Let’s begin by saying that many programs in the UK are officially approved and accepted in the US. However because the UK and the US have different education systems, not all programs transfer smoothly between the two countries.

In this article, we’ll highlight the programs that might not transfer well from the UK to the US. These are the ones we advise against studying in UK if you plan to bring your degree back to the US.

Social Work MSc 

Getting a Social Work MSc in the UK and then trying to transfer it to the US can be quite challenging. Here’s why:

  • ·Competitive Entry: It’s tough to get into a social work program in the UK due to high competition.
  • Accreditation Differences: In the US, social workers need a degree accredited by the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE), a US accreditation body. UK degrees usually don’t have this accreditation.
  • System Variations: The UK’s social care system is designed for the National Health Service (NHS), which is unique to the UK. The US has a different system. So, the UK training may not align well with US requirements.

If your goal is to become a Social Worker in the US, it’s advisable to pursue a Social Work degree directly in the US. Alternatively, if you still want to study something related to Social Work in the UK, you might consider programs in Sociology, Psychology, or Counseling.

Bachelor of Education (BA Education)

Choosing to pursue a Bachelor of Education (BA Education) in the UK might not be the best option if you plan to teach in the US. While the degree itself is recognized, there are a couple of reasons why we advise against it:

  • UK-Centric Curriculum: The BA Education program tends to focus heavily on the UK education system. This might make the knowledge and skills acquired less relevant for those intending to teach in the US.
  • Quicker Options in the US: Many US Education programs offer combined bachelor’s and teaching credential programs. This integrated approach can be a faster route to becoming a teacher in the US compared to pursuing a separate degree in the UK.

For a smoother path into the US teaching system, it’s generally recommended to obtain your Bachelor of Education in the US where programs are more tailored to the local education landscape.

PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education)

To become a certified teacher in the UK, you typically need to complete a PGCE (Postgraduate Certificate in Education) after finishing your bachelor’s degree. While this qualifies you to teach in the UK, using a PGCE in the US can be complicated due to the intricate state-by-state credentialing system. Even transferring teaching credentials within the US can be challenging, let alone using a UK teaching credential.

Instead, we recommend a more straightforward path: obtain your teaching credential in the US, ensuring it aligns with local requirements. Afterward, consider pursuing a Master of Education (MA Education) in the UK. This approach offers several benefits:

  • Credential Alignment: Getting your teaching credential in the US ensures it meets the standards of the US education system.
  • Transferable Master’s Degree: An MA Education is increasingly valuable for teachers and typically transfers well between the US and the UK. This advanced degree is recognized in both countries.
  •  International Education Focus: Opting for an MA in Education in the UK with an international education focus broadens your understanding of global educational practices, adding a valuable dimension to your qualifications.
  • Time and Cost Efficiency: The UK’s 12-month MA Education program can save you time and money compared to longer programs, providing a quicker route to an advanced degree.

Additionally, the UK offers various education specializations that can enhance your resume and provide a well-rounded perspective on education.

Master of Pharmacy (MPharm)

If your goal is to become a pharmacist in the US, pursuing a Master of Pharmacy (MPharm) in the UK may not be the most practical route. In the US, pharmacists are required to hold a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) degree. Additionally, completing Advanced Pharmacy Practice Experiences (APPEs) in the US is crucial for meeting licensing requirements.

Attempting to fulfill internship hours in the UK and transferring them for credit in the US is likely to be challenging and may not be successful. In such cases, you might have to redo these internship hours upon returning to the US. Furthermore, licensure exams specific to the US would be necessary to practice as a pharmacist.

Given the complexities and differences in pharmacy practices between countries, transitioning from the UK to the US in the field of pharmacy is not recommended. It’s advisable to pursue your education and training directly in the country where you intend to practice, in this case, the US.

Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology

If you aim to become a licensed therapist with a doctorate in clinical psychology in the US, pursuing a PhD in Clinical Psychology in the UK might pose challenges. Unlike a Master of Psychology, which can often be utilized in the US, the transition to clinical psychology at the doctoral level is not as straightforward.

The difficulty arises from the requirement to complete therapy hours within the US to meet the licensing criteria for becoming a licensed therapist. This is similar to the situation mentioned earlier with pharmacy, where certain practical experiences must be undertaken in the specific country of practice.

If you are interested in studying psychology in the UK, it might be more practical to pursue a master’s degree. For the pursuit of a doctoral degree (such as a PsyD), it’s advisable to consider completing that level of education in the US. This ensures alignment with the specific licensing requirements and practical experiences necessary for professional practice as a clinical psychologist in the United States.

Master of Physical Therapy (MA Physiotherapy)

Transitioning a Master of Physical Therapy (MA Physiotherapy) from the UK to the US can be challenging due to the differences in educational requirements. In the US, the standard is to have a Doctor of Physical Therapy (DPT) degree, and master’s degrees in physical therapy are no longer the norm.

For international degrees, including those in physical therapy, equivalency decisions are typically made by organizations such as the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) and state licensing boards. This evaluation process can be uncertain, and there is a level of risk involved in determining whether a non-US degree is considered equivalent.

As an alternative, if you’re interested in healthcare-related fields, you might consider Occupational Therapy. While it may have its own set of requirements, it can be a viable option. Another option is exploring studies in Sports and Exercise Science, which could provide a different avenue within the healthcare and wellness domain. It’s essential to research and understand the specific requirements and equivalency considerations for the field you are interested in pursuing in the US.

Final Word

Make sure to do your own research! Make sure to do your own research! Stay updated because rules change. If you’re thinking about moving your degree to another country, like from the UK to the US, it’s smart to talk to accreditation boards. These boards, whether from your state or independent ones, have the latest info on whether your foreign degree will be accepted. They can tell you about the rules, licensing, and what you need to do.

Reach out to these boards to get the most accurate and recent details. They can guide you on what’s required, how your degree will be seen, and any extra steps you might need to take. Doing your own research and getting advice from these official sources is the best way to handle the complexities of moving degrees between different countries.