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Universities in USA and Canada accepting 3 years Bachelor’s Degree

Chances are, if you drive on the left-hand side in your country, you probably also graduated from your Bachelor’s in three years. This is not a leap from a discussion about apples, to oranges.

If your country has a past being a British colony, you probably still have some of the left-over policies that the islanders started. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule and in the present world, the more common digressions are America and Canada.

Undergraduate studies in countries like India, Australia, New Zealand, and more, are usually completed in three-full-time years. Professional degrees like Engineering, Medicine, Law, and Architecture, are longer. However, Science, Arts, and other college degrees last for three years, post higher secondary (12+).

In the US, and Canada, the education system is four years for Bachelor’s, with degrees like Architecture, etc being longer. This discrepancy often makes a transition from being an undergraduate student in, say, India to a graduate student in America, a bit shaky when it comes to deciding what is acceptable for admission into the American graduate school system.

Do I need 16 (12 + 4) years to get an admit, or can I cruise in with my 15 (12+3) years of Baccalaureate education? …is what a lot of students, in such a situation, wonder. Perhaps if they are simply wondering, they probably stick to simpler terms like undergrad and not the jaw breaking Baccalaureate!

Read Guide to Masters Degrees for international students in USA, Canada and UK

But do all universities in Northern America require four-year Bachelor’s, or 16 years of education, for any Master’s application? The answer is No. There are several reasons for such a concession, swiftly summarized below.

  • The flux of international students has opened up possibilities for a lot of schools to make an educated estimate of what other world education systems have to offer. A lack of the 16th year may not simply translate to a lack of preparation/prerequisite knowledge for MS.
  • Quite a few professional programs view applicant profiles holistically. Meaning, they gauge academic experience in combination with professional experience, achievements, awards, etc, as they do for MBA (Read MBA abroad after BBA, BSc, BMS, BA, BCA, BCom, LLB and other 3-year degrees).
  • Many independent agencies like the World Education Services (WES) cater to international students requiring grade equivalencies and credentialing required to be eligible to apply to USA and Canada. What is important to note, however, is that not all universities accept WES credentials. So, it is up to the international student to figure out the minute details.

Read USA MBA accepting 15 years of education from Indian Universities.

What the above summary seems to indicate though, is the general growing (snail’s pace) acceptance of three-year Bachelor’s as sufficient for graduate school applications. In this article, we will look at a representative list of such accepting graduate schools, and programs, in the two countries that do not insist on 16 years of education.

Before we do that, let us explain a couple of technical terms used in the table below.

  • NAAC: The National Assessment and Accreditation Council accredits higher education institutes in India. It is an autonomous body funded by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
  • Bologna Declaration: Proposed by the European Higher Education Area, it stipulates that graduates can pursue higher education freely between countries. Education systems subscribing to the process adhere to the following principles.
    • “Adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees”
    • “Adoption of a system essentially based on two cycles, undergraduate and graduate. Access to the second cycle shall require successful completion of first cycle studies, lasting a minimum of three years”. The degree should be relevant in Europe and lead to a concluding Master’s or Doctorate.


Universities in USA and Canada accepting 3 years Bachelor’s Degree

Colleges and Programs that accept applicants with 15 years of education

Below are some examples of universities, and individual programs, that accept 15 years of education i.e. three-year Bachelor’s for their Master’s programs, in USA and Canada.

Business Graduate Programs


School Master Program Bachelor’s Degree Requirement
MIT (USA) Sloan Graduate Admissions – Master of Science in Management Studies 3-year Bachelor’s is accepted. Further details per program. FAQ
Columbia University (USA) – Masters of Science in Accounting and Fundamental Analysis

– Masters of Science in Financial Economics

– MS in Marketing Science

Candidates are considered on a case-by-case basis


University of British Columbia Sauder (Canada) – Master of Management

– Master of Business Analytics

– MSc in Business Administration

3-year Bachelor’s accepted from UK, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Other countryapplicants are encouraged to enquire

Admission Info

York University – Schulich (Canada) – Masters in Finance

– Master of Management

– Master of Marketing

– Master of Real Estate and Infrastructure

3-year degrees acceptable with one-year work experience

More info



Other Graduate Programs


School Master Program Bachelor’s Degree Requirement
University of British Columbia (Canada) Most Graduate Programs

eg. Physics MSc

As long as the basic prerequisite courses are covered. FAQ
York University (Canada) Most Graduate Programs 3-year undergraduate degrees from institutions that meet the Bologna Declaration criteria
University at Buffalo (USA) Selected Graduate Programs Details available on program pages. 3-year acceptability info here
Stony Brook University (USA) All Graduate Programs Education systems that are not 4-year US degree can be evaluated for credibility at WES. More Info

Read List of STEM degree programs in USA

Clearly, this is not an exhaustive list and most universities still require at least one-year of postgraduate studies, post the three-year Bachelor’s, to compensate for the credit requirement for application.

Ultimately, regardless of all that we’ve shared here, the university you’re applying to takes the final call. We recommend that you conduct your own research into your options and see where and how you fit into the North American education system. Make sure you confirm all the eligibility requirements directly with your target university before initiating the admissions process.

Meanwhile, we leave you with some relevant links.

