International Students

International students are responsible for maintaining their international status from admission through graduation. International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) should be consulted regularly through the student’s career. Graduate School policy requires all graduate students who are non-native speakers of North American English to be cleared by the International Teaching Assistant Program (ITAP) prior to employment as a Graduate Teaching Assistant (TA). The department recommends all international students attend this training regardless of funding.

All graduate students are expected to have or develop written and oral English proficiency. Any student lacking English proficiency as evidenced by speech, written reports, and/or oral presentations may be required to take additional English or speech coursework. Language courses do not count toward degree coursework requirements.

In response to guidance from U.S. immigration authorities, F-1 visa holders may not request part-time status for a vacation in the Spring or Fall semester. Instead, vacation semesters will be granted automatically to all international students during the summer semesters. However, international students may still take courses in the summer, and eligible Ph.D. students are encouraged to register for dissertation credits (ME EN 7970). Additionally, international students may still choose to take courses from another university during their summer semester, as long as they receive permission to attend another school from ISSS.

Automatically granted summer vacation from registration requirements does not extend to employment status or research effort expectations. Importantly, graduate students receiving a salary or stipend from a research assistantship position — or fellowship, if applicable — are expected to perform research in their lab over the summer; any vacation time must be approved by the principal investigator overseeing their salary or stipend. Students without a source of income directly related to their academic research may participate in Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or on-campus work during their summer vacation semester. However, they may not participate in full-time CPT or on-campus work during non-summer semesters, except during official university breaks (i.e., fall, winter, & spring break).

The Department of Mechanical Engineering values the global community we enjoy, and we welcome students from all countries. We recognize that being an international student has unique advantages and challenges, especially as you adjust to your studies in a new country and culture. We encourage all our international students to make use of the resources available and to seek involvement in departmental, campus, and civic communities.