Big Differences Between US and UK University

My first week studying abroad in London has been full of sight seeing, beer, new experiences, and even more beer. All partying aside, I have a deeper appreciation for this city. Here is a list of some of the top differences between US and UK schooling. 

First and foremost, the grading system works VERY differently. Instead of grading based on an A-F system, the UK uses tiers. Tier one ranges from marks 60-70. Where 70 is equivalent to an A+ and 60 is equivalent to a B-. Tier two ranges from 50-60, and tier three ranges from 40-50. 

Final grades are based off one or two graded assignments, usually an exam or essay due at the end of the semester. It’s a bit stressful knowing my entire grade is based solely on a couple of assignments; however, it does mean there is far less homework. Additionally, in the UK, you typically only take classes that pertain to your degree. Unlike most American universities, there is no common core or gen eds. For example, as a British journalism major, I would not be required to take math or science credits. 

London universities do not offer meal plans. It’s typical for UK students to cook for themselves, even as freshmen. While some universities have a communal dining area, the dorms always have a communal kitchen. Also, my school has a student bar. That’s right; they sell alcohol to students. Aside from the vast historical significance, this is my absolute favorite part of studying in London. Also, student beer is only 2 pounds per pint! 

These are just a few of the major differences I’ve noticed in the first month of studying abroad in London. I’m unsure if I prefer one type of schooling over the other. Personally, I enjoy taking electives, which is fairly uncommon here. The electives I took at DePaul have given me greater insight to my interests and career goals, something I’m unsure I would have gained had I solely gone to school in London. On the other hand, I particularly enjoy the minimal amount of homework, as it gives me more time to explore and enjoy this new city. I don’t think one type of school system is necessarily better than the other. Rather, both the US and UK schooling have their pros and cons.