Welcome, international graduate students!
The University of Minnesota is home to more than 3,000 international graduate students from over 130 countries.
International graduate students enrich our University community by bringing cultural diversity, global perspectives, and academic excellence, and fostering a vibrant and inclusive learning environment for all. We compiled a list of resources specifically designed to help you in addition to many other resources available to everyone at the Graduate School.
Grad InterCom is an initiative that recognizes and caters to the unique needs of our international graduate students. Grad InterCom offers year-round programming including workshops, webinars, social events and online resources to support and build community among our international graduate students.
International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)
International Student and Scholar Services is dedicated to serving the international community at the University of Minnesota. The ISSS serves as a key resource for international graduate students including (but not limited to): advising on non-immigrant visa issues, processing documents needed for maintaining legal status and employment, helping with taxes, providing student leadership opportunities. The ISSS also has an advisor guide for working with international students that you can share with your advisor. Please visit the International Student and Scholar Services' website to learn more about their resources and services.
Council of International Graduate Students (CIGS)
The Council of International Graduate Students (CIGS) is an organization formed by international graduate students in 2014. It is a place for international graduate students to advocate for their needs in academic and professional development. Learn more about CIGS and connect by subscribing to their email list.
Academic Reading, Writing & Communication
Putting your ideas into words can be challenging, especially if English is not your first language. We are here to help you by offering writing support and resources that are tailored to international graduate students.
Minnesota English Learning Program
MELP provides English as a Second Language (ESL) courses that can help multilingual speakers develop their English reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. Courses are offered for credit or non-credit and serve beginners to high-advanced English speakers.
English Language Resources
This website provides multilingual students with guidance and resources to improve their English language skills and enrich their educational experience.
Student Writing Support
YouTube Channel on effective email, professional, and academic writing
From Sheryl Holt, TESOL scholar, former instructor in the Department of Writing Studies and the Carlson School of Management, and author of Success with Academic and Scholarly Writing (2004).
Develop effective posters for posters and presentations
This short online course is designed to help international graduate students and postdocs improve presentation skills for professional and academic contexts.
We understand that there is limited funding available for international graduate students. Here are some opportunities that you can apply for within and outside the University.
- Interdisciplinary Doctoral Fellowship
- Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship
- Thesis Research Travel Grant
- Colonial Dames of America Scholarship
- President’s Student Leadership & Service Award
- Josef Mestenhauser Student Award for Excellence in Campus Internationalization
- ISSS funding opportunities including Culture Corps program
Finding More Funding Opportunities
Culture of Higher Education in the U.S.
The U.S. University classroom culture is student-focused.
- You are expected to be an active learner and participate in the classroom activities and encouraged to think independently, speak up in class, or present your own opinion.
- The interactions between students and professors tend to be informal, and professors make time to work with students one-on-one. They have office hours, which are additional times for students to visit the professor’s office to ask questions or get extra help with the course material.
- Finally, students are expected to rely on their own knowledge and follow University policies on academic dishonesty. Sharing answers, especially during a test, is prohibited. Watch this video to learn how fellow UMN students explain why it’s important to uphold and protect academic integrity at the University of Minnesota. The Office for Community Standards is a helpful resource on learning about plagiarism and avoiding academic dishonesty.
Academic Advisors, Directors of Graduate Studies, and Graduate Program Coordinators
As an international graduate student at the University of Minnesota you will interact often with your academic advisor, Director of Graduate Studies (DGS), and Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC). Academic advisors serve as crucial mentors and guides offering support as international graduate students navigate academic requirements, cultural adjustments, and career pathways. Read more about graduate students’ relationship with academic advisors here and feel free to share this guide on advising and mentoring international graduate students with your advisor.
The Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) and the Graduate Program Coordinator (GPC) are there to provide comprehensive oversight and support to international graduate students by ensuring their smooth integration into the academic program, offering guidance on degree requirements, and navigating administrative processes. Save names and contact information of your DGS and GPC and feel free to contact them via email to ask a question or schedule an appointment.
If you need assistance resolving campus-based problems or have concerns, please contact the Student Conflict Resolution Center. SCRC staff provide confidential, impartial, and informal options for resolving conflicts in a fair manner.
Teaching in English as a multilingual speaker can be challenging. If you are new to US higher educational culture, here are some resources at the Center for Educational Innovation (CEI) to strengthen your teaching and English abilities for your instructor role:
- International Teaching Assistant Program
- Preparing Future Faculty
- Teaching Assistant and Postdoc Professional Development Program
- Live and recorded webinars
You may also want to consult The Red Folder, designed to help you recognize indicators of student distress and how to respond and refer the student appropriately.
