The number of Indian applicants to graduate programmes in the U.S. universities has increased by 7 per cent this year. This follows a 1 per cent increase against the previous year. According to the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS), the overall graduate applications to the U.S. universities from overseas students had risen by 9 per cent over the previous year, the sixth year running of continuous increases.

International students form an integral core of the graduate student population in the US, accounting for 15.5 per cent of the total.

The most popular fields among international students for studies at the Master's and Ph.D levels in the U.S. are engineering, physical and earth sciences (including computer science and mathematics), and business studies. These fields account for 62 per cent of the total graduate-level applications.

Applications from prospective graduate students from China and the Middle East & Turkey rose by double-digit percentages in 2011 for the sixth consecutive year in a row, increasing by 18 and 12 per cent respectively. Applications from prospective graduate students from India rose 7 per cent in 2011 following a 1 per cent gain in 2010 and a 12 decline in 2009.

The CGS International Graduate Admissions Survey collects data on four key sending countries or regions: China, India, South Korea, and the Middle East and Turkey. China, India, and South Korea are the top three countries of origin for international graduate students in the United States. Collectively, students from these three countries account for about one-half of all non-U.S. citizens on temporary visas attending U.S. graduate schools, according to research from both the CGS and the Institute of International Education.

Commenting on the increase in the number of Indian applicants, United States-India Educational Foundation Executive Director Adam Grotsky said: “This is welcome news. The U.S. welcomes all qualified Indian students to study in America. Indian students are a vital element of graduate schools on hundreds of American campuses. This educational exchange brings our two great democracies closer, and lays the foundation for greater cooperation and understanding.”