Briefing Paper

Choosing Futures: U.S. and Foreign Student Views of Graduate Engineering Education

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In the 1980s, the annual percentage of foreign graduate students in U.S. engineering programs had exceeded 40% and the proportion of doctorates awarded to non-U.S. citizens had consistently exceeded 50%.To find out more about the pertinent decisions of engineering students we conducted two nationwide surveys in the spring of 1988, one of full-time seniors, the other of full-time graduate students in U.S. engineering programs. A total of 22,836 questionnaires were mailed out and a total of 4,880 usable questionnaires were received.

Based on the responses collected, this report compares the characteristics of those U.S. seniors headed immediately for Ph.D.s and those planning never to go to graduate school. Focus has been made on the variable of academic ability in analyzing the responses of engineering seniors, contrasting the responses of students with GPAs in the highest quartile with those in the lowest quartile.

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