International Graduate Admissions See Largest Increase Since 2006
    August 16, 2011

    Belle Woods
    (202) 223-3791


    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is reporting that offers of admission from U.S. graduate schools to prospective international students increased 11% from 2010 to 2011 after an increase of 3% last year.  The 11% gain is the largest increase in offers of admission since 2006. 


    The survey report on admissions trends, released today, shows that the growth was driven substantially by a 23% increase in offers of admission to prospective students from China, the sixth year in a row of double-digit gains.  Offers of admission to students from the Middle East and Turkey rose 16%, the fourth consecutive year of significant growth.  Students from India saw an 8% increase, the first gain since 2007, and offers of admission to prospective South Korean students remained flat after four consecutive years of declines. 


    “While the growth in admissions is driven in large part by increases from China, it also reflects a broader trend as evidenced by strong numbers from the Middle East and India and a stabilization in the numbers from South Korea,” said Debra W. Stewart, CGS President.  “This kind of strong growth in international student applications and admissions is a real testament to the quality of our graduate institutions in an increasingly competitive marketplace,” she added.


    Large institutions (in terms of the number of graduate degrees awarded to international students) continue to drive more of the growth in international offers of admission than those awarding smaller numbers of graduate degrees to international students.  Respondents from the larger institutions showed slightly stronger increases: 13% at the 10 largest, 12% at the 100 largest, and 10% at the institutions outside the largest 100.


    Admissions trends by field and institution type


    The changes in offers of admission to prospective international students vary by field of study and institution type.  Admissions increased in all eight broad fields. The largest increases were

    seen in business (16%) and physical & earth sciences (15%) while social sciences & psychology saw the smallest increase at 3%.  Offers of admission increased at nearly the same rate at both private, not-for-profit institutions (12%) and public institutions (11%). 


    Admissions trends by region


    Offers of admission by U.S. graduate schools to prospective international students increased in all four major regions of the United States this year.  The West saw the most growth (13%), the South and Midwest both increased 11%, and the Northeast grew 10%.


    Comparison of Applications and Admissions trends


    In addition to admissions trends, the report also tracks applications; this year the increases in applications were similar to gains in offers of admission.  The survey found a final 11% increase in international graduate applications for fall 2011, with large increases in applications from China (21%) and the Middle East and Turkey (16%), along with India (8%).  Applications from South Korea grew 2% after remaining flat in 2010.



    About the report


    Findings from the 2011 CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey, Phase II: Final Applications and Initial Offers of Admission is based on the second phase of a three-part annual survey of international graduate student applications, admissions, and enrollment among CGS U.S. member institutions.  The survey had a response rate of 49%, including 79 of the 100 institutions that award the largest number of graduate degrees to international students.

    The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) is an organization of over 500 institutions of higher education in the United States and Canada engaged in graduate education, research, and the preparation of candidates for advanced degrees. Among U.S. institutions, CGS members award 93% of the doctoral degrees and 76% of the master’s degrees.* The organization’s mission is to improve and advance graduate education, which it accomplishes through advocacy in the federal policy arena, research, and the development and dissemination of best practices.


    * Based on data from the 2009 CGS/GRE Survey of Graduate Enrollment and Degrees


    CGS is the leading source of information, data analysis, and trends in graduate education. Our benchmarking data help member institutions to assess performance in key areas, make informed decisions, and develop plans that are suited to their goals.
    CGS Best Practice initiatives address common challenges in graduate education by supporting institutional innovations and sharing effective practices with the graduate community. Our programs have provided millions of dollars of support for improvement and innovation projects at member institutions.
    As the national voice for graduate education, CGS serves as a resource on issues regarding graduate education, research, and scholarship. CGS collaborates with other national stakeholders to advance the graduate education community in the policy and advocacy arenas.  
    CGS is an authority on global trends in graduate education and a leader in the international graduate community. Our resources and meetings on global issues help members internationalize their campuses, develop sustainable collaborations, and prepare their students for a global future.