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International Students

As an international student, you make our campus a far better place to live and learn. As happy as we are to have you here at Purdue, many professional programs in the United States, unfortunately, make it difficult to be admitted as an international student. Many professional schools will not accept international students who do not have permanent resident visas (a green card). Why? They recognize that your tuition does not cover the expense of training a professional so they are investing in you. Their fear, often based on past experience, is that you could lose your funding midway through your training and their investment would then be lost.

In general, you will need to have excellent credentials as an applicant. Professional school admissions are competitive. For you it will be even more so. This means that you need to plan ahead, be organized, and continue to study hard. While the admissions statistics for international students look bleak, it is not impossible to get in. The only way you know that you won't get in is if you don't apply.

Please note: Although medical and dental schools are often very restrictive about accepting international students, other healthcare programs are more open to international students. Law schools each have their own policies toward international students, but have been more welcoming in recent years. 

Most professional programs will require a TOEFL exam and proof of ability to finance your education. This can be problematic as scholarships for legal and medical/dental training are relatively rare and most American students fund their medical training with U.S. government loans, which are only available to U.S. citizens. Others expect you to have two–four years of tuition (between $40,000-200,000) in an account before you will be allowed to enroll.

Some Options

  • Secure a loan from a private bank. This will generally require a U.S. citizen to serve as a co-signer.

  • Consider an international medical school either in your home country, the Caribbean or another country.

  • Look into the International MD Program at George Washington University, a program designed for international students who would like to enter an American medical school but wish to practice in their home country.

  • For pre-med students, consider an MD/PhD. These programs are highly competitive but a few are more open to international students.

  • If you are interested in international health, you might want to consider the Ben-Gurion/Columbia program, a collaboration between Ben-Gurion University and Columbia University focused on graduating doctors with special skills in primary care and community, preventative, and population-based medicine. 

Although it may seem bleak, we do have international students from Purdue who are admitted into programs. What we tell all students is to make parallel plans. (You can read our Parallel Planning Guide here.) Yes, plan to apply to the program that most interests you and work hard to be a competitive applicant for that program. But also make some contingency plans in case that does not work when you apply the first time.

We are happy to meet with you and talk about your interests in professional fields and attending programs in the U.S. Please make an appointment to come meet with us.

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