Numbers of graduate students increases


Samiya Khan

Statistics released by the UTSA Office of Institutional Research last week show that more students are pursuing graduate degrees this spring than in previous years.

4,400 UTSA students are pursuing post-baccalaureate or graduate degrees this spring, compared to the 4,100 students pursuing such degrees in Spring 2016.

For many international students, the graduate programs at UTSA offer an exciting opportunity to further one’s career development.

“The style of teaching in the U.S. is completely different than the style of teaching in India.” Swathi Shivakumar, a Masters student in computer science said,  “In India, there is a greater emphasis on memorization, but the consequence is that students are often spoon fed answers. In the U.S. and at UTSA, the professors test our critical thinking skills and show us how we can implement computer science in our future careers.”

Prasanthi Akella, a recent masters graduate in computer science at UTSA furthers that UTSA offers not only a multitude of research opportunities, but also financial support for international students.

Akella said, “If you are doing well in your studies, then your tuition fee can be waived up to 60 percent. This is immensely helpful because international tuition is very high and is oftentimes one of the main reasons that people overseas decide not to pursue graduate study in the U.S.”

An example of a department that has grown is the communication department. Dr. Seok Kang, a graduate advisor for the department of communication stated that he has noticed an “increase in graduate application” and credits the rise in graduate students also to the VIP program, a program that streamlines the process of graduate admission by allowing UTSA faculty to sponsor eligible UTSA seniors for admission into the graduate school.

When looking at overall enrollment, including undergraduate enrollment, there are about 500 more students enrolled in the spring semester this year than there were a year ago. The majority of these students are majoring in degrees offered by the College of Liberal and Fine Arts.

Jeanne C. Reesman, Ph.D, a Jack & Laura Richmond Endowed Faculty Fellow, former Graduate Dean and Director of English, Classics, Philosophy and Communication credits the rise in students majoring in COLFA subjects to UTSA’s expansion. “We have more programs now; we are certainly seeking out and hiring top faculty researchers; we have gained in endowments; our national and international ‘footprint’ is growing”.

Dr. Reesman also offers crucial advice to undergraduates interested in pursuing graduate degrees. She stated, “I would first advise the student to talk to his or her professors about schools and programs. Second, scour prospective school’s website. See if you can talk to a graduate advisor, and ask about the money, how long it lasts, and what are your precise requirements and duties. Ask about their record in job placement.”