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International Student
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International students looking to advance their education in a foreign nation while increasing their professional desirability should consider enrolling in a doctoral degree in engineering in the United States. The United States boasts some of the best graduate engineering schools in the world and frequently enrolls highly qualified international students.

Why Get a PhD in Engineering?

A PhD in engineering signifies an expert in the field of engineering. Usually PhD professionals decide to commit their careers to research or teaching. International students who choose to obtain a doctoral degree in engineering are expected to perform research that is both excellent and creative, while also bringing up new concepts or problems within the engineering community. Thus, the responsibility of a PhD graduate in engineering is to move the industry forward in a new direction. Pursuing a PhD is beneficial to international students looking to further their education and put themselves ahead of the average graduate.

Potential Careers

PhD programs are intended to produce expert researchers in the field. A large number of international students who receive a PhD in engineering go on to work in some sort of research role: whether it is at a lab, university, or a specific center that specializes in an engineering project. However, the most common career for international students who graduate with a doctoral degree in engineering is teaching at a college. Engineering professors are expected are to publish new research each academic year, while teaching students in a variety of classes. These professors often also teach graduate section courses and even take on potential PhD candidates as advisees.

Depending on their exact discipline, many engineering students go on to open their own business as an entrepreneur. The skills learned in an advanced program allow students to tackle their own research goals and open businesses focusing on technology and engineering.


While admissions into PhD programs are certainly competitive and demanding, the opportunity for international students to take advantage of great programs is definitely there. Although most PhD programs in engineering require a master’s degree in order to enroll, there are many that will take students straight out of undergraduate studies. When looking at potential applicants for admission, universities like to see good GPAs, high entry test scores, extracurricular activities, work, and volunteer activities, and, most importantly, independent research. While not all applying students have had the ability to conduct research or assist in conducting research, the skill is highly looked upon by admissions committees. Research experience shows a commitment to the field, as well as better understanding and expectations of what you are looking for in their respective program.

PhD in Engineering Curriculum

Prerequisites for most PhD programs include a master’s degree in your field. While not all schools are the same, the time for degree completion can be anywhere from three to seven years. While classwork is a major part of the curriculum in a doctoral program in engineering, students must take occasional qualifying tests once they pass a certain timeframe and course material. Tests usually include both a written and an oral board. By passing these tests a student shows they are knowledgeable of the material and are fit to continue the program. After coursework and qualifying tests comes the dissertation, which is independent research conducted by the student which must be presented to a board of faculty who question the research.

Each new doctoral candidate is given a faculty advisor, a mentor whose tasks include assisting you in selecting classes based on your professional goals as well as looking over your research and eventual dissertation topic. The selection of an advisor is a very important part of the admissions process. International students should find a faculty member in schools that they are interested in that has research interests that are similar to theirs.

The classes that you will be taking as a PhD student depend on what the university offers, your exact field, and the previous coursework that you completed before your admission into the program. One major class that all eventual PhD candidates must take is a research methods class that teaches a student the proper way to conduct research.

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