Whether you want to enter a short course or get a Ph.D. in philosophy, a US student visa may allow you to do so in the United States.
There are two non-immigrant visa categories for the foreign nationals wishing to study in the United States. The "F" visas are reserved for non-immigrants who are wishing to pursue the academic studies and/or language training programs, and the "M" visas are reserved for non-immigrants who are wishing to pursue nonacademic or vocational studies.
The application requirements for F and M US student visas are basically the same. Getting either an F-1 Visa or M-1 visa is a two- to three-step process:
The first step in applying for a F-1 or M-1 US student visa is that the students apply to schools, and once they're accepted, their school fills out and sends them a form known as a Certificate of Eligibility (SEVIS I-20). The students will use this certificate in preparing their application for a US student visa.
Second, the students apply for either a US student visa (if they're currently in another country) or for a change to student status (if they're in the U.S., eligible to change status from another visa, and would prefer this to leaving and applying at a consulate).
Unless the students are from a country that is visa exempt, such as Canada or Bermuda, they must apply for an F-1 or M-1 US student visa at a U.S. consulate with jurisdiction over their place of residence. When the students apply for the US Student visa, they will be required to show that they have been accepted at a SEVP certified institution, that they have the financial means to pay for their course of study, that they have the required English proficiency, and that they will return to their home country at the end of the academic or vocational program.
When the students arrive in the United States, they will receive a Form I-94 (Arrival-Departure Record) that will include their admission number to the United States. This admission number will then be written on their Form I-20 by an immigration inspector. Then the Immigration Inspector will send first and second page of Form I-20, to their school as a record of their legal admission to the United States. The students are expected to keep pages three and four, known as the I-20 ID. This document is their proof that they are allowed to study in the United States as an F-1 or M-1 student. The students should see their Designated School Official (DSO) if they need a replacement copy of their I-20 ID. They must also keep their Form I-94 safe, because it proves that they legally entered the United States.
Each time the students exit and reenter the U.S., they will get a new I-94 card authorizing their stay and indicating the time limit. When the students have stayed in the U.S. on an M-1 Visa for a year (or whatever time they were given) and they wish to remain longer, they may apply for one two-year extension of their I-20 to their designated school official. F-1 students may apply for extensions of stay indefinitely, as long as they continue to maintain their eligibility for the status and their DSO grants an extension to complete studies.