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Is it harder to get into graduate school as an international student?

luckyjadeluckyjade Registered User Posts: 3 New Member
edited December 2013 in Canada
I'm a Canadian citizen currently attending a U.S. undergraduate university. I am interested in applying to graduate school and I was wondering if it is harder for international students to get in compared with U.S. citizens/permanent residents. Any info would be much appreciated!
Post edited by luckyjade on

Replies to: Is it harder to get into graduate school as an international student?

  • peachasopeachaso Registered User Posts: 335 Member
    Depends on the field, but generally yes because of funding, especially in the sciences. I.e. some funding generally used for grad students' stipends may be restricted to Americans... If they want you they will have to find other funding and thus they may be limited to a few internationals per year.
  • starbrightstarbright Registered User Posts: 4,660 Senior Member
    I've never heard of this ^. Certainly not in the three fields I'm associated with nor have I come across it indirectly in 25 years as a professor (who has taught and had graduate students in both Canada and the US of both nationalities). For the most part, academia ignores the border, it's not relevant at all.
  • USouthFloridaUSouthFlorida Registered User Posts: 1 New Member
    peachaso is right. In FLorida there are strict guidelines about clinical field work which requires state certification which in turn requires that students be citizens or perm residents. This automatically eliminates international students from the pool Such disciplines are Medicine (not all fields), Nursing and Pharmacy.
    As for most other fields (engineering, humanities, business, etc.), indeed there is no restriction. As far as graduate stipends are concerned, there is usually very limited funding fro master's students. most of the funding from gratns go to PhD students. So unless, you have the financial means to put yourself through school, I wouldnt count on assistance.
  • NamelesStatisticNamelesStatistic Registered User Posts: 558 Member
    If you are in a thesis based graduate degree (ie. most natural science degree), a large part of getting into graduate schools is finding a supervisor who can fund you. In my experience the supervisors tend to choose the best available applicant, regardless of nationality. I also now tons of UofToronto graduates now in US grad schools (including one at Stanford), so if there is a barrier for internationals getting into good US grad schools, it certainly is one that can be overcome.
  • peachasopeachaso Registered User Posts: 335 Member
    To be honest, I am only familiar with biomedical graduate programs, which is what I am interested in.

    Most of these programs accept a lower percentage of qualified internationals due to funding limitations (I believe this is due to NIH restrictions). I quote:

    The financial resources we have available to pay for students who are neither U.S. Citizens nor U.S. Permanent Residents, however, is very limited. As a result, we are able to admit only about 5-7% of our international applicant pool, and students should take this into consideration before applying to the Program.
    FAQ > Biological & Biomedical Sciences | Yale University

    We are very much interested in attracting talented students from other countries to our program. However, there are some practical issues that you should be aware of before applying. We have a limited ability to support students who are not citizens or permanent residents of the United States. Our training program is funded by a training grant from the United States government. This grant will only support US citizens or permanent residents. Only very rarely do we have funds that can be used to support citizens of other countries.
    Johns Hopkin University | School of Medicine Immunology Graduate

    These are just two examples, but the case is similar for other biomedical programs. The exceptions are some that have large private funding, such as Rockefeller University.
  • itisallforgottenitisallforgotten Registered User Posts: 35 Junior Member
    Colleges annually publish their admission data usually as "Statistics" or "Common Data". At highly selective graduate schools in engineering/physics/comp science, materials science, international students typically make of 40% of graduates in a program. Though this is a lot, these students are chosen from throughout the world- in our doctoral program in applied physics there are students from Russia, Poland, Turkey, Greece, France, Germany, UK, Canada, Mexico, China, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Kenya, and South Africa. I'm sure there are others I have forgotten. Since there are usually only one or two students from many of these countries you have to be in the top percentage of students among all universities in your country to gain admission, so the 40% admission rate perhaps makes it seem easier to gain admission than it is. Selective programs rarely take more than one or two students from one university whether it is a US college or international. Don't send generic applications to all programs, but know why a program is unique and why this is the perfect match for you. You app's success depends on the details in your application. Funding was mentioned above- a college will give funding details on their website- total for the college and often by department and professor- and you can look at government funding summaries at the National Science Foundation website. There are clear money trails- in engineering, for example, you can see lots of money goes to the commonly mentioned top schools, but there are some surprises like U Washington, U Colorado and others.
  • IANKRISBANAWAIANKRISBANAWA Registered User Posts: 10 New Member
    I think it is depends on ones country. There is some instances that even if you are a graduate of some big time universities, chances that you will still be denied specially in applying for work. I have same experience on this one when I was applying for a job< I got denied not because I failed the exam. But I was surprised I was failed because I was overqualified. Sound awkward, right?
  • ashesatduskashesatdusk Registered User Posts: 21 New Member
    Most of what is written is wrong. In graduate admissions process your application will be evaluated against Americans, not students from Canada.

    A lot of the reason its more difficult for international students to study in the U.S is not just the U.S, but difficulties associated with evaluating their application. Generally recommendation letters of graduates from international schools are not as credible, because their researchers are not well known. So raw measures like rank of the applicant and the reputation of their university become criteria. That isn't true of OP.

    There generally isn't funding differences for American v.s. foreign students. There are usually funding differences for instate v.s. out of state students. The thing peach so is talking about is probably specific to health sciences. Most hard sciences, applied sciences, social sciences are dominated by international students.
  • APA212APA212 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    May someone please answer the question i asked on my profile? No one has been answering :(
    i am also a canadian citizen attending a US undergraduate university; i am planning on finishing university here in the US then i'm gonna go to Graduate School in Canada.
  • DadTwoGirlsDadTwoGirls Registered User Posts: 3,751 Senior Member
    Many years ago I was in your situation. As a Canadian studying in the US, I did get accepted to graduate school in Canada (at a top-3 Canadian university). I also was offered full financial aid (no loans needed) for the top-3 Canadian school where I applied.

    Of course each case will depend upon specific circumstances, such as grades, where you are, and where you apply. Medical school and veterinary school might be more difficult than other graduate programs.

    One nit: If you want to work in Canada, and you are a Canadian who is currently an undergraduate in the US, then there is probably a significant advantage to do your graduate work in Canada rather than in the US.
This discussion has been closed.