to indoctrinate them about the university’s extra curriculum activities while the staff introduces them to the learning schedules. The new students get the chance to interact with old students through parties which in most cases are held according to the dorm floors, (Lerner & Lou, 212) The British system starts with the first year students’ week after which the old students resume. During the first week, the students are engaged in orientation activities, which are mainly spearheaded by the teaching staff and the student leaders, (Briggs, 24)

Conclusion

The two systems are aimed at allowing students to access higher education in the most convenient ways depending on the country features. It is evident that both systems provide high-quality education although they approach the task slightly differently. There are advantages and disadvantages accrued to each system, hence the need for students to understand the systems before choosing where to study in. The overall picture that this study gets from the differences is that the American university system is broad and tends to be more rigorous while the British university system tends to be more narrow, relaxed and in depth. The variety of degrees available in the British system gives the students the chance to pursue what they feel is best for themselves before they join the universities. On the other hand, the US system provides the students with a variety of education from various fields, making it possible for them to fit in different careers.

Works Cited

Briggs, Ann RJ, Jill Clark, and Ian Hall. "Building bridges: understanding student transition to university." Quality in Higher Education 18.1 (2012): 3-21.

Bruneel, Johan, Pablo d’Este, and Ammon Salter. "Investigating the factors that diminish the barriers to university–industry collaboration." Research policy 39.7 (2010): 858-868.

Cangelosi, Angelo, and Domenico Parisi, eds. Simulating the evolution of language. Springer Science & Business Media, 2012.

Cohen, Arthur M. The shaping of American higher education: Emergence and growth of the contemporary system. John Wiley & Sons, 2007.

Cole, Jonathan R. The great American university: Its rise to preeminence, its indispensable national role, why it must be protected. Hachette UK, 2010.

Etzkowitz, Henry, and Loet Leydesdorff. "The dynamics of innovation: from National Systems and “Mode 2” to a Triple Helix of university–industry–government relations." Research policy 29.2 (2000): 109-123.

Etzkowitz, Henry, et al. "The future of the university and the university of the future: evolution of ivory tower to entrepreneurial paradigm." Research policy 29.2 (2000): 313-330.

Hicks, Diana. "Performance-based university research funding systems." Research policy 41.2 (2012): 251-261.

Lerner, Richard M., and Lou Anna K. Simon, eds. University-community collaborations for the twenty-first century: Outreach scholarship for youth and families. Routledge, 2014.

Moore, Michael G., and Greg Kearsley. Distance education: A systems view of online learning. Cengage Learning, 2011.

Ravitch, Diane. The death and life of the great American school system: How testing and choice are undermining education. Basic Books, 2016.

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