Beyond Borders: Are American Degrees Valid Outside the US?

Up to 80% of college students change their majors at least once throughout their postsecondary careers, and, according to an International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences, many do so to change career paths.

However, undergraduate students can also have a change of heart as to where they want to work after college.

If you’re one of those who are open to taking your knowledge, skills, and experience outside the United States in case a wonderful opportunity arises after your higher education, you might be wondering:

Can I use my degree in another country?

You can certainly use your American degree in another country, especially if it’s a member of the Commonwealth of Nations such as Singapore, Canada, India, Nigeria, New Zealand, Australia, and the UK.

However, it’s a must for your degree to come from an accredited American institution.

You should also check that the degree you have meets the standards in your target country so that you can qualify for the position or meet eligibility requirements should obtaining a license or certificate be a must.

world map

Commonwealth Countries: Why They Accept American Degrees

Most countries that honor degrees from US colleges and universities are Commonwealth countries.

There are more than 50 members of the Commonwealth, many of which are former British Empire territories, and each works with one another to promote human rights, economic development, and democracy.

Commonwealth countries accept American degrees countries because American institutions or programs:

  • Are recognized worldwide
  • Are known to offer high-quality education
  • Prepare students for international careers
  • Provide specialized programs
  • Are leaders in research and innovation

The following are the Commonwealth countries:

United Kingdom1931
New Zealand1931
South Africa1931 — left in 1961 and rejoined in 1994
Pakistan1947 — left in 1972 and rejoined in 1989
Sri Lanka1948
Sierra Leone1961
Trinidad and Tobago1962
The Gambia1965 — left in 2013 and rejoined in 2018
Nauru1968 — joined as a special member and became a full member in 1999
Fiji1971 — left in 1987 and rejoined in 1997
The Bahamas1973
Papua New Guinea1975
Solomon Islands1978
Tuvalu1978 — joined as a special member and became a full member in 2000
Saint Lucia1979
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines1979 — joined as a special member and became a full member since 1985
Antigua and Barbuda1981
Maldives1982 — left in 2016 and rejoined in 2020
Saint Kitts and Nevis1983

Top 10 American Degrees In-Demand Outside the US

While many American degrees are accepted in various countries, some are more sought-after and lucrative than the rest, depending on the nation and its most prevalent industries.


If your goal involves a career abroad, it’s a must to think about your major carefully.

The following American degrees are 10 of the most in-demand globally:

Business Administration

Focusing on management, leadership, and problem-solving skills, it isn’t surprising why a degree in Business Administration is highly sought in many countries with a bustling business world.

Computer Science

We’re already in the digital age, but the digital sphere doesn’t stop evolving. Due to this, Computer Science degree holders are in demand outside the US, whose Computer Science programs are cutting-edge.


Numerous technological institutions in the US have strong Engineering degree programs, and many countries are well aware of this, which is why American Engineering graduates are prized globally.


It’s not uncommon for Education programs at American colleges and universities to focus on hands-on experience and practical training, which makes their graduates desirable in the global education sector.


Worldwide, healthcare professionals are in demand, and individuals with a Nursing degree from the US are highly coveted because American nursing programs are known for their rigorous curriculum and up-to-date facilities.


Another American degree highly valued outside the country is Psychology, primarily because of its strong emphasis on research and practical experience, thus making graduates qualified to work in varied settings.

Environmental Science

More and more countries are becoming environmentally conscious. As a result, many turn to Environmental Science graduates from the US because their programs are comprehensive and interdisciplinary.


Numerous countries revere a Law degree conferred by American institutions, given that it has a strong emphasis on critical thinking and practical application, making their holders valuable to international law firms and organizations.

International Relations

Among US degrees valid in other countries, none is as apparently valid as International Relations because of its in-depth and comprehensive curriculum that offers insight into global diplomacy, politics, and economy.

Communication Studies

Many colleges and universities in the US offer an assortment of communication programs equipping students with theoretical knowledge and practical skills that make them competitive professionals outside the country.

Science Class

Ensuring an American Degree Valid Outside the US

Are American degrees valid in other countries?

The answer is a resounding “yes!”

However, refrain from assuming that just because your degree is from an academic institution in the US means right away that prospective employers will accept and honor it and offer you your dream job.

In some instances, an American degree has zero value outside the US — or even in the US itself!

Here are some of the most important things to look into before you apply to an American college or enroll in an undergraduate program if you are considering working abroad someday:


In and outside the United States, it’s a must for the academic program to have accreditation from a recognized agency to make sure it meets standards and local and international companies will recognize it.


Different countries have different academic standards, which is why it pays to determine whether or not the undergraduate program’s curriculum conforms to and is relevant to international standards.


Professional requirements can vary from country to country, and earning an American degree that does not make you eligible to apply for a license or certificate in another country can considerably limit your options.


It’s also vital to check that the American degree under your belt matches the educational standards in the foreign country you intend to use it in for prospective employers to recognize its worth.

Credit Transferability

In some instances, students go abroad armed with a partially completed academic program, and it’s a must to check that the transfer institution outside the US will accept credits earned locally.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent those of the College Reality Check.

Similar Posts