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TABLE 3-2 Change in Applications, Admissions, and Enrollment of International Graduate Students, 2003-2005




Life Sciences

Physical Sciences


–28% (–5%)

–36% (–7%)

–24% (–1%)

–26% (–3%)











NOTES: There have been large declines in applications and admissions and a more moderate decrease in enrollment. The admissions data for the 2005 academic year are shown in parentheses.

SOURCES: H. Brown and M. Doulis. Findings from the 2005 CGS International Graduate Survey I. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools, 2005; H. Brown. Council of Graduate Schools Finds Decline in New International Graduate Student Enrollment for the Third Consecutive Year. Washington, DC: Council of Graduate Schools, November 4, 2004.

States as the best place for science and engineering education, training, and technology-based employment (Table 3-2). If that perception shifts, and if international students find equally attractive educational and professional opportunities in other countries, including their own, the difficulty of visiting the United States could gain decisive importance.34


A large fraction of all those with doctorates in science and engineering in the United States—more than half in some fields—find employment in industry (Figure 3-8). There they make major contributions to innovation and economic growth. US industry has traditionally excelled at innovation and at capitalizing on the results of research.35 For decades after World War II, corporate central research laboratories paid off in fledgling technologies that grew into products or techniques of profound consequence. Researchers at Bell Laboratories pursued lines of groundbreaking research that resulted in the transistor and the laser, which revolutionized the electronics industry and led to several Nobel prizes.36


Ibid., p. 79.


S. W. Popper and C. S. Wagner. New Foundations for Growth: The US Innovation System Today and Tomorrow. Arlington, VA: RAND, January 2002. The authors note the following advantages of industry: rapid responses, flexibility and adaptability, efficiency, fast entry and exit, smooth capital flows, and mobility.


US Congress House of Representatives Committee on Science. Unlocking Our Future: Toward a New National Science Policy (“the Ehlers Report”). Washington, DC: US Congress, 1998. P. 38. Available at:

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