Research Outline

Post Secondary Learning Styles: U.S. vs. India


Determine what differences exist between the learning styles of higher education students in India vs. the U.S., to find what adaptations may be necessary to make an online based U.S. program more accessible to Indian students.

Early Findings


  • India ranks 2nd, behind only China, in its number of students choosing to study abroad in the U.S. (
  • As of 2014, there were over 100,000 Indian post-graduate students studying abroad in the U.S. (Forbes), and offers of U.S. graduate school admission to Indian students increased 25% between 2017 and 2018. ( According to a U.S. Department of Commerce study, Indian students contribute approximately 3.3 billion dollars to the U.S. economy every year. (Forbes)

Program Differences

  • Indian post-graduate study, especially at the undergraduate level, looks very different from post-graduate study in the U.S. (
  • Indian postgraduate study is much more structured and practical than higher education in the US. (Kivo) Students attend structured periods, similar to the system used in U.S. high schools. (India Today) Syllabi are standardized, and teachers are required to teach 18 periods, meaning they have little time for outside research. (India Today) Indian students studying in the U.S. may need additional support as they transition into the more relaxed and less structured environment of post-graduate education in the U.S.
  • In the U.S., teachers are largely able to follow their own research interests, and students, even at the undergraduate level, are encouraged to enter into the research process and culture, better preparing them for jobs in academia. (India Today) Indian students may need more encouragement to actively engage with professors and join into the research community, since they are not used to having these opportunities available at the undergraduate level.
  • In India, there is a much greater emphasis on S.T.E.M. subjects, and in fact, 78% of Indian students studying in the U.S. choose S.T.E.M. fields. (Forbes) However, since there are no top social sciences international researchers at Indian schools, the U.S. also offers necessary opportunities for students in these fields. (India Today) U.S. programs hosting Indian students may want to provide outreach to encourage students to explore fields outside of S.T.E.M.
  • In India, students have a harder time accessing research materials, and are often not even allowed to use the school library. (India Today) U.S. schools hosting Indian students may have to teach Indian students how to access and take advantage of the library and other available reaseach materials.