Asee peer logo

International Graduate Students’ Challenges: A Survey Based Study

Download Paper |


2009 Annual Conference & Exposition


Austin, Texas

Publication Date

June 14, 2009

Start Date

June 14, 2009

End Date

June 17, 2009



Conference Session

Graduate Student Experiences

Tagged Division

Graduate Studies

Page Count


Page Numbers

14.788.1 - 14.788.10



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors


Soumya Srivastava Mississippi State University

visit author page

Soumya K. Srivastava is a PhD student in Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University since August 2007. She received her M.S from Illinois Institute of Technology, Chicago and B.S from R.V. College of Engineering, Bangalore, India. She has worked as an intern research engineer at Bayer Biologicals, co-op chemist at American Air Liquide, Chicago during her MS degree. Before joining MSU she was at Warren Analytical, Greeley, CO for 1.5 years as a Research Associate Chemist. Her research involves building lab-on-a-chip device for medical diagnostic applications. She recently won an award for maximum number of publications in a year from chemical engineering department at MSU. She is associated with Medical Micro Device Engineering Laboratory (M.D.-ERL) at MSU working under Dr. Adrienne Minerick. Soumya is been an active member of AIChE, AES, ASEE, SWE and Sigma-Xi.

visit author page


Adrienne Minerick Mississippi State University

visit author page

Adrienne Minerick is an Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering at Mississippi State University. She received her PhD and M.S. from the University of Notre Dame and B.S. from Michigan Technological University. Since joining MSU, Dr. Minerick has taught the graduate Chemical Engineering Math, Process Controls, Introduction to Chemical Engineering Freshman Seminar, Heat Transfer, and Analytical Microdevice Technology courses. In addition, she is an NSF CAREER Awardee, has served as co-PI on an NSF REU site, PI on grants from NSF and DOE, and is the faculty advisor for MSU’s chapter of the National Organization for the Professional Advancement of Black Chemists and Chemical Engineers (NOBCChE). Her research is in medical microdevice diagnostics & dielectrophoresis.

visit author page

author page

Anurag Srivastava Mississippi State University


Noel Schulz Mississippi State University

visit author page

Noel N. Schulz received her B.S.E.E. and M.S.E.E. degrees from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1988 and 1990, respectively. She received her Ph.D. in EE from the University of Minnesota in 1995. From July 2001 through August 2009 she was on the faculty of the ECE department at Mississippi State University and her last position was the TVA Professor of Power Systems Engineering. Starting in August, 2009 she will be the Paslay Professor in the ECE Department at Kansas State University. Noel serves on the ASEE Board of Directors as the PIC IV Chair from 2008-2010. She has also been active in the IEEE Power & Energy Society and served as Secretary for 2004-2007 and Treasurer for 2008-2009.

visit author page

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

International Graduate Students’ Challenges: A Survey-based Study


Over the last several decades, the graduate programs in North America have included a large percentage of international students. A majority of the students, particularly in engineering, originate from India and China. These two countries have seen considerable growth in technology and engineering education in recent years. The changing socio-economic global scenario, strict immigration policies, and other challenges faced by international students in the United States have influenced the recruitment and retention of the best and brightest international graduate students into domestic programs. By working to understand the globally changing environment, challenges faced by international students can be better understood and mitigated, helping to provide an educated workforce to meet the growing demand for engineers in the U.S. In this present work, a survey was conducted to evaluate the various challenges faced by international students from many institutions across the country. The survey results presented here focused on major concerns and a student’s criterion to decide about graduate school. Responses based on nationality and genders are described.


Interests in international student education have increased in the past couple of decades for a number of reasons. Most of the countries are recognizing the need of global consciousness in order for them to compete in the global education and economy. At present, about 2 million students worldwide study outside of their home countries with the U.S. being the leading country to enroll most of the international students1.

In a survey conducted jointly by the American Council on Education (ACE), the Association of American Universities (AAU), the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC), around 250 institutions provided data regarding graduate applications from international students. Nearly half (47%) indicated a decline in applications, 38% thought application rates had not changed, and 14% indicated an increase in application numbers. All of these respondents indicated declines in international graduate applications2. In 2007, a survey was carried out by the Institute of International Education (IIE) in cooperation with American Association of Community Colleges (AACC), American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU), American Council on Education (ACE), Association of American Universities (AAU), Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges (NASULGC)3. Totally, 700 institutions responded to the survey. The results indicate that new enrollments at most of the U.S. institutions seem to be increasing, with respondents reporting more increases than declines (although growth rate has declined). Twenty-two percent of the responding institutions experiencing declines in international student enrollments cited rigorous visa application processes and concerns over delays/denials as the major reason for the decline, followed by cost of tuition/fees at U.S. institutions and decisions to enroll in institutions within another country. Several educators believe the declines reflect a combination of several factors,

Srivastava, S., & Minerick, A., & Srivastava, A., & Schulz, N. (2009, June), International Graduate Students’ Challenges: A Survey Based Study Paper presented at 2009 Annual Conference & Exposition, Austin, Texas. 10.18260/1-2--5609

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2009 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015