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Transferring from UK to US university post-bachelor's?

DeBrevitateVitaeDeBrevitateVitae 2 replies1 threads New Member
edited June 2019 in United Kingdom
Is it possible to transfer as an international student with a 3 year degree course already completed in the UK, into the 2nd/3rd year of a US university? And if so how much would this cost i.e. assuming I get a first class degree and have a bunch of extracurriculars, what's the likelihood I'll get a scholarship/ financial aid? I would not want to apply for a master's because I believe that I would lack the fundamentals required to go from a physics degree (what I'll likely leave with) into an engineering masters (what I want, but from a US uni). I haven't even started the course yet but should be doing so this year, grades permitting, and am getting a few ideas in place.

Little explanation: I made a small mistake (cough. Huge mistake) of applying for a course that I can't see directly taking me anywhere after I graduate - reason being, I believed I could switch courses easily (a common occurrence at the uni I'm planning on going to), but I realised I don't want an engineering degree from this uni and I've always wanted to work in the US. I'd really want to go into tech research or engineering R&D, and the US is where the research and big companies are at. I also want to go to undergrad in US just for the experience itself (I want to minor in other stuff, like compsci/ maths. Also, US universities just sound like a lot more fun than UK universities. Our offer holder chat literally has a tab for textbooks recommended. I get the idea that the culture is very alcohol central though).
edited June 2019
10 replies
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Replies to: Transferring from UK to US university post-bachelor's?

  • vpa2019vpa2019 702 replies19 threads Member
    edited June 2019
    You graduated from your UK uni or you’re going into your 3rd yr this fall? Or you haven’t started uni yet?
    edited June 2019
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  • DeBrevitateVitaeDeBrevitateVitae 2 replies1 threads New Member
    Haven't started yet. But is it possible is all I'm wondering?
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  • Conformist1688Conformist1688 1240 replies31 threads Senior Member
    Not sure offhand if you already had a bachelors degree, but at best you would be a transfer student, which means less good financial aid. And you will have already spent a lot in the UK.

    Honestly, I think a better path would be either to take a gap year and reapply directly to the US, OR see if you can switch your current UK offer to a different course (and institution if you don't like the one you've got into for engineering) at Clearing/Adjustment time.
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  • austinmshauriaustinmshauri 10004 replies387 threads Senior Member
    If you get a degree in the UK you won't be admitted as an undergrad in the US. If finances are an issue, you may want to investigate studying abroad here for a year from your UK university. You wouldn't be able to work in the US very long even if you did graduate from a US school, so a study abroad program may be an affordable way to get the experience you want.
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  • collegemom3717collegemom3717 8026 replies85 threads Senior Member
    You can go from a physics undergrad to an engineering Masters- I can give you multiple examples at quite a few US universities.

    You mostly likely can't get a US work visa with a newly-minted undergrad degree, and even with a PG degree you would want to have some very specific credentials.

    Getting a 2nd bachelors is not an option at many US universities- you would have to find ones that allow it- and is almost never a good use of time or money.

    However, since you seem to think that paying for 3 years of UK uni + another 1-2 years of US uni is nbd for your parents, presumably they won't mind paying for 4 years of US uni. If so, take a gap year and apply to US engineering programs. If you had the marks for physics you should be able for it.
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  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls 6660 replies2 threads Senior Member
    I do not think that you will get financial aid for a second bachelor's degree.

    Immigration in the US is a political issue. That means that we cannot predict what the situation will be in three or four years. Attending university in the US will not necessarily qualify you to continue to work in the US. There are some countries (eg, Canada) where getting a university degree will get you a work permit. The US is not reliably in this category. Of course all of this can change.

    My understanding is that a bachelor's degree in engineering requires a series of courses that are rather constrained. It is hard to jump into the middle of this unless you have taken the correct prerequisites. I am not sure of the precise details.

    What is your situation? Did you just graduate from high school with a plan to attend a university that you are now regretting? Will universities in the UK allow you to switch majors the way that they will in North America?
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  • HPuck35HPuck35 2148 replies17 threads Senior Member
    Your 3 year degree is considered equivalent to a BS degree in the US. As stated previously, most US universities won't allow a second BS degree to be obtained. Your best option to would be to go for a MS degree. You would probably have to complete some prerequisites before entering such a program. You could do so in the UK or possibly in the US. You would need to investigate that further.

    Working on the US is a whole different ballgame. Visa rules, security concerns, ITAR rules all come into play. US companies will not, as a general rule, sponsor foreign citizens for "green cards" necessary to work in the US. These restrictions also limit the type of fellowships available to you for grad school.

    A more likely path would be to pursue your dreams outside the US.
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  • DeBrevitateVitaeDeBrevitateVitae 2 replies1 threads New Member
    Thanks all for the very insightful replies. I haven't started uni yet so I had really no idea what things are like. Some people mentioned gap years - I also considered this, e.g. deferring my offer and then reapplying to the US.

    It looks like I'm going to have to abandon this idea completely. Maybe I will switch to engineering at the uni I'm planning on going to, and then go from there. I'll keep in mind that an engineering Master's is possible with a physics degree.

    Seems that I naively thought degree = easier to obtain work visa. In that case how do some people who originally have UK degrees manage to work in the US?
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  • HPuck35HPuck35 2148 replies17 threads Senior Member
    There have been times in the past where a shortage, or perceived shortage, of some engineering specialties have led to companies sponsoring foreign engineers. Past being well before 9/11.

    I have known a few cases of someone working for a US company but in a foreign office. The person gains enough experience ( think several years) that they have some unique skills. Those skills are then needed within the US. The company can then make a case for sponsorship.

    Otherwise, one would have to obtain a green card via marriage, immigration, etc. There are some delays in getting the green card and you couldn't work during those times. Not an easy way to go for a new grad.

    Wikipedia has some good info regarding green cards.
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  • Twoin18Twoin18 2192 replies21 threads Senior Member
    It is somewhat easier to get a job in the US after a masters degree rather than an undergraduate degree, especially if your masters is in STEM, though the process for staying permanently is still challenging, and your company needs to be supportive.

    It is considerably simpler to work in the UK for a company with US operations and then transfer to the US after a year or more, because there is no quota limit (unlike the H-1B for hiring foreign workers inside the US). However, achieving permanent residency is still not easy unless you are a senior executive (the difference between an L-1A and L-1B visa) when you can get a green card automatically after a year.

    If you are exceptional (e.g. PhD plus multiple academic papers or patents) then you could qualify for an O-1 visa, which is a path to a green card that is not tied to a specific employer.

    I moved here on an L-1A, with colleagues who used L-1Bs and H-1Bs. It was easy for me to stay permanently, but my colleagues didn't stay long term.
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