Studying in America and Canada

2.1 Could You Study In America or Canada?

You need to ask yourself two important questions:

1. Do you have the academic qualifications?

2. Do you have the financing or can you obtain it?

We will help you explore these questions. At this stage, we are helping you make a preliminary decision, before you invest a great deal of effort. It is a threshold test for whether this is an avenue you should explore further.

The first item to note is that, unlike India, colleges in both America and Canada do not impose any age limits. Your age is irrelevant; your qualifications and performance are the relevant factors.


2.1.1 Do you have the academic qualifications?

Academic qualifications are a fundamental part of admissions requirements, but they are not the only requirements. Other requirements can be met with some effort in a limited timeframe, but fulfilling the basic academic qualifications is the most demanding and time consuming and thus the greatest hurdle.

You should note that Law and Medicine programs exist only at the graduate level both in America and Canada.

Undergraduate Studies

Just as in India, the minimum academic requirement is Grade 12 from high school for both America and Canada. Your successful completion of the 10+2 is sufficient. The undergraduate program is theoretically 4 years in duration. Given the flexible structure of programs, one can complete the program in a somewhat shorter or longer duration, depending on what course-load one chooses to undertake and what one does during the summer sessions.

Graduate Studies

Students completing the Bachelorís degree in America and Canada have had 4 years of college education, beyond the Grade 12 of high school. The minimum academic qualification to enter a Masterís program is thus stated as a Bachelorís degree that is equivalent to the American or Canadian degree. This simply means that you must have at least 4 years of college education with at least a Bachelorís degree to apply for a Masterís program in America or Canada.

Unless your Bachelorís program in India was 4 years in duration Ė such as in engineering - you are required to have completed at least the first years of a Masterís degree from India for entering a Masterís program. However, the requirement for academic qualifications is college-specific, and not universal. Some colleges even require that you must have completed the entire Masterís program from India, if your Bachelorís degree were of 3-year duration. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. There is no way to get around this fundamental requirement for admission, so just work with it!

One important note. Typically, your college education should be in degree-granting programs from traditional colleges. The ever-popular correspondence or distance education in India is not looked upon kindly. Diploma programs are not considered relevant to fulfilling the academic qualifications. Thus, the requirement is not just 4 years of post high school education, but a specific type of 4-year college education.

Generally speaking, the only Doctoral programs you can directly enter in America or Canada from India are in Engineering, if you have a Masterís in the same or related specialization. However, the situation is college-specific.

If you have the academic qualification, you fulfill the most demanding of admission requirements.

A note on studying Law. A simple and straightforward suggestion: Do not study law abroad. Laws vary from state to state and even from city to city within the same state, let alone across countries. You should study law in the country where you wish to practice the legal profession. As an international student in the US and Canada, you are expected to return to your home country after completion of your studies. It is true that you can obtain authorization to stay in the new country with the hope of never returning to India, but it is not probable. You need an employer to sponsor you for employment authorization, which is unlikely because employers can easily select from many good, legal permanent residents or citizens.

A Note on studying Medicine. A minuscule number of international students are admitted into medicine. Some schools do not even admit out-of-state students, let alone admitting out-of-country students. Virtually no financial aid is offered to international students. The first degree in Medicine in America and Canada is the MD (Doctor of Medicine). Local students enter the MD program after completing a Bachelorís degree in any discipline, provided they have met certain requirement for courses in sciences. Thus, you require a Masterís degree from India in any field, provided you have met the requirements for courses in sciences, to enter the 4-year MD program. You can go to America for your specialization, referred to as residency. It is a combination of education and employment program. You must have completed the MBBS program from India.

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