Sources: 1, 2

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22 thoughts on “Universities in USA and Canada accepting 3 years Bachelor’s Degree”

  1. Caro
    Hello this Caro from Tanzania I am a graduate with BA in Education I want to if I can apply masters in education administration and management in one of Canadian universities help me to know the universities which òffer that course thanks

  2. Hi.. I am a civil graduate from Mumbai university working in gulf for the past 10 yrs…I plan to gain a masters degree without leaving my present job…I am confused whether to go ahead with Bits pilani WILP programme for masters or an executive MBA from Indian or ovserseas institute. The shortcomings which I heard about WILP programme from BITS pilani is that there is no scope to go for doctorate degree if one chooses to in future…is the option for doctorate degree open after completing executive MBA ….kindly clarify.

  3. hlo
    iam currently pursuing btech final year in yhe stream of CS and i want to do masters in life of science can i switch to it.

  4. I admitted to the California State University, East Bay for MBA. I have master’s degree in Microbiology followed by 17 years of work experience. I worked as a sales coordinator, QC/QA officer at India’s largest bovine semen bank. I am preparing for a visa interview. My visa was rejected twice. I don’t find a suitable answer that which industry I will work with coming back to India. I am 40, lady and single. What would be the convincing answer to the question Why MBA now? How it will help me back in India.

    The truth is I really want to come back after five years of exposure. But they dought I will stay back in the US.

  5. Hi ,

    I have completed my engineering in ECE and have a total experience of 3 years in IT sector. I am looking forward for studying abroad and completing my masters in finance . Can you please let me know the minimum GMAT score required to get into the institute?


  6. sir ,
    i am interested to study master in entreprenurship and management in Riga technical university latvia
    is really helpful for my carrier

  7. @Caroline: You’ll find some programs in Canada here:

    @Ahm: I’m not aware of the course. But as you might’ve rightly guessed, the market value of such programs tends to be low. Best to stick to reputed programs, preferably those that may be respected in the country where you want to use it.

    @Tanmai: Yes, you can switch, but only if you have a strong rationale to do so. And you’ll have to explain that in your SoP.

    @Hiral: Don’t rely on others to give you readymade answers to either of those questions. More so in your case, since your profile is so unconventional, compared to the typical students in such programs. For starters, the university isn’t known for its MBA program and probably isn’t a hot favourite among international students. Visa officers have to rely on their intuition as much as the documentation / evidence you provide. The lack of clarity about your career plans is a big reason that makes it dificult for them to believe your story. If you really want to work in India, why not take up a relevant course in India and make the most of it?
    And even if there’s no visa officer to convince here, you’d still need to be true to yourself and independently answer the 2 questions you’ve asked.

    @Roohi: We’ve written about minimum GMAT scores here:

    @Raghul: Sorry, we haven’t heard of the university before.

  8. Sir/ ma’am,
    I am currently pursuing liberal arts from Jindal Global University, and wish to pursue interior designing as my career. I want to know if the American or Canadian design schools accept 3 years of under graduate degree?
    Awaiting your reply.
    Thank You
    Gauri Sood

  9. I am studying Bachelor degree in food technology which is about 3years can I get admission for my Post graduation in food science and technology in Dalhousie University,Canada.

  10. Hallo , i am JAY , i am studying in last year of BA which is 3 yrs degree program
    How can i get admission in Master in clinical psychology in Canada . I have am citizen of canada
    Pls guide me

  11. Hi, I’m a final year Economics undergrad from India pursuing 3-years bachelor’s degree from Sri Guru Gobind Singh College of Commerce, Delhi University. I wish to pursue Ms Finance in US or Canada and would like to know my eligibility for this course. I do not have any full time work experience yet. Please let me know the universities that i am eligible to apply for Ms Finance in US & Canada.

  12. Hello,

    I am currently pursuing a 3 year Bachelors in Management Studies degree. This means that my total education adds up to 15 years, which contradicts the 16 years minumum education criteria of most B schools abroad. But in your Blog above, you mentioned that students who have pursued a B.Sc and B.Com are eligible as well.
    Is there a catch?

  13. I’m currently pursuing my graduation in Life Sciences from Delhi University and I’m in my final year. As i want to do my masters from University of British Columbia, Canada in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry so is it mandatory for me to be 16 year’s educated to do my masters from Canada ???

  14. I have done MBA from national institute of business management (Part time) , Does any agencies in Canada verify it . Please guide as my life is depend on it

  15. Hello
    My name is Himani, I have completed my bachelor degree of 3 yrs from India . Now if I will be pursuing 1 yr diploma from Canada then, would it be possible for me to take MBA after completing diploma in university which accept 4 yrs of bachelor degree ?

  16. I just applied for Marshall University for a Master program. It was denied due to my bologna 3-year bachelor program done at Portugal (Europe). We are in 2020, shouldn’t schools be better informed than this?? They denied my 180 ECTS stating that is equivalent to a 90 ECTS in US. WES (World Education System) disagrees, and so do you. What can be done about this??

    Thank you!

  17. Hello i am pursuing my BBA honours degree from PDPU which is 4 year course and i wanna do my last year in canada as transferring my credit points is it posssible for canadian Üniversite?

  18. hello i have just completed my 12 and m eager to be a part of ms program in animation and vfx and m continuing my bachleor degree of 3 years (Bsc in animaton and vfx). so the main point to ask is,can i get admission in university of usa on 3 year bachleor programme??


  19. Hi!
    Actually I am pursuing BMS from Shaheed Sukhdev College of Business Studies. I want to do MBA in international business management from abroad. Do you think I have any scope. And I am also maintaining a good cgpa and academic stuffs plus thinking about having a 2-3 years of experience. So what do you think its enough.


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