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Worrying dip in international graduate applications in the US

VU International News and Reviews No. 04 April 22 2013

April 2013

The US Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) reports that the number of applications from prospective international students to U.S. graduate schools increased a mere 1% in 2013, following a 9% gain in 2012 and an 11% increase in 2011: the smallest growth in applications over the past eight years. The slowdown in international applications was driven primarily by the decline in applications from China that was offset, in part, by an increase in applications from India. Chinese students constitute roughly one-third of all international graduate students in the United States.

Increases in applications were minimal (1% to 4%) in all broad fields, with the exception of education and the life sciences, which saw declines (3% and 7%, respectively). The three most popular fields of study—engineering, physical and earth sciences, and business—experienced increases in international applications of 2% to 3%. The arts and humanities and social sciences and psychology, fields in which few international students enroll, saw the largest increases in applications at 4%. According to the US NCES, international students make up over 10 % of graduate programmes (master’s and doctoral) against a mere 1,5% in undergraduate programmes.

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