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The Ultimate Guide to Getting a Bachelor’s Degree in the US as an Indian Student (2024)

This guide will cover application requirements, funding, and tips for success for Indian students who are considering pursuing a bachelor's degree in the US.

May 29, 2024
  • Study Abroad
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Bachelor's degree in the USA: key info

💰 The cost of studying

On average, a Bachelor's degree in the USA costs $23,630 per year at a public university and $42,000 at private colleges.

Read the full cost breakdown ▼

📋 Scholarships for Indian students

See more scholarships ▼

✈️ Visa requirements

The most common student visas are F-1 (academic studies) and M-1 (vocational study).

US student visa application requires the DS-160 form, a photo of yourself, Form I-20, and the $185 application fee.

More on student visas ▼

If you are an Indian student wanting to pursue a bachelor's degree in the United States, you are not alone. In fact, Indian students make up the second-largest group of international students in the country, with thousands of individuals seeking higher education opportunities across a wide range of fields.

While the idea of studying abroad can be exciting, navigating the complex admissions and application process can feel overwhelming. In this guide, we will explore some key considerations for Indian students seeking to earn a bachelor's degree in the USA, including common admission requirements, funding options for international students, and helpful tips for success.

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Bachelor’s degree in the US and how it works


  • The US offers high-quality education that is recognized around the world
  • A Bachelor's program requires you to complete about 120 credits and take a variety of courses in subjects outside of your major
  • A Bachelor's in the USA usually takes 4 years for full-time

How are Bachelor’s programs structured?

Bachelor's programs in the US are structured around a credit system, with each course worth a certain number of credits. A typical Bachelor's degree program in the US requires students to complete approximately 120 credits, which are usually spread across a combination of general education courses, major courses, electives, research projects, and an internship.

How do Bachelor’s university programs in the US differ from those of the Indian higher education system?

In the US, students are often required to take a variety of courses in subjects outside of their major to get a broader education. This approach is less common in the Indian higher education system, where students tend to focus more narrowly on their chosen field of study.

Students in the US are also expected to be able to think critically, analyze information, and make decisions independently. This approach can be quite different from the more lecture-based, memorization-focused approach that is common at many Indian universities.

How long does getting a Bachelor’s in the US take?

Getting a Bachelor's degree program in the United States typically takes four years for full-time students.

Students walking around campus

Why should you get a Bachelor’s in the US as an Indian student?

Get high-quality education

US universities are known for offering a high-quality education that is recognized around the world. According to the 2024 QS World University Rankings, the US has 27 universities in the top 100, almost double the second place – the UK at 17 institutions. These universities are known for their rigorous academic programs, world-class faculty, and innovative research facilities.

Set yourself up for a prosperous career

The US is home to many top companies and industries, making it an ideal place to gain work experience and build a professional network. Furthermore, many US universities offer opportunities for internships, co-op programs, and other paid experiential learning opportunities, which can help you gain valuable skills and experience that can give you a competitive edge in the job market.

According to the Oxford International Digital Institute, 44% of surveyed students claimed that attractive salary packages were the main reason Indians sought out foreign degrees.

Access lots of scholarship and funding opportunities

The US offers many scholarship opportunities for international students, including those from India. Additionally, many US universities offer merit-based scholarships to international students. We list a few examples of merit-based scholarships for study abroad for Indian students applying to Bachelor's degree programs in the US in the Scholarships and other funding section of the guide below.

Build a strong network of like-minded people

The US offers a diverse and multicultural environment that will enable you to interact with people from divergent backgrounds and learn about diverse cultures. The US is also known for its welcoming attitude towards international students – it offers a range of support services to help students adjust to life in a new country. 

America also has a large Indian student network, which offers support to new students looking to get settled in the Land of the Free. According to the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange, there were around 269,000 Indian students in the US in the academic year 2022/2023.

How to choose the right Bachelor’s program in the US as an Indian student


  • Determine your career goals and which Bachelor's programs align best with them
  • Do a thorough research; focus on the curriculum relevance, faculty qualifications, program accreditation, and university-industry collaborations
  • Write down the essential information about your findings

1. Define your goals

To start, you should reflect on your interests, strengths, and career goals. Determine how your passions can be nurtured during your Bachelor's degree in the USA.

