Post-Graduation Plans of International Science and Engineering Doctoral Students Attending U.S. Universities


  • Dorothy N. Ugwu Tarrant County Community College District
  • Maria Adamuti-Trache University of Texas Arlington



doctoral students, science and engineering, graduate school experiences, post-graduation plans


This study examines the post-graduation plans of international science and engineering doctoral students at a public research-intensive university, and the extent to which graduate school experiences influence post-graduation plans. The study is grounded in Tinto’s Integration Model as well as Berry’s Acculturation Model. Study findings highlight the variety of challenges international doctoral students go through such as adapting to a new culture, experiencing English language difficulties, and cultural, social, and academic adjustment barriers. Using survey data collected in 2013-2014, this study reveals the complexity of factors that affect post-graduation plans and need for institutional initiatives to provide socio-cultural and academic support, and recommends changes in immigration policies to sustain the retention of talented international scientists and engineers upon degree completion.

Author Biographies

Dorothy N. Ugwu, Tarrant County Community College District

DOROTHY UGWU received her PhD from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is currently a Special Educator Teacher at the Mansfield Independent School District. She is also an Adjunct Faculty in the Speech Department at Tarrant County Community College District. Her research interests include educational experience and academic success of international students.

Maria Adamuti-Trache, University of Texas Arlington

MARIA ADAMUTI-TRACHE is an Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. She has a PhD in higher education and extensive experience in quantitative research. Her research areas include higher education, sociology of education, economics of education, science education, and immigration studies with focus on social inequity generated by gender, race/ethnicity, social class, disability. 




How to Cite

Ugwu, D. N., & Adamuti-Trache, M. (2017). Post-Graduation Plans of International Science and Engineering Doctoral Students Attending U.S. Universities. Journal of International Students, 7(1), 1–21.



Research Articles (English)