Graduate Vs. Undergraduate Studies: A comparison

For many looking to becoming a graduate, the question is, which college can work out to be the best? The United States still continue to be one of the best places for students all over the world to visit. With universities that are ranked among the top in the world, United States offers some of the best opportunities for all graduate and undergraduate students.

Differences between Graduate and Undergraduate studies

The term undergraduate or undergrad is referred to students who pursue their bachelor's degree at any recognized college or university which usually lasts 4 years. Also, candidates who pursue 2-year associate programs at colleges, community colleges or vocational/technical schools are also referred to as undergrads. While the term graduate is meant for students, who are pursuing master's degrees or graduate degrees in 1-6 year graduate school programs. These courses conclude within 2 years (typically 1.5-2 yrs, sometimes more depending on thesis, etc.).

The concepts can often be confusing due to the terminologies being used differently in other countries across the world. What is known as undergraduate studies in the United States is known as graduate studies in all other countries and students who are deemed to be graduates in the United States are known to be post-graduates in other countries.


For pursuing graduate degrees, students need to have a bachelor's degree and their GRE test scores along with other additional requirements including letters of recommendation which may be optional, transcripts, FAFSA and other financial aid documents. While undergraduate degrees require students to have completed their high school diploma and apply with their SAT or ACT scores. In some cases, TOEFL scores might also be required. Other than these you might need to apply using TOEFL scores, FAFSA, and other financial aid documents.

Tuition Fee

Most graduate programs cost upwards of $30,000 at public colleges or universities while private universities might charge upwards of $40,000. Undergraduate programs cost approximately $3,000 for Associate programs and $9,500 (in-state) and ~20,000 (out of state) for any 4-year degree at public institutions (it can be a lot more depending on College/University). Degrees (4 years) may cost upwards of $32,000 at private colleges.


The coursework at Graduate programs includes 4 courses that allow students to earn 12 credits every semester or trimester depending on the college or university while undergraduate programs include 5-7 courses every semester or trimester that may include anything between 15 to 21 credits. Many colleges require you to have a GPA of 3.0/4 for admission to graduate school (or its equivalent for international students).

These concepts can be very confusing, and whenever you are looking for colleges, you need to ensure you check all the fine details involved. Considering the vast differences among the two you need be aware of all the nuances among graduate and undergraduate degrees. Most students who come to the United States from other countries have a harder time grasping the differences in the education system and should talk to an education expert before applying for any course. The method of preparation for both these types of institutes is also different, and you need to have in-depth knowledge if you want to apply to graduate programs, and generally, graduate programs are of a higher caliber than the undergraduate programs. You also need to have a better range of skills when it comes to research and applied knowledge.


During your degree, you can pursue an internship which can be paid or unpaid. For international students, extra paperwork is required (there are some limitations on duration, please check our visa section for details). These internship programs are really important to build your career as it helps you to gain real work experience and in many cases, the employer may offer you a fulltime job!

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