2. Research your options

You should do thorough research on what colleges and programs are available to you. Here a some important characteristics:

  • University-industry collaborations: Look for universities that have partnerships with the top corporations and research institutes.
  • Relevance of curriculum: Make sure that the program's curriculum aligns with your career goals.
  • Faculty achievements and qualifications: Research the publications of the faculty in your field and the mentorships they can offer you.
  • Program accreditation: Check the program's accreditation and look for testimonials to assess its quality and reputation in the academic and professional community.

3. Organize your findings

Write down your findings and highlight the important details of the potential universities and their Bachelor's programs:

  • Tuition fees
  • Funding opportunities
  • Application deadlines
  • Required documents
  • Unique features (courses, facilities, internships, etc.)
  • Application fees

What kind of programs do Indian students typically apply for?

According to the 2023 fact sheet published by EducationUSA, 12% of Indian students get their Bachelor's degree in the USA.

GRE’s most recent test taker breakdown shows a few trends in the examinees from India:

  • Physical sciences majors nearly doubled between the academic year 2020/21 and 2021/22 (from 25,820 to 42,017).
  • Engineering was the second most popular major with 18,637 students.
  • Business stayed consistently popular, being the third most popular choice among students.

Overall, Indian students in the USA are looking for stability and quality job prospects post-graduation.

Analysts are claiming that the increase in interest in physical sciences in 2022, and the corresponding decrease in engineering and IT-adjacent majors, was caused by the volatility in job security within those fields post-pandemic – mass layoffs, rise in “hire and fire” approach to recruitment, and overall lower negotiation power workers have had following the pandemic.

Girl on a video call

How to apply for a Bachelor's degree in the USA?


  • Make sure you meet all the requirements
  • Collect the necessary documents: academic transcripts, test scores, essays, motivation letters, recommendations, and an application form.
  • Highlight your academic performance, strengths and interests

What are the requirements to study for a Bachelor’s in the US as an Indian student?

To study for a Bachelor's degree in the US as an Indian student, you will typically need to meet the following requirements:

  • Academic Requirements: You will need to have completed a high school diploma or its equivalent, with good grades in core academic subjects such as mathematics, science, and English.
  • English Language Proficiency: As the language of instruction in most US universities is English, you will need to demonstrate proficiency in the language by taking standardized tests such as TOEFL or IELTS.
  • Standardized Tests: Many universities in the US require standardized test scores such as the SAT or ACT as part of the admissions process. These tests are designed to assess your readiness for college-level study.
  • Application Materials: You will need to submit a range of application materials, including academic transcripts, test scores, essays, motivation letters, letters of recommendation, and a completed application form.
  • Financial Requirements: As an international student, you will need to provide evidence that you have the financial resources to cover the cost of tuition and living expenses in the US.

It's important to note that admission requirements can vary between universities, so it's important to research the specific requirements of each institution you are considering.

Tips on how to successfully apply for a Bachelor's degree in the USA

As an Indian student applying for a Bachelor's program in the US, there are several tips that can help you succeed in the application process. Some of the key tips to keep in mind include:

  • Start early: It is important to begin researching and preparing for the application process well in advance of the application deadlines. This can help ensure that you have enough time to complete all the necessary steps and submit a strong application.
  • Focus on academics: US universities typically place a strong emphasis on academic performance, so make sure to maintain a strong GPA and take rigorous courses in high school. Many universities also require standardized test scores, such as the SAT or ACT, so it is important to prepare for and take these exams in a timely manner.
  • Highlight your strengths and interests: US universities value students who have diverse interests and experiences. Be sure to highlight your extracurricular activities, community service, leadership roles, and any other accomplishments that demonstrate your strengths and passions.
  • Research universities and programs: Do your research and identify universities and programs that are a good fit for your academic interests, career goals, and personal preferences. This can help you target your applications more effectively and increase your chances of success.
  • Seek support and guidance: Applying to US universities can be a complex and challenging process, so it is important to seek support and guidance from trusted sources. This may include high school counselors, educational consultants, or alumni of US universities. 

