UMass graduate school sees increase in applications, international students and higher selectivity

By Aviva Luttrell

Collegian File Photo

While graduate school enrollments are in decline nationwide, the numbers are rising at the University of Massachusetts.

This fall’s graduate school class saw an increase in enrollment from last year, according to a press release, especially in terms of international students, which further “reflects more selectivity in choosing who will pursue graduate degrees,” university officials say.

“UMass Amherst continues to buck the national trend of declining graduate enrollments,” said John McCarthy, vice provost for graduate education and dean of the graduate school.

There are 1,586 students in this fall’s incoming class, up from last year’s class of 1,540. Of those are 421 international students, making up for 38.1 percent of the class, according to the release.

For the past two years, the trend of increasing international student enrollment has continued. Last year, 347 new international students were enrolled in the school. There were a total of 337 international students two years ago, according to the press release.

While China is the school’s largest source of international students, McCarthy said in the release that the pool of students from India will soon surpass the number of Chinese students.

McCarthy, who is also a distinguished University professor, said that the University’s “strong faculty” is an attractive factor for prospective students, saying the “high quality of our faculty is known around the world.”

The Graduate School also saw a general rise in the number of applications this year, according to the release.

The school received 10,659 applications, the highest number since 2003. More than 48 percent of those applicants were international students, coming at a total of 5,153. The school accepted 3,328 students this year – 70 fewer than last year.

McCarthy said in the release that this indicates that the departments and programs have become increasingly selective.

The entire graduate school includes some 6,300 students pursuing advanced degrees, including those enrolled in online programs, according to the release.

Aviva Luttrell can be reached at [email protected]