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I studied abroad to gain knowledge and insight into American culture...
Meet Elizabeth Davies
at University of Connecticut
Short-term programmes allow students the flexibility to fit study in the US around their coursework in the UK. Many UK universities offer “sandwich course” options that allow students to study abroad during the second or third year of a four year course.
In addition to offering a taster, short-term programmes may also be a good option for students with limited financial resources. Current UK university students studying abroad for a full year are charged at most 15% of their normal tuition fee, which is usually far less than the rate of tuition that would be charged to a US student at that university.
There are two ways to complete short-term study in the US at the undergraduate level:
• participate in a programme coordinated by your UK university
• apply directly to US universities as a non-degree seeking or visiting student
Many UK universities have established exchange programmes with American universities or US-based study abroad programmes. Under this type of arrangement, you may directly change places with a US student who will study at your home institution in the UK while you are in the USA.
Choosing a university-sponsored programme can often be a more streamlined and simpler option than enrolling directly yourself. Your UK university will have already worked out details about how your credits will transfer upon return and will have a variety of US programmes to choose from. A listing of UK universities that offer exchanges to North America can also be found on the British Universities Transatlantic Exchange Association (BUTEX) website.
Students going abroad for just a semester get no fee reduction, and will pay the full £9,000 (or whatever their full fee is) for the year. Home/EU students going abroad for a full year are charged at most 15% of their normal tuition fee. Further, you will be able to apply your UK government loan and likely your UK-based grants/bursaries to cover costs of the programme in the USA.
You may also wish to investigate external funding bodies such as BUTEX and BAAS and private loans. If funding is a significant restricting factor, speak to the advisors at your UK university and at the American exchange university to see if they have any additional information on available scholarships.
For more information about university-sponsored programmes, contact your university’s international office, study abroad office or academic department.
If your UK university does not sponsor exchange programmes in the US or if you are not currently enrolled at a university, it is possible to apply directly to US universities to attend under non-degree seeking or visiting student status. Under these arrangements, you may be able to complete degree-level coursework and have access to university and department facilities, similar to that of degree-seeking students. Therefore, applying for non-degree seeking or visiting student status can be a good option for students wishing to complete a gap year or short-term research project in the US.
As a non-degree seeking or visiting student, you will likely pay similar tuition and fees as full-time, degree-seeking students. You will likely be unable to apply your UK government student loan or grant to cover costs of the programme, as you will pay tuition and fees directly to the US institution or programme. You may also wish to investigate external funding bodies such as BUTEX and BASS and private loans.
To begin researching universities and choosing a programme, you may wish to read the choosing a university section of this website. Once you have selected universities, you should contact their admissions office to determine whether it is possible to apply to study on a short-term basis as a visiting student and if so, what the admissions criteria and application procedures will be.
To apply, you may be asked to submit a transcript, essay, recommendation letter(s) and/or plan of study. For more information on completing an application, please see the application process section of this website.
If you are travelling to the US for any purpose aside from personal travel, you will need to secure an appropriate visa. The most common visa categories for short-term programmes are the F-1 Student Visa and J-1 Student Visa. For more information, please see the page on visas for US study.
Our staff is not trained to handle specific enquiries related to visas in the US. For specific enquiries, information is available on the US Embassy in London website. Alternatively, you may call the US Embassy at 020 3608 6998 (Operator Assisted £1.20/minute) between the hours of 7 am - 7 pm Monday - Friday.