United States of America

Undergraduate and Graduate Study

The first step to undergraduate and graduate study in the United States is to find a college or university that best fits your needs.  A bachelor’s degree is usually completed in four years of full-time study. As in South Africa, the two main graduate degrees in the United States are the master’s degree and the doctoral degree. Both degrees involve a combination of research and coursework. Many universities offer partial or full bursaries to international students based on merit or sporting accomplishments.

Community Colleges

Community colleges offer two-year programs leading to the Associate of Arts (AA) or Associate of Science (AS) degree.

Undergraduate students can earn academic credit towards a bachelor’s degree and at a lower overall cost of a bachelor’s degree. In a “2+2 process,” you can earn a bachelor’s degree with two years of community college, followed by two years of university study.

The small size of classes at community colleges can assist international students to adjust to United States academic life and practice their English-language skills.

Community colleges offer a variety of support services many designed specifically for international students.

Fulbright Program

The primary goal of the Fulbright Program is to increase mutual understanding between the people of the US and the people of South Africa through educational exchanges.

The program provides grants for South African university graduates to pursue a Master’s or Doctoral degree at a United States university in any subject (excludes studies that require contact with patients).  Grants are awarded for two years towards one degree – Master’s or Doctorate (renewable each year).  Students are selected through a rigorous application and interview process and receive a high level of support ranging from visa processing and health insurance to a comprehensive pre-departure orientation and re-entry session.

Information about the program, and the link to the application, can be found here:  https://za.usembassy.gov/education-culture/educational-exchanges/fulbright-flagship-programs/.


Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant (FLTA) Program: Teach isiZulu in the United States: https://za.usembassy.gov/education-culture/educational-exchanges/teachers/   

The Fulbright FLTA Program is a nine-month, State Department-funded, non-degree program for early career English teachers or professionals in related fields (e.g., American Studies, American/English Literature, etc.).  Participants can refine their teaching skills, increase their English language proficiency, and extend their knowledge of the society and culture of the United States; they will be engaged as teaching assistants in Zulu classrooms for U.S. university students, thereby strengthening foreign language instruction and spreading awareness of South African culture in the United States.  Fulbright FLTA participants also interact with their host communities in conversation groups, extracurricular activities, and community outreach projects. 

Short-Term Study Programmes

Several short-term study programmes lasting 12 months or less are offered by universities and other organisations. The United States Department of State’s J-1 Visa Exchange Visitor Programme offers multifaceted opportunities to teach, study, conduct research, demonstrate special skills, or receive on-the-job training

English Studies

The United States is a popular destination for international students interested in learning English or improving their English skills.


If you excel in sports and would like to be a university student athlete in the U.S. go to http://www.ncaa.org/student-athletes

Youth Leadership Program (YLP)

This provides secondary school students a three-week opportunity in the U.S. to participate in workshops, community service activities, team-building exercises, home-stays with American host families, meetings with community leaders, and a wide range of leadership development activities.

Kennedy-Lugar Youth Exchange and Study (YES) Program

Provides scholarships to high school students to spend up to one academic year in the United States. Students live with host families, attend high school, engage in activities to learn about U.S. society and values, and educate others about their home countries and cultures.

Online learning

Online learning or distance education is a great way to experience the United States education system.  A variety of full-time degree programmes at undergraduate and graduate levels as well as individual courses are offered. There many Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) available that are usually tuition-free, but in most cases do not offer credit. 


EducationUSA is a free service supported by the U.S. State Department and has 425 centres in 175 countries, including Durban, Johannesburg and Cape Town.  There are currently 1.08 million international students studying in the United States of America, with 37 735 from sub-Saharan Africa and 1911 students from South Africa.  

EducationUSA South African alumni have attended various universities that include Columbia, Cornell, Duke, Drexel, Harvard, Johnson & Wales, Lynn, MIT, NYU, Ohio Wesleyan, Pace, San Mateo County Community Colleges, Smith, Stanford, University of California campuses, University of Chicago, University of Denver, University of Michigan, University of Pennsylvania, Vanderbilt, Wagner, Wesleyan, Whitworth, Yale and many more. 

http://EducationUSA.state.gov  is valuable for help through the ‘5 Steps to Study in the U.S.’  Our Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/#!/EducationUSAinSA is also a helpful resource with weekly updates, information on scholarships, and application tips.

Please feel free attend one of the sessions for guidance on the U.S. university application process, requirements, and scholarships.

Durban Advisor:  Susan Knowles

Tel: 031 305-7600