Career & Professional Development
Here is a list of resources that can help you get started thinking about your career and professional development:
- Draft your Individual Development Plan (IDP) to reflect on your long and short-term academic and professional goals.
- Find the career services office for your college and schedule a meeting.
- Attend workshops and events organized by the Graduate School and collect digital badges that can be shared on your social media pages.
- Explore UMN career services for international students
Additional resources on career, professional development, and visas
CV, resumes, and academic bio
- Join student organizations to get to know more people
- Network with peers, faculty, and staff across departments (have multiple mentors within or outside the University 7:51)
- Become a member of a diverse network of scholars across the globe
- Create your elevator pitch
- Connect with Alumni with GoldPASS, Maroon and Gold Network
- Conduct informational interviews
- Create your LinkedIn page and showcase your transferable skills (12:54) (checklist)
- Learn how to make connections through networking emails (25:07)
- Tips and strategies for effective networking (34:03)
- Networking for introverts (9:56)
- Learn effective communication and business writing
- Learn tips, strategies, and exercises to build speaking skills
Requesting reference letters
Keep advisors updated on professional goals and professional accomplishments so they can write effective reference letters. Provide a copy of your CV, and the job or fellowship description so they can specifically address how your experience or research fits with the opportunity for which you are applying.
- A comprehensive handout on CVs, cover letters, & Teaching portfolios
- Cover letter
- CVs vs. resumes
- Teaching portfolios/Philosophy
- Research statement
- Diversity statement
- Mock interviews
- Learn how to negotiate job offers early
Resources to find information about employers that sponsor work visas
- Chicago H1B connect: Built by Chicago businesses to attract immigrants.
- Zeno: Employers hiring and ready to sponsor visas – with name and contact email.
- AiTou Technology: Immigration-friendly software engineer and data scientist roles. Also have a Chrome extension.
- MyVisaJobs.com: Search job board. Search E-Verify company database. And more.
- H1B Data: Job board and salary info with filters for companies, jobs, and cities.
- US Sponsor Me: Over 70k+ jobs with filters depending on what kind of visa you are on/need.
- H1B Visa Jobs: Search jobs with filters such as experience level, career level, etc.
- USCIS H1B employer data hub: Data on employers who have submitted petitions to employ H-1B, nonimmigrant workers.
- H1B grader: Find H1B sponsors, salaries, and LCAs.
- Stilt: Search H1B data by salary, sponsor, and location.
- Ultimate H1B sponsor checker: A Chrome extension to find if a company sponsored H1B in the past couple of years when searching for jobs in LinkedIn and Indeed.
- Open Avenues: An amazing non-profit that matches us with a university in America where we can mentor part-time. Because universities come under "cap-exempt" H-1B, there is no need to go through the lottery.
- Formally: Legal collaboration platform that lets users register for the H1B lottery for $1 (you need an employer offer letter).
- List of venture capital firms that specifically say they invest in immigrants:
Health & Well-Being
Graduate school is a stressful time for any student, and international graduate students face unique challenges. Here are some free resources to help you take care of your health and well-being:
- Boynton health for international students
- Community-University Health Care Center with language assistance services
- Wellbeing Resources
- Mental Health Resources
WORKSHOPS AND eVENTS
Grad InterCom Welcome and Roundtable Discussions
Date: September 28, 2023
Time: 3pm - 4:30pm
Location: 101 Walter Library, 117 Pleasant St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455.
The Graduate School will host an in-person event for international graduate students to celebrate the launch of Grad InterCom - an initiative that recognizes and caters to the unique needs of our international graduate students. Grad InterCom offers year-round programming including workshops, webinars, social events and online resources to support and build community among our international graduate students. This event will allow participants to connect with fellow international graduate students and participate in two roundtable discussions: (1) Work authorization and communicating with potential employers facilitated by Marina Uehara, ISSS; and (2) Developing skills for diverse career paths co-facilitated by Noro Andriamanalina and Aimzhan Iztayeva, Graduate School. Light refreshments will be provided. Please join us to make connections and to participate in meaningful discussions as we celebrate the launch of Grad InterCom and the beginning of the new academic year!
Grad InterCom Listserv
Please join our email list if you would like to stay informed about Grad InterCom's latest news, events, and updates by filling out this form.