Data Show Int’l Students Are More Interested in Science & Engineering Than Americans

United States North America International Studies Higher Education News by Erudera News Dec 16, 2022

United States

Universities in the United States would find it hard to maintain graduate programs in the field of science and engineering if a high number of international students wouldn't enroll in these programs, a report by the National Foundation for American Policy (NFAP) says.

The report “International students in science and engineering,” which follows a 2017 study, states that international students are an important asset for the United States labor market and allow universities and colleges to offer academic programs in science and engineering for domestic students.

According to data, fewer US students would pursue graduate degrees in computer and information sciences and electrical engineering if international students wouldn’t choose the fields, reports.

The analysis reveals that the number of full-time US graduate students in electrical engineering was 9,083 in 2019 compared to 26,343 full-time international students. Over the same year, there was a huge difference between the number of full-time graduate students from the United States and international students in computer and information services, with 17,334 US graduate students and 44,786 international graduates.

However, data indicate that US universities have experienced a drop of 15 percent in the number of full-time international students pursuing master and PhD in engineering.

“The number of full-time international students enrolled in graduate-level computer and information sciences at U.S. universities declined 9.5% between 2016 and 2019. This decline in international graduate students was before the new restrictions imposed on Chinese students and the impact of Covid-19. A continuation of this trend would present serious issues for U.S. employers and universities,” the report notes.

The study has found that foreign nationals account for a high percentage of full-time graduate students in the United States, which stands as below:

  • 82 percent of full-time graduate students in tin petroleum engineering
  • 74 percent in electrical engineering
  • 72 percent in computer and information sciences
  • 71 percent in industrial and manufacturing engineering
  • 70 percent in statistics
  • 67 percent in economics
  • 61 percent in civil engineering
  • 58 percent in mechanical engineering and agricultural economics
  • 56 percent in mathematics
  • 54 percent in chemical engineering
  • 53 percent in metallurgical and materials engineering
  • 52 percent in materials sciences
  • 50 percent in pharmaceutical sciences

In the 2021/22 academic year, US universities have reported an increase in international students after experiencing a drop amid the pandemic. The number of international students in the US increased by 4 percent that academic year, the annual Open Doors 2022 report published by the Institute of International Education (IIE) has revealed.

Despite the US remaining a popular study destination for international students and the latter contributing high amounts of money to the economy, there are opponents of immigration in the US who want to reduce the number of international students studying and working in the country.

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