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The US Education System has two vital elements which enable graduation from the most elite universities.

All students on a 4-year degree program study similar general courses for the first two years. They don’t specialize until year 3 when they declare their major.
The US Transfer System means credits gained in years 1 – 2 can easily be transferred from one university to another.

4-year undergraduate degree

A typical undergraduate bachelor’s degree takes four years.

Year 1: Freshman Year

Year 2: Sophomore Year

Year 3: Junior Year

Year 4: Senior Year

The degree usually comprises 120-128 semester credit hours. 60 of these credits can usually be transferred from one university to another.

B.A. degrees (Bachelor of Arts degrees) focus on courses in social sciences, humanities or fine arts.

B.S. degrees (Bachelor of Science degrees) focus on courses in life, physical or mathematical sciences.

Specialized bachelor’s degrees also include:

  • Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.)
  • Bachelor of Fine Arts (B.F.A.)
  • Bachelor of Design (B.Des.)
  • Bachelor of Architecture Degree (B.Arch.)
  • Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs (B.S.P.A)
  • Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.)
  • Bachelor of Philosophy (B.Phil.)

Liberal Arts curriculum 

During the Freshman and Sophomore years (1 and 2) the curriculum of most undergraduate programs is based on a “liberal arts” philosophy.

This means all students follow a broad range of courses and subjects. It gives a broad foundation to their education.

These general education courses include English composition, social sciences, humanities, history, mathematics and natural or physical sciences.

Declaring a Major

After meeting core curriculum requirements, students choose a specific field of study by declaring their major. This is done before the start of the Junior Year (Year 3).

You should choose a Major in the subject area which interests you most, or in which you are academically strongest.

You should also think about how it will benefit the career you want after graduation.

Help with choosing your Major.

We can help you decide on your Major. Our advisors on campus can work directly with you. You can also have a look at our Guide to Majors.

You will spend your final two years (Junior and Senior) taking more courses that are related to your major.

You will also be preparing for your chosen specialized professional area – for example pharmacy, engineering, business or fine arts.

Law and Medicine

In the US, you cannot complete a stand-alone undergraduate degree in law or medicine.

Instead, these degrees are completed as professional study after completing a general bachelor’s degree.

Medical schools have set prerequisite courses that must be taken before enrollment.

Students on an undergraduate program who are preparing for medical school are known as pre-med.


Undergraduate degrees in Engineering typically take 5 years.

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The Kings Admissions Team