People who immigrate to the United States arrive in this country with a wide variety of foreign degrees and other education. They may have completed high school, Bachelor’s, Master’s, or even Doctoral degree programs in their home countries. Determining to what level of education each of these foreign degrees is equivalent can be a complicated process. Because of this, most people must have their degrees evaluated by a foreign credential evaluation agency prior to getting a job or enrolling in a higher education program in the United States.
In order to enroll in a college degree program in the United States, a person must have the equivalency of graduation from high school in their home country. For example, if a person has completed 11 years of high school and would not be eligible to attend university in their home country, they would not be eligible for higher education here.
People who have earned a Bachelor’s Degree in their home country may or may not have the U.S. equivalency of a Bachelor’s Degree. For example, in Pakistan, many Bachelor Degree programs are of two years’ duration. This is the educational equivalency of an Associate Degree in the U.S. In contrast, though, many three year degree programs, particularly in Europe, are equal to a U.S. Bachelor Degree.
This is because most European students take a 13th year of high school, which is considered equal to one year of undergraduate education in the U.S. Similarly, some Master’s Degree programs are only one year long, and these are therefore usually equal to only one year toward a U.S. Master’s Degree. Generally, however, a Doctoral degree is equivalent to a U.S. PhD.
Some people are surprised to learn that their degrees or diplomas are not considered equivalent to accredited education in the U.S. Others are disappointed to learn that their continuing education or seminar certificates are not evaluated for college credit by the credential evaluation agency. Generally, only course work that has been taken at an accredited college or educational institution recognized by the home country’s Ministry of Education is considered equivalent to U.S. college education.
This article was written by Staff