Business, Law, and Public Service

Links to More Information on U.S. Study in Law and Criminal Justice

See also our page of Top U.S. Study Web Sites for some more general sites that allow you to search for undergraduate or graduate programs in fields including criminal justice and legal specialties.

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U.S. Study in Law

In the United States, law is not offered as an undergraduate field of study. Students complete a four-year bachelor's degree before applying to law schools. At the undergraduate level, future law students may major in any subject. "Prelaw" concentrations exist at some institutions, but the majority of students who enter law schools have earned a degree in some area of the humanities, social sciences, or behavioral sciences. U.S. law schools seek analytic thinking and writing skills rather than preexisting knowledge of law.

First Professional Degree Programs

First professional degree programs in law award the Juris Doctor (J.D.). The Association of American Law Schools has recommended that international students complete the equivalent of the J.D. degree in their home country because of the unique nature of each country's legal system. J.D. programs in the United States are too focused on preparation for U.S. legal practice to be of use to students whose careers will be based in other countries.

For international lawyers who already have a sound knowledge of their own country's legal system and whose work involves the United States, however, a J.D. program may prove an appropriate course of study. It can allow such practitioners to further sharpen their legal skills and to acquire a broad knowledge of the U.S. system. For those interested in practicing law in the United States, a J.D. degree from a law school accredited by the American Bar Association (ABA) is the standard prerequisite in every U.S. jurisdiction.

A student in an accredited J.D. program must complete at least eighty-four semester hours of study, the equivalent of three academic years. These years provide a generalist education, designed to teach legal thinking rather than details of legal code.

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Links to More Information on U.S. Business Study

See also our page of Top U.S. Study Web Sites for some more general sites that allow you to search for undergraduate or graduate programs in fields including business.

  • AACSB International: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. Information on new programs and other management education news as well as links to programs professionally accredited by AACSB, the oldest and best known accrediting body for business.

  • About.com: Business School. Articles on many topics related to current business study issues and news. Includes links to undergraduate and graduate business-related programs by major/area of concentration as well as executive training and distance education listings.

  • Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs. A professional accrediting body, founded in 1988 as an alternative to AACSB, with a philosophy focused more on the student-oriented excellence in teaching of professors rather than their research.

  • Business Week On-Line: B-Schools. Provides news articles related to business study along with M.B.A. search engine and program profiles, application tips, information on career paths, and more. Users can sign up to receive e-mail bulletin or participate in on-line forums.

  • ForeignMBA.com. Site designed for non-U.S. students pursuing business studies in the United States.

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U.S. Study in Accounting

Thousands of accredited U.S. colleges and universities offer undergraduate and/or graduate programs in accounting. About 170 have additional specialized accreditation in accounting from AACSB International (www.aacsb.org), the most well-established of several professional groups involved in accreditation in degree programs in business-related areas. Evaluation for this type of accreditation is optional—business schools may choose to have their programs evaluated only under the AACSB's regular business accreditation standards (over 550 hold this type of accreditation), or they may wish in addition to receive accreditation in accounting under the more rigorous standards that AACSB has established for this area.

Also available are two-year associate degrees and a variety of executive and continuing education programs, professional certifications, and other nondegree training opportunities related to accounting. For the English language student, specialized programs exist both for the pre-M.B.A. student and for business professionals.

Undergraduate Application and Study

If you’re interested in a degree program, you’ll want to start early. High school courses in mathematics, computer applications, and (if available) business areas can be valuable career preparation but to build a foundation for U.S. study, also take classes in English and other languages, history, biology, chemistry, and physics. Ideally, start the university application process a year or more before you plan to start classes. You need time to find the right program for you and have the best chance at admission and financial aid.

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Applying to an M.B.A. Program

With hundreds of universities throughout the United States offering M.B.A. programs, not surprisingly there is a large variety of M.B.A. application and admission procedures. However, M.B.A. applications will generally require the following components:

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U.S. Business Study

Over 3,000 U.S. colleges and universities offer four-year undergraduate programs in business at the bacherlor's degree level, and over 1,000 programs exist at the master's degree level. Over 500 programs at each level have earned professional accreditation in the field from AACSB International (www.aacsb.org, the most well-established of several professional groups involved in the review of business higher education program quality).

Also available are a much smaller number of doctoral-level programs and many two-year undergraduate associate degrees and a variety of certificate programs and other nondegree training opportunities related to the field. For the English language student, specialized programs exist both for the pre-M.B.A. student and for business professionals.

Undergraduate Study

If you’re interested in a degree program, you’ll want to start early (ideally a year or more before you plan to start classes). You need time to find the right program for you and have the best chance at admission and financial aid.

For undergraduate programs, admissions requirements are the same as for other majors. First, you need to demonstrate proficiency in English (typically by taking the TOEFL test). Some universities offer “conditional admission” if you are not quite good enough in English but meet other entrance requirements—this means that you would start in an English language program and then can continue immediately on to degree study once you successfully complete the training and/or achieve acceptable TOEFL scores.

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