There are four types of courses that you will take during your degree in the USA:
These are required of all students and cover Maths, English, Humanities, Physical and Social Sciences. Each college has a different number of core courses required by their students.
In a similar manner to some UK universities, US universities use a method of continual assessment and so it is important to dedicate yourself to your studies from day one of your degree. Every course is important as it might affect your final grade. Each course will have different methods of assessment which may include; examinations, essays, attendance, participation, presentations, practical work. It is vital to consider all aspects of a course to ensure that you are able to achieve a top grade.
What is a GPA?
Every student is awarded a GPA at the end of their degree. This is a Grade Point Average (GPA). Each course contributes to your final GPA but courses from your first year are weighted less heavily than your final year course. To calculate your GPA you take the numerical value of the grade assigned to you (usually A=4, B=3 etc) then multiply this number by the number of credits each course is worth. Finally add these numbers together and divide by the total number of credits for all courses.
Some universities also offer an Honours degree. To qualify for this you must complete additional courses and credits and write a thesis. The precise details vary from university to university and between academic departments but your academic advisor will be able to guide you on the right path to become an Honours student.