How does American University work? Watch

iamnotme
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Hi,

I'm interested in applying to university in America but I'm a bit confused about how it works. Obviously in the UK you apply for a specific course but I think that's not the case in the US...? The one I'd most like to apply for is NYU.

I understand that you pick a major, can you pick it at any point? (e.g. straight after you get there). Once you have picked your major, do you have to have a minor as well? And do you have to take classes outside your major?

Thanks
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apple32
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Hi,

To answer your question, applying in the US is slightly different than the process is in the UK. Although the differences are pretty big, if that makes sense. If you are just applying to one university (NYU), then go straight to their website and follow the directions for international students. If you are entering as a first year student, read those directions.

In the US, you are not required to declare your major immediately. If you don't know what you want to study, your major will be "undeclared." You have until your sophomore year (second year) to figure out what you want to study. If you know what you want to study, go ahead and fill that in on the application. It is also possible to major in one area (double or triple major). This is to say, for example, English and Art History. How does this differ from a minor? The number of required courses will be more for a major. So if you are interested in English and have an interest in French, as well, but you don't want to study it extensively, you would minor in French. Declaring a minor or a second major, is optional. You are only required to major in one area. Keep in mind, adding a second major or a minor in another subject will take you a little bit longer to graduate.

Regarding your major, it is also possible to change it at anytime. Some students in the US do end up changing their majors, sometimes more than once. However, this will push your graduation back.

Regarding the types of courses you take, that is the other big difference between US and UK. In the US, you will take courses in general education (math, sciences, humanities, history, foreign language, etc) and courses for your major. Your schedule will look like this:

First year: * Courses selected from general ed. requirements
* If you have declared your major, lower division courses for your major

2nd year: same as first year

3rd year: in general, you would have finished all your general ed. courses and lower division requirements for your major.

* upper division courses for your major.

4th year: Yes. Here is the other big difference: It takes 4 years to get a Bachelors degree in the US.

* same as above.

If you are undeclared upon starting your first year, you will have to take classes in different subjects in addition to the general ed courses, that will hopefully help you determine what you want to major in by the time you are required to declare a major.

Hope that helps.
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Tajel
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Changing your major doesn't necessarily push your graduation back. That depends how many credits you still need in your new subject. But most schools will list courses in different areas so they might count towards a new major. For example, a course on the history of commerce might count as fulfilling a requirement in history and in economics, so if you were to switch majors between those two subjects you wouldn't lose any ground.
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rukayya.waghat
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So say you wanted to do something really specific like dentistry or law, would you have to do the four years of general ed classes first and then go to a specialist school (i.e. dentistry/law school) after you graduate or is it like the UK where you go to a specialist school from day one?
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Princepieman
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(Original post by rukayya.waghat)
So say you wanted to do something really specific like dentistry or law, would you have to do the four years of general ed classes first and then go to a specialist school (i.e. dentistry/law school) after you graduate or is it like the UK where you go to a specialist school from day one?
The former but it's not 'general ed' you get a bachelor's degree in something.

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Tajel
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(Original post by rukayya.waghat)
So say you wanted to do something really specific like dentistry or law, would you have to do the four years of general ed classes first and then go to a specialist school (i.e. dentistry/law school) after you graduate or is it like the UK where you go to a specialist school from day one?
Yes -- those are graduate degrees in the US. You are required to have a bachelor's degree before attending such schools. The BA/BS can be in pretty much anything, though Pre-Med is often the choice for those planning to attend Med School.
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rukayya.waghat
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(Original post by Princepieman)
The former but it's not 'general ed' you get a bachelor's degree in something.

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Would your degree have to be related to what you want to specialise in? And goodness gracious! Doesn't it take really long to start working in the field of your choice if you're doing a 4 year degree and then grad school on top of that?
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Tajel
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Not necessarily. You can major in history or theater studies or whatever, then go to law school...

To your second question: Yes.
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rukayya.waghat
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Cool, thanks for that!
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