The Second Higher Education in the USA

The Second Higher Education in the USA

Many students do not dare to enter foreign universities immediately after school and receive their first higher education in Russia. Some are disappointed in the specialty received immediately after graduation or after working for several years. Others find that additional knowledge in another field is needed to continue their career. Both those and others often decide to get a second higher education in the United States.

What is the second higher education in the USA?

In Russia, a second higher education often means obtaining a bachelor’s degree or a specialist in a new professional field. In the United States, it will not be possible to enroll in a bachelor’s program for the second time. But this is not necessary: ​​Russian graduates can complete a master’s degree in another specialty and devote only two years to this instead of four.

Benefits of getting a new specialty in the USA

In general, any higher education received in America provides many advantages for working in the international market. Obtaining a new specialty in the United States makes it possible to most effectively implement the acquired knowledge and use previous experience.

  • High-quality education. The United States of America is the world leader in the number of international students. And this is not accidental: it is here that most of the universities that are highly rated by international experts are located.
  • The ranking takes into account four criteria: the number of universities in the world top 700; accessibility of education; rating of the best university in the country; economic context.
  • The prestige of education in the international market. Employers around the world highly value US degrees. Even if a graduate does not plan to work in America, the doors of all international companies will be open to him.
  • Opportunity to work in the USA. International students holding F-1 visas can obtain a temporary work permit through Optional Practical Training (OPT) upon graduation and then find an employer to sponsor the work visa.
  • Highly-paid job after graduation. According to Payscale, the average salary of a master’s degree graduate in the United States is $77,000 per year, and in certain specialties (information technology, natural sciences, business) it can reach $150,000.
  • Internships in leading companies in the world.
  • Experience in Apple, Google, Microsoft, Amazon, Ford, Intel, Boeing, Pixar – such a line in the resume makes a master’s graduate even more competitive in the labor market.
  • Improving language skills. Even if the applicant plans to return to their homeland or move to another country after graduation, the acquired language skills will come in handy. A lot of speaking practice, reading professional literature, writing scientific articles – all this helps to improve the level of English proficiency.

Second higher education: change of specialty

It is possible to enter a master’s program with a diploma from a Russian university – most American educational institutions will approve the first education received. But often applicants need to prepare for a master’s degree in order to improve their language, prepare for international tests and supplement their knowledge in core subjects. In the event of a change in a specialty, such training programs will be useful to many, so without a certain number of credits in basic disciplines, an applicant will not be able to submit documents. In addition, it will be difficult for him to pass the standardized tests required for admission. For example, an applicant has a bachelor’s degree in science and now wants to enroll in a master’s law program. To do this, he will need to pass the LSAT (Law School Admission Test), GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) or GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test). Preparing for such exams requires a lot of effort, even for those who have the first specialized education. Therefore, applicants who do not have experience in law choose a special program at the university for more effective preparation.

Preparatory Master’s Programs in the USA

There are several types of programs to prepare applicants for a master’s degree.

  1. Graduate Pathway
    The Pathway is used to prepare for both undergraduate and graduate programs. Duration – from one to four semesters. Participants improve their language skills and study specialized subjects, receiving credit units. When the program ends, students can enter the university and re-credit the studied disciplines, thereby reducing the period of study in the master’s program.
  2. Pre-Masters

The Pre-Masters preparatory program is designed for graduate students who want to take English courses and study the disciplines of a new specialty. Training lasts from three to six months, depending on the level of preparation of the student. For applicants to business programs, there is a specialized Pre-MBA. You can learn more about what an MBA is and where to get this degree here.

How to enter the preparatory program

An integral advantage of preparatory programs is guaranteed admission to the university after successful completion of the course. To enter the Graduate Pathway or Pre-Masters, an applicant usually needs to speak English at the Upper-Intermediate (B2) level, provide a transcript of a Russian diplomat, a motivational essay and letters of recommendation.

For example, when applying to Pace University, you must submit the following documents:

  • statement;
  • 2 letters of recommendation;
  • motivation letter;
  • diploma transcript;
  • SAT test results ;
  • results of TOEFL, IELTS or Pearson PTE language tests.

