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The Top American Universities in Europe

Are you considering going abroad during your undergraduate or graduate years of school? If you’re planning far enough in advance, maybe you’re even contemplating completing a full degree abroad? Studying in another country is daunting enough when you think about the challenges ahead including culture shock, a possible language barrier, and cultural differences. Add in adjusting to a new educational system for a long period of time – yikes!

That’s where American universities come in. These universities are located in Europe, but follow the American style of higher education. This means you will still complete general education requirements and take courses in your major or specialty. This differs from most European universities, which tend to have less flexibility in course selection. Additionally, classes at American universities are taught entirely in English, which is useful for prospective students who are not yet fluent in another language. As these institutions were already given the nod from the Uncle Sam, you can also bet that the credits from your classes abroad will easily transfer to a domestic university.

When considering an American university abroad, one important factor to consider is whether or not the university is accredited in the US. This means that the school’s legitimacy and quality have been tested and verified. Accredited universities generally carry a better reputation than unaccredited ones when applying to graduate schools and for jobs, which is important if you plan to continue studying or working in the US. If you’re seriously considering earning a full degree abroad or hoping to directly enroll in a foreign institution while studying abroad, here are some of the top accredited American universities in Europe.

Richmond, The American International University in London

Richmond has two campuses: Richmond Hill and Kensington. Both provide easy access to one of the world's most exciting and cosmopolitan cities. Undergraduate and postgraduate programs fall under two main schools: Business & Economics, and Communications, Arts & Social Sciences. Due to Richmond’s dual accreditation in the UK and in the US, students qualify simultaneously for both an American BA/BS degree and a UK BA (Honors) or BSc (Honors) degree. Students from over 100 countries enroll at Richmond, which lives up to its motto: “Unity in Diversity.”

The American University of Paris (AUP)

Can you imagine yourself attending classes just under the Eiffel Tower? It’s possible if you choose to study at the American University of Paris! AUP closely follows the American liberal arts curriculum, meaning required courses in General Education, electives, and your major or area of specialty. Undergraduate degrees are available in eleven departments including Global Communications, International and Comparative Politics, and French Studies and Modern Languages. An integral part of AUP’s curriculum is the FirstBridge program, a selection of paired interdisciplinary courses that take different disciplinary approaches to various global issues.

Franklin College

Franklin College is located on a hillside above Lugano, a city in the south of Switzerland and the largest city in the Italian-speaking state of Ticino, which borders Italy. Named after Benjamin Franklin, the first American ambassador to Europe, Franklin College takes as its cornerstone Benjamin Franklin's support of universal and intellectual interchange between nations. The most popular majors are International Management, International Relations, and International Banking & Finance. A fundamental aspect of the academics at Franklin is the Academic Travel Program, required of all students regardless of major. This program encourages students to learn through experience as they participate in faculty-led trips for two weeks each semester.

The American College of Greece (ACG)

The American College of Greece is located on a campus spanning 64 acres in Aghia Paraskevi, a suburb of Athens. Founded in 1875, it is the oldest and largest U.S.-accredited college or university in Europe. ACG offers 21 undergraduate majors and 32 undergraduate minors in two departments, Business Administration and Liberal Arts. Graduate degrees are also offered through ACG’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences and ALBA Graduate School. ACG integrates American, Greek and European cultures in its academics, combining the American education system with Greece’s intellectual and cultural tradition.

John Cabot University (JCU)

Who wouldn’t want to spend four years living in the heart of Rome, the Eternal City? John Cabot University is an independent liberal arts university offering bachelor’s degrees in thirteen majors including Business Administration, Art History, International Affairs, and, of course, Italian Studies. Expect great emphasis on in-class participation as well as presentations and discussions. With small class sizes averaging 15 students, you’ll receive individual attention and guidance in your studies. JCU has a global student population with students from more than fifty different countries.

If you are looking to attend JCU on a more short-term study abroad program (think: semester or summer abroad) instead of earning your four-year degree abroad, we suggest checking these top-rated programs out:

These universities are located in Europe, but follow the American style of higher education. This means you will still complete general education requirements and take courses in your major or specialty. This differs from most European universities, which tend to have less flexibility in course selection.

When making your decision, it is important to thoroughly research each university beyond the basic information we have provided here. Before applying, carefully research as you would back in the United States: consider what major you want to study, which university offers the strongest program, and where your academic and personal needs will be met best. Aside from the educational aspects, you should also consider the student life, organizations, housing, and support that will be available to you.

If you find that none of these schools suit your personal and academic needs, there are options available beyond these universities. Consult the Association of American International Colleges & Universities for even more international schools in Europe and beyond. By pursuing a degree abroad, you’ll have the benefits of the American-style learning experience enriched by a multicultural and multi-lingual environment, providing you with a global perspective regardless of the university you choose. Good luck!

Look at all study abroad programs in Europe.

Jennifer Moy

Bitten by the travel bug in 2009, Jennifer wants to continue traveling the world and hopes to become involved in international education. She spent a semester studying in Barcelona, Spain before backpacking throughout Europe. She maintains her own travel blog while also working with Students Gone Global, a new blogging community where student travelers can share their experiences. Find her on Google+.