A new scholarship award at the University of Guelph will welcome more international students, diversify the U of G campus and encourage international student retention, says Dr. Ben Bradshaw, assistant vice-president (graduate studies).
Under the international master’s tuition scholarships (IMTS) being introduced this year, international students currently completing their undergraduate degrees at U of G will be eligible for funding of $20,000 for a thesis-based master’s program or $6,000 for a course-based program.
“This initiative will help the University globalize the campus and foster more international engagement,” said Bradshaw.
International students looking for high-quality learning and research opportunities represent growth potential for U of G, he said.
Out of just over 450 international students currently enrolled in master’s programs on campus, Bradshaw said, only 15 completed their undergraduate degrees here. “We would love to see that number grow to 50 and beyond with the introduction of the IMTS.”
Helping globalize U of G’s campus
The award will be available to all international students who have completed a four-year undergrad at U of G and hold at least a B average. The new award will be paid for through internal University funds.
Along with existing funding opportunities – including research assistantships and graduate teaching assistantships – the new award will enable many international master’s students in thesis-based programs to cover most of the difference between international and domestic tuition fees, said Bradshaw.
That will help departments across campus retain talