In the USA, students study a total of 12 years of primary and secondary education from first to twelfth grades. Secondary education consists of two programmes ‘middle’ or ‘junior high school’ progressing to ‘high school’ On completion of 12th grade, students receive a diploma or certificate when they graduate and usually go on to College or University.

The academic year generally starts in August/September until May/June. It is made up of two ‘semesters’

There are two types of high school in the United States: Private and Public schools:

Private high schools accept overseas students and are divided into boarding schools and day schools. Boarding schools offer student accommodation at the school. Day schools don't offer accommodation, international students live in local homestays. There are no fixed entrance requirements for private high schools, but they generally require English test scores of SSAT, ISEE, TOEFL or IELTS and may also ask for an entry test.

Public high schools only accept short term students up to one year.

Private high schools are the most popular choice for international students looking to study in the USA.

High School Entrance Exam
(SSAT / ISEE)
College Entrance Exam
(SAT / ACT)
Graduate School Entrance Exam
(GRE / GMAT)

Above shows the exams required for admissions at each stage education in the USA. Many quality schools now offer flexible and diverse admission methods. UKEAS will be able to advise you on which tests are required by individual schools.

Please choose the table below to compare school systems with that of the USA. UKEAS will be able to help you choose the correct year for your child to apply for.

Age

Taiwan

UK

USA and Canada

5-6


Primary School

Year 1


6-7

Elementary School

Grade 1

Year 2

Elementary School

Grade 1

7-8

Grade 2

Year 3

Grade 2

8-9

Grade 3

Year 4

Grade 3

9-10

Grade 4

Year 5

Grade 4

10-11

Grade 5

Year 6

Grade 5

11-12

Grade 6

Secondary School

Year 7

Middle School

Grade 6

12-13

Junior Boarding School

Grade 1

Year 8

Grade 7

13-14

Grade 2

Year 9

Grade 8

14-15

Grade 3

Year 10 (GCSE)

Boarding School

Grade 9

15-16

Senior High School

Grade 1

Year 11 (GCSE)

Grade 10

16-17

Grade 2

Further education /Sixth Form

Year 12

(A-Level)

ND

Vocational Education

Grade 11

17-18

Grade 3

Year 13

(A-Level)

ND

Grade 12

18-19

University

Grade 1

Higher Education

First Year

HND

Undergraduate

Freshman

19-20

Grade 2

Second Year

HND

Sophomore

20-21

Grade 3

Third Year

Junior

21-22

Grade 4

Graduate School

Master (Taught/Research)

Senior

22-23

Graduate School

Master

(2 years)

Ph.D.

Graduate School

Master

(2 years)

23-24

24-25

Ph.D.

(at least 3 years)


Ph.D.

(3-5 years)



Age

Philippines

UK

USA and Canada

5-6

Kindergarten

Primary School

Year 1

 

6-7

Primary School

Primary 1

Year 2

Elementary School

Grade 1

7-8

Primary 2

Year 3

Grade 2

8-9

Primary 3

Year 4

Grade 3

9-10

Primary 4

Year 5

Grade 4

10-11

Primary 5

Year 6

Grade 5

11-12

Primary 6

Secondary School

Year 7

Middle School

Grade 6

12-13

Junior High School

Grade 7

Year 8

Grade 7

13-14

Grade 8

Year 9

Grade 8

14-15

Grade 9

Year 10 (GCSE)

High School

Grade 9

15-16

Grade 10

 

 

16-17

Senior High School

Grade 11 (STEM/ HUMMS)

Year 11 (GCSE)

Grade 10

17-18

Grade 12 (STEM/ HUMMS)

Further education /Sixth Form

Year 12
(A-Level/IB)

ND

Vocational Education

Grade 11

Year 13
(A-Level/IB)

ND

Grade 12

18-19

University

Year 1

Higher Education

First Year

HND

Undergraduate

Freshman

19-20

Year 2

Second Year

HND

Sophomore

20-21

Year 3

Third Year

Junior

21-22

Year 4

Graduate School

Master (Taught/Research) 1 year

Senior

22-23

Graduate School

Master
(2 years)

Ph.D.

Graduate School

Master
(2 years)

23-24

24-25

Ph.D.
(at least 3 years)

 

Ph.D.
(3-5 years)

25-26

26-27

Age

Ghana

UK

USA and Canada

5-6

Primary School

Year 1

6-7

Primary School

Primary 1

Year 2

Elementary School

Grade 1

7-8

Primary 2

Year 3

Grade 2

8-9

Primary 3

Year 4

Grade 3

9-10

Primary 4

Year 5

Grade 4

10-11

Primary 5

Year 6

Grade 5

11-12

Primary 6

Secondary School

Year 7

Middle School

Grade 6

12-13

Junior High School
(JSS1-JSS3)

Grade 7

Year 8

Grade 7

13-14

Grade 8

Year 9

Grade 8

14-15

Grade 9

Year 10 (GCSE)

High School

Grade 9

15-16

Senior High School
(SS1-SS3)

Grade 10

Year 11 (GCSE)

Grade 10

16-17

Grade 11(IGCSE)

Further education /Sixth Form

Year 12
(A-Level/IB)

ND

Vocational Education

Grade 11

17-18

Grade 12 (WAEC/NECO)

Year 13
(A-Level/IB)

ND

Grade 12

18-19

University

Year 1

Higher Education

First Year

HND

Undergraduate

Freshman

19-20

Year 2

Second Year

HND

Sophomore

20-21

Year 3

Third Year

Junior

21-22

Year 4

Graduate School

Master (Taught/Research) 1 year

Senior

22-23

Graduate School

Master
(2 years)

Ph.D.

Graduate School

Master
(2 years)

23-24

24-25

Ph.D.

Ph.D.
(3-5 years)

Age

Nigeria

UK

USA and Canada

5-6

Primary School

Year 1

6-7

Primary School

Primary 1

Year 2

Elementary School

Grade 1

7-8

Primary 2

Year 3

Grade 2

8-9

Primary 3

Year 4

Grade 3

9-10

Primary 4

Year 5

Grade 4

10-11

Primary 5

Year 6

Grade 5

11-12

Primary 6

Secondary School

Year 7

Middle School

Grade 6

12-13

Junior High School

Grade 7

Year 8

Grade 7

13-14

Grade 8

Year 9

Grade 8

14-15

Grade 9

Year 10 (GCSE)

High School

Grade 9

15-16

Senior High School

Grade 10

Year 11 (GCSE)

Grade 10

16-17

Grade 11(IGCSE)

Further education /Sixth Form

Year 12
(A-Level/IB)

ND

Vocational Education

Grade 11

17-18

Grade 12 (WAEC/NECO)

Year 13
(A-Level/IB)

ND

Grade 12

18-19

University

Year 1

Higher Education

First Year

HND

Undergraduate

Freshman

19-20

Year 2

Second Year

HND

Sophomore

20-21

Year 3

Third Year

Junior

21-22

Year 4

Graduate School

Master (Taught/Research) 1 year

Senior

22-23

Graduate School

Master
(2 years)

Ph.D.

Graduate School

Master
(2 years)

23-24

24-25

Ph.D.
(at least 3 years)

Ph.D.
(3-5 years)

Age

Thailand

UK

USA and Canada

5-6

Kindergarten

Primary School

Year 1


6-7

Elementary School

Prathomsuksa 1

Year 2

Elementary School

Grade 1

7-8

Prathomsuksa 2

Year 3

Grade 2

8-9

Prathomsuksa 3

Year 4

Grade 3

9-10

Prathomsuksa 4

Year 5

Grade 4

10-11

Prathomsuksa 5

Year 6

Grade 5

11-12

Prathomsuksa 6

Secondary School

Year 7

Middle School

Grade 6

12-13

Junior Boarding School

Mattayomsuksa 1

Year 8

Grade 7

13-14

Mattayomsuksa 2

Year 9

Grade 8

14-15

Mattayomsuksa 3

Year 10 (GCSE)

Boarding School

Grade 9

15-16

Senior High School

Mattayomsuksa 4

Year 11 (GCSE)

Grade 10

16-17

Mattayomsuksa 5

Further education /Sixth Form

Year 12

(A-Level)

ND

Vocational Education

Grade 11

17-18

Mattayomsuksa 6

Year 13

(A-Level)

ND

Grade 12

18-19

University

Year 1

Higher Education

First Year

HND

Undergraduate

Freshman

19-20

Year 2

Second Year

HND

Sophomore

20-21

Year 3

Third Year

Junior

21-22

Year 4

Graduate School

Master (Taught/Research)

Senior

22-23

Graduate School

Master

(2 years)

Ph.D.