US student visa requirements

After being accepted to your desired university, you'll need to apply for a US Student Visa. It is important to determine which visa you should apply for:

  • F-1 visas are for full-time international students in academic studies.
  • M-1 visas are for students pursuing vocational studies.
  • J-1 visa is for students taking part in exchange programs.

If you need help, reach out to your local U.S. embassy.

M-1 and F-1 visa requirements

Look at the full list of requirements for M-1 and F-1 visas.

J-1 visa has a different set of requirements.

Note: Although you may submit your application up to 12 months before your program starts, you cannot enter the United States on a student visa more than 30 days before the program start date. If you need to enter the country before that time, you must apply for a Visitor (B) Visa.

How much does getting a Bachelor’s in the US cost?

The cost of getting a Bachelor's degree in the US can vary depending on the university, location, and program of study. However, it is generally known to be significantly more expensive compared to other countries.

To accommodate the higher costs of American colleges, there are several types of institutions available for undergraduate students, which all have different annual costs. Community colleges are the cheapest of the bunch, but international students tend to prefer public and private colleges over them.

As an undergraduate international student in the US, you can expect to pay:

  • $23,630 per year at a public university
  • $42,000 per year at private colleges on average

Source: U.S. News

Keep in mind that the numbers above do not include other study expenses like accommodation, transport, visas, insurance, etc. They only cover tuition. You can read more about how much living costs are in our USA country guide.

Scholarships for Indian Bachelor's students in the USA

You can find many scholarships in our Scholarships for Bachelor's Studies in the USA directory. Here are a few noteworthy scholarships:

🎓 Study a Bachelor's in USA Scholarship

$5,000 Bachelor's degree scholarships for international students studying for a Bachelor's degree in the USA.

🎓 Undergraduate in STEM Scholarship

$5,000 scholarship for students of any undergraduate STEM degree around the world.

🎓 Women Scholarship for International Students

$5,000 scholarship offered to support women who plan on studying abroad at a college or university, including the USA.

University scholarships

Many universities in the US offer merit-based scholarships to international students, including Indian students, based on their academic achievements and other criteria. A few examples of these merit-based scholarships for Bachelor's students from India are:

Work and study

If you are on the F1 Student Visa, you are allowed to work on-campus under certain conditions. After the first year of your study, you may be allowed to work off-campus in a pre-authorized job related to your field of study.

If you are on the M1 (vocational/non-academic student) visa, you may engage in practical training only after you have completed your studies.

Some universities also offer work-study programs that allow students to work part-time on-campus to help cover their expenses, so make sure to check if your university of choice offers this option.

University graduates

Career paths after getting a Bachelor's degree in the US


  • You can choose to continue your education
  • If you decide to enter the workforce, note that workers in STEM are particularly in demand
  • Bachelor's degree can open the doors to higher-paying jobs

Indian Bachelor's graduates who have obtained their degree in the USA have a wide range of career options available to them. Graduates can choose to pursue further education, such as a Master's degree or PhD, in their field of study or related areas. Alternatively, they can choose to enter the workforce and seek employment opportunities in their field.

It is important to note that, whatever you choose to do after getting your degree, you should pay attention if you need to extend or change your student visa. Make sure to read the information on the official U.S. Department of State website to stay up to date on the visa regulations pertaining to your specific situation.

Continuing your education

To pursue a master's degree in the US, Indian graduates will need to meet the admission requirements of their desired program, which may include a minimum GPA, standardized test scores, letters of recommendation, and a statement of purpose.

You could also explore numerous scholarship and funding opportunities for graduate studies in the US, such as the Fulbright-Nehru Fellowship.

Seeking employment

Graduates in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields are particularly sought after by employers due to a shortage of skilled workers in these areas in the USA. Many companies offer internships and training programs to new graduates to help them transition into the workforce. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs that require a Bachelor's degree are projected to grow significantly from 2021 to 2031, particularly in the healthcare, mathematics, and IT sectors.

Moreover, graduates with a US Bachelor's degree often have access to higher-paying job opportunities compared to those without a degree. Georgetown University report claims that 35% percent of jobs in the US require a Bachelor's degree or higher, and that, on average, these jobs pay $33,000 annually at the entry-level and $61,000 at prime age (it is worth noting, however, that different degrees have a higher return-on-investment than others).