Most international graduate students in US on master's degrees

Report from the Council of Graduate Schools contradicts 'common assumption' that international students choose US for doctoral degrees

December 17, 2015
United States map
Source: iStock

More than three-quarters of first-time international graduate students in the US are enrolled in master’s or certificate programmes, new data has found.

Research from the Council of Graduate Schools found that 77 per cent of graduate enrolees are pursuing these courses, which it claims contradicts a common assumption that many, if not most, international graduate students go to the US to pursue doctoral degrees.

The report International Graduate Applications and Enrollment: Fall 2015, which is based on an annual survey of 350 graduate institutions in the US, found that Chinese and Indian students represented the largest share of first-time master’s and certificate enrolment for this autumn, together accounting for more than 7 in 10 enrolees in these programmes.

Indian students, for whom first-time enrolment has seen double-digit growth over the past three admission cycles, demonstrated the strongest interest, with nine out of every ten graduate students from the country choosing a master’s degree or certificate.

Despite the overall trend, some regions demonstrated strong first-time enrolment in doctoral programmes; 47 per cent of South Korean graduate students in the US and 44 per cent of students from the Middle East and North Africa enrolled in these courses.

Source: 
Council of Graduate Schools

Engineering remains the most popular field of study for international graduate students, representing nearly one third (32 per cent) of final applications and over one quarter (29 per cent) of first-time international graduate enrolment.

However, engineering fields reported only a small increase this year for both final applications (2 per cent) and first-time enrolment (1 per cent), while mathematics and computer science fields saw the largest growth (9 per cent and 11 per cent respectively).

CGS president Suzanne Ortega said the report’s findings demonstrate the strong reputation of US master’s degrees outside the US.

“While doctoral programs and institutions have long been viewed as a major draw from international students, it is clear that international students also recognize the value of US master’s education,” she said.

“Master’s degrees are critical entry points for a wide variety of professions. International students are taking advantage of the skills and knowledge these programs offer in addition to the stellar doctoral training provided by US institutions.” 

ellie.bothwell@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

PhD Position in Archaeology and Cultural History

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

PhD position in Energy and Process Engineering

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

PhD position in Energy and Process Engineering

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

PhD position in Industrial Energy Efficiency

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Postdoc in Traffic Engineering

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework

people dressed in game of thrones costume

Old Germanic languages are back in vogue, but what value are they to a modern-day graduate? Alice Durrans writes