Offers of Admissions to Prospective International Graduate Students Rise 9% in 2014
    August 21, 2014

    Nate Thompson
    (202) 223-3791


    Washington, DC – The Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) today reported that initial offers of admission from U.S. graduate schools to prospective international students increased 9% from 2013 to 2014. The new data marks the fourth consecutive year of 9% growth in offers of admission to prospective international graduate students.


    The shift in sending countries first reported by the 2013 series of CGS International Graduate Admissions surveys appears to continue. Prospective students from China are submitting fewer applications, and this year the offers of admission to Chinese applicants was stagnant, ending an eight-year run of growth. Applications from and offers of admission to prospective graduate students in India and Brazil are surging, and offers of admission to prospective graduate students from the Middle East continues to be strong.  


    Suzanne Ortega, President of the Council of Graduate Schools, commented that “American graduate schools continue to attract students from around the world. We should be excited about the fact that new growth is emerging from a host of different regions and nations. International students are important to the U.S. economy because our workforce will continue to face shortages of graduate-level talent over the next decade. To support our economic competitiveness, we should make it easier—for international graduates who wish to do so—to remain and work in the U.S. after completing their degrees.”


    Admissions trends by country


    The increase in the overall number of offers of admission to U.S. graduate schools was driven by a 25% increase in initial offers of admission to prospective students from India, following a 27% gain in 2013. Considering that India’s year-to-year numbers have often fluctuated, this continued growth stands out as an important trend affecting U.S. graduate schools.


    Furthermore, gains from India helped to offset the sluggish admission numbers from China. For the first time since 2006, offers of admission to prospective students from China failed to increase, as the 2014 figure was unchanged from the prior year. China continues to represent the largest source of prospective international graduate students, comprising 37% of all offers of admission in 2014.


    Building on impressive growth of 46% in 2013, the offers of admission to prospective students from Brazil nearly doubled in 2014, with a gain of 98%. Although prospective students from Brazil constitute only 1% of the total offers of admission to prospective international students, the sustained growth is notable.   


    Other regions and countries with growth in offers of admission from 2013 to 2014 included the Middle East (9%), Canada (4%), Africa (3%), and Europe (2%). Declines were reported for South Korea (-9%), Taiwan (-6%), and Mexico (-1%).


    Admissions trends by field


    The survey results show that initial offers of admission increased in all broad fields of study in 2014. The largest increases were in physical & earth sciences (13%) and engineering (11%), followed by ‘other fields’ (7%), business (6%), social sciences & psychology (6%), life sciences (6%), arts & humanities (5%), and education (1%).


    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 from 2013 to 2014. The Midwest saw the most growth (12%), followed by the West, the South, and the Northeast, with 9%, 9%, and 8% increases respectively.


    About the report


    Findings from the 2014 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 U.S. member institutions. Data on offers of admission in the report are preliminary; final data will be published in the Phase III report, to be released in November 2014. The Phase II results are typically an early indicator of what international first-time enrollment is likely to be in fall 2014. The 299 institutions responding to the Phase II survey conferred about 66% of the 109,000 graduate degrees awarded to international students in the United States in 2011-12, suggesting that the survey results accurately depict recent trends in the participation of international students in U.S. graduate education. The full report is available online at

    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 92% of the doctoral degrees and 78% 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 2012 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.