Comparing the European and American University Models

Undergraduate degree’s in Europe and American have differed greatly for years. To understand the difference in the University process and education, its important to understand the entry requirements first.

In the USA it is GPA or Grade Point Average that will determine whether a student gets into a much coveted Ivy League school or not. Anything above a 3.5 and preferably a GPA of 4.0 usually means, scholarships are en route, and the choice of University is wide open.

In Great Britain, it is the A levels that matter. Often a student will have 3-5 A levels, and a top University would accept nothing less than final marks of two A’s and one B. That said, a student in Canada cannot even achieve this level of education in High School unless they are lucky enough to take an International Baccalaureate in Grade 12. Generally speaking, a Canadian Academic Grade 12 Education, is akin to a couple of good British GCSE’s or ‘O’ levels.

An American University Degree is four years for a Bachelor’s degree. The degree will include the area of specialization i.e Business or Journalism and have a number of elective courses that must be taken, that have no area of relevance to the major. In short, American Universities, and Canadian ones who often model after them, believe in a well rounded educational experience.

The concept of the two year Associates Degree is now spilling over into Canada. Canadian Universities, especially on the West Coast are now beginning to embrace the two year degree, in an attempt to recruit more students, being lost to more versatile US post secondary education.

In Europe a Bachelor degree is three years or four years for an honours degree. Here, degree’s are highly specialized and the concept of taking unrelated elective credits is unheard of. Your final examination results will determine whether or not you will be admitted to an advanced or Master’s degree program, while in the US big bucks are made from letting almost anyone with a degree and money into a post graduate degree.