Designing Your Degree For A Global Community


Sandi Janusch, assistant vice provost for International & Academic Programs

As record numbers of international students seek to study at top U.S. colleges and universities, experts at UW Continuum College are here to help campus partners at the University of Washington create fee-based graduate and professional programs that capture interest from around the globe.

“We understand the international student experience,” says Sandi Janusch, assistant vice provost for International & Academic Programs at UW Continuum College. “We can be a resource to you when you’re designing fee-based programs for international audiences.”

We’re No. 1

By many measures, the United States and the United Kingdom have long been the top two destinations for students who want to study internationally.

“Especially for graduate education, the United States is still the leader in the world as far as research, number and range of degree programs that appeal to international students,” Janusch says. “Because of our years of experience in international education, we understand the needs of recruiting and serving these students.”

The International Institute of Education reports that most international students studying in the United States come from China, India and South Korea. Of the 5,629 degree students in UW’s fee-based degree programs this year, 904 were international students — nearly 75 percent of those from China and India, Janusch said.

UW’s fee-based degree enrollment also mirrors the national trend when it comes to the top three areas of study: Engineering, Business & Management, and Math & Computer Science. 

Students who graduate from select STEM programs may also be eligible to extend their visa for 24-36 months after graduation for what’s known as Optional Practical Training — time that allows graduates to work in their chosen field and gain additional experience in the United States after they finish their degree programs.

Requirements for Students

Student Status: Most international graduate students obtain an F1 visa or a J visa as their documentation for entry to the United States, Janusch says. They must remain full-time students for their entire stay; for graduate students at the UW, that’s at least 10 credits each quarter. And, she said, to initially secure a visa, students must be able to prove they have a way to pay for their education and living expenses while they are in the US— at the UW, that’s approximately $70,000 per academic year.

TOEFL: International applicants must also take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL), a standardized test that measures English skills for academic purposes. UW Continuum College recommends that fee-based programs follow the UW Graduate School guidelines for minimum TOEFL scores as part of a holistic admissions process.

“A student should be able to be successful in your program if they have good academic preparation, if they’re highly motivated, have good study skills, and if they’re culturally adaptable,” Janusch says.

English Language Proficiency Requirement: Our office of International & English Language Programs (IELP) offers options for students who must take additional courses to satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirement (ELPR) before graduation, or who simply need extra language support through IELP’s Academic English Program.

Another IELP offering, the Graduate School Preparation Program, is a five-week intensive summer orientation session in August each year. It helps new enrollees build peer networks and learn how to be successful as a graduate student in the United States.

“Most students take it because they want to, not because they need to,” Janusch says. “What students talk about the most about the GPP program in addition to the English language preparation they receive, is that they build an important support group with their cohort. It really sets them up for success for their graduate studies.”

How to Grow International Enrollment in Your Program

International students have good reason to graduate as soon as possible: International study is expensive. 

Many seek out intensive programs they can finish in one year (or less), but Janusch says few international students want to learn online.

“International students are looking to build educational and professional networks while they are in the US,” she says. “That happens in classrooms and labs, or on campus through participation in student groups and activities. 

When you’re ready to reach more international students, maximize your program by working with these key UW contacts:

UW Graduate School: If you’re considering changes to your program, talk with the Graduate School to ensure your program design maximizes its potential to draw international students. 

We’re here to serve as a resource for you

 — Sandi Janusch


FIUTS: An on-campus organization — the Foundation for International Understanding Through Students provides a range of support and services for international graduate students once they are at UW.

Alumni & Faculty: Reach out to faculty to utilize their international contacts. And, stay connected with your international alumni. You can use what you learn about their career outcomes to market your programs and keep alumni engaged.

UW Continuum College: When the time is right, your program manager can leverage UW Continuum College’s international knowledge and recruitment efforts to grow enrollment in your fee-based degrees. Your marketing specialist can help ensure your marketing collateral is far-reaching — and effective. Plus, UW Continuum College works with the Office of Global Affairs and the UW Alumni Association to gather knowledge about the UW’s existing partnerships with international universities.

“We’re here to serve as a resource for you,” Janusch says. “We know that having diverse student populations in fee-based degree programs can enrich the educational experience for all students — they increase opportunities for all students to gain intercultural understanding and competence.”

Want to learn more about how International & Academic Programs works with campus partners? Contact Sandi Janusch at

Since 1912, University of Washington Continuum College has provided innovative learning paths that boost career success and inspire more meaningful lives. With a flexible approach to delivering the right programs for the right people at the right time, Continuum College provides over 50,000 students each year with a high-quality University of Washington education that’s relevant for today’s world and accessible to learners in Seattle and around the globe.