Graduate School

Master

(2 years)

23-24

24-25

Ph.D.

(at least 3 years)


Ph.D.

(3-5 years)



Age Malaysia  Age UK USA and Canada
5-6   5-6 Primary School Year 1  
7 Primary School  Primary 1 6-7 Year 2 Elementary School Grade 1
8 Primary 2 7-8 Year 3 Grade 2
9 Primary 3 8-9 Year 4 Grade 3
10 Primary 4 9-10 Year 5 Grade 4
11 Primary 5 10-11 Year 6 Grade 5
12 Primary 6 11-12 Secondary School Year 7 Middle School Grade 6
13 Secondary School /
High School
(Public School)
Form 1 (PT 3) Secondary School / High School / Middle School (Chinese Independent School) Junior 1 (UEC Junior)  12-13 Year 8 Grade 7
14 Form 2 (PT 3) Junior 2 (UEC Junior)  13-14 Year 9 Grade 8
15 Form 3 (PT 3) Junior 3 (UEC Junior)  14-15 Year 10 (GCSE) High School Grade 9
16 Form 4 (SPM) Senior 1 (SPM and / or UEC Senior)  15-16 Year 11 (GCSE) Grade 10
17 Form 5 (SPM) Senior 2 (SPM and / or UEC Senior)  16-17 Further education /Sixth Form Year 12 ND Vocational Education Grade 11
(A-Level/IB)
18 Lower 6 Form (STPM) Senior 3 (UEC Senior)  Higher Education  Foundation / Matriculation  Diploma Year 1  17-18 Year 13 ND Grade 12
(A-Level/IB)
19 Upper 6 Form (STPM) Higher Education  Degree First Year
Diploma Year 2  18-19 Higher Education First Year HND Undergraduate Freshman
19-20 Higher Education  Degree First Year Degree Second Year  19-20 Second Year HND Sophomore
20-21 Degree Second Year  Degree Third Year  20-21 Third Year Junior
22-23 Degree Third Year  Graduate School Master (Taught Research) 1 year  21-22 Graduate School Master (Taught/Research) 1 year Senior
23-24 Graduate School Master (Taught Research) 1 year  PhD 22-23 Ph.D. Graduate School Master
24-25 PhD 23-24 (2 years)
25-26 24-25   Ph.D.(3-5 years)

Age

Vietnam

UK

USA and Canada

5-6


Primary School

Year 1


6-7

Elementary School

Grade 1

Year 2

Elementary School

Grade 1

7-8

Grade 2

Year 3

Grade 2

8-9

Grade 3

Year 4

Grade 3

9-10

Grade 4

Year 5

Grade 4

10-11

Grade 5

Year 6

Grade 5

11-12

Grade 6

Secondary School

Year 7

Middle School

Grade 6

12-13

Junior Boarding School

Grade 1

Year 8

Grade 7

13-14

Grade 2

Year 9

Grade 8

14-15

Grade 3

Year 10 (GCSE)

Boarding School

Grade 9

15-16

Senior High School

Grade 1

Year 11 (GCSE)

Grade 10

16-17

Grade 2

Further education /Sixth Form

Year 12

(A-Level)

ND

Vocational Education

Grade 11

17-18

Grade 3

Year 13

(A-Level)

ND

Grade 12

18-19

University

Grade 1

Higher Education

First Year

HND

Undergraduate

Freshman

19-20

Grade 2

Second Year

HND

Sophomore

20-21

Grade 3

Third Year

Junior

21-22

Grade 4

Graduate School

Master (Taught/Research)

Senior

22-23

Graduate School

Master

(2 years)

Ph.D.

Graduate School

Master

(2 years)

23-24

24-25

Ph.D.

(at least 3 years)


Ph.D.

(3-5 years)





Education stages


Studying in an American high school generally takes 4 years from 9-12 grade

There are two options for getting a bachelor degree:

  1. Two-year colleges:Community colleges have lower admission levels and tuition fees. Students graduating from community colleges can gain an Associate Degree which can also be used as the foundation for a bachelor degree by completing a further two years study at another US university or college.
  2. Four-year colleges:There are two kinds of colleges: public (state) and private colleges. Generally, the tuition fee of public colleges is lower than that of private colleges. A bachelor degree usually takes 4 years.

A Master degree usually takes two years, a doctoral degree usually takes four to five years or even longer.