Depending on the results of the language test, the student can choose the duration of study:

  • 4 months: TOEFL (74-79), IELTS (6.0, each part not lower than 6.0) or Pearson PTE (50-53);
  • 8 months: TOEFL (67-73), IELTS (6.0, each part not lower than 5.5) or Pearson PTE (47-49);

12 months: TOEFL (61-66), IELTS (5.5, each part not lower than 5.0) or Pearson PTE (44-46).

When to start preparing?

Even for the preparatory program for the second higher education, it is necessary to prepare in advance. This is due to the need to pass international tests. To study at the Graduate Pathway and Pre-Masters, it is not necessary to have the same high scores as when entering a prestigious American university directly. However, you will have to spend time learning the language and training for the exam format.

You need to allocate time to choose a program: most often, universities offer their own training programs, after which they are enrolled in this particular educational institution. That is why the choice of a university must be carefully approached from the very beginning.

Popular Universities for Second Graduation in the US with Pathway

1. Pace University

Prestigious private university in the heart of New York. It combines an individual approach to each student, excellent opportunities for practice and internships. At the master’s level, both traditional areas (business, computer science, cybersecurity, marketing, public administration) and more unusual ones (occupational therapy; human-centered design; bilingual children’s education) are available.

The Graduate Global Pathways program offers up to 17 credits and is available in the following areas: business, arts and sciences, computer science and information systems.

2. University of South Florida One of the largest universities in the United States of America. The university offers students excellent opportunities for research and international exchange. The Graduate Pathway program offers many areas: physics, chemistry, biology, art, marketing, management, finance, information technology. Education lasts one or two semesters.

3. Saint Louis University Private Catholic University, annually included in the top 100 universities in America. Despite the religious component, students of any faith and nationality can study here.

Graduate Pathway includes the study of English, specialized subjects and the defense of term papers. Applicants wishing to receive a second higher education in the United States have a wide choice of areas for changing their specialty: analytics, economics, artificial intelligence, bioinformatics, cybersecurity, law, project management, logistics, urban planning. Training lasts one or two semesters, depending on the results of the language test (TOEFL iBT, IELTS, PTEA, IELA or Duolingo).

4. Oregon State University, the largest in the state of Oregon. Included in the 1% of the best universities in the world, leading in the number of research. The Pre-Masters Program provides students with the academic and language skills they need to succeed in their studies.

5. University of Colorado Boulder A public higher education institution, one of the top 250 universities in the world according to the QS ranking. Here you can get a second higher education to work in the business field in the United States. For MBA applicants, there are preparatory courses in five different areas: Natural & Organic, High Growth Venture, Real Estate and Clean Energy.


  1. I completed my degree in Russia. Can I get a second degree in the USA? The diploma of a Russian specialist is not recognized by all foreign universities. You may have to first enroll in a master’s program in Russia and then transfer to an American university. For an individual consultation, please contact our specialists.
  2. I want to work in the USA after graduation. What is Optional Practical Training? OPT is available to all F-1 graduates. This is a temporary job after graduation, necessarily associated with the specialty received. You can work for 12 months, only graduates of STEM specialties (biology, physics, mathematics, information and engineering technologies) can extend this period – up to 17 months.
  3. How long does a master’s degree in the USA take? The duration of study in an American master’s program is usually two years but can vary from one year to 2.5 years, depending on the curriculum of a particular university. When passing the Pathway program, the training period increases, but only slightly, since many disciplines can be re-credited.
  4. I completed my Bachelor’s degree in Russia and in the future, I want to do science. Which programs in the US are right for me? You can enroll in a graduate program. In the United States, you don’t need to have a master’s degree, but a bachelor’s degree is enough. Universities often offer dual programs, through which the student receives a master’s degree and immediately continues his studies in graduate school.

Second higher education in the USA with Allterra Education

Choosing a university and a preparatory program, collecting the necessary documents, writing a motivation letter – when changing a specialty in the USA, the complexity of these tasks increases. Experienced Allterra Education specialists will help you choose a Pathway for obtaining a second higher education in the United States, draw up an individual admission plan and advise on any issue related to education abroad.

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