U.S. Students in Overseas Degree Programs: Key Destinations and Fields of Study (2012)

U.S. Students in Overseas Degree Programs: Key Destinations and Fields of Study, a new report from the Institute of International Education (IIE), presents findings from the first-ever survey on U.S. students pursuing full degrees abroad at the postsecondary level, their specific level of study, and their chosen field of study. The Survey on U.S. Students Enrolled Overseas in Degree-Seeking Programs was administered from May-July 2011 by IIE, the U.S. partner and Secretariat for Project Atlas®, a global network of over 20 country and research partners collaborating on data collection and research in student mobility. Data on U.S. degree students was received for 13 countries from Project Atlas partners representing four world regions: Asia, Europe, Oceania, and North America. The countries that submitted data include the largest host of U.S. degree-seeking students, the United Kingdom, and a dozen other countries that host 100 or more U.S. degree-seeking students.

According to this report, of the more than 43,000 U.S. students who pursue full degrees abroad, most are enrolled in master’s degree programs (44 percent), followed by students in undergraduate degree programs (39 percent), and students in doctoral degree programs (17 percent). The top fields for degree study by U.S. students abroad are the humanities, social sciences, and business and management. Field preferences vary depending on level of study and host country.

The tens of thousands of students documented in U.S. Students in Overseas Degrees Program are in addition to the number of U.S. students who receive academic credit for study abroad from institutions in the U.S., which is reported and published annually by IIE in partnership with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs of the U.S. Department of State in the Open Doors Report on International Educational Exchange. This new report offers data that complements Open Doors and helps to complete the picture of outbound postsecondary mobility in the United States. The report also provides an overview of the internationalization strategies employed by the 13 countries that participated in the Project Atlas survey and policy recommendations for the international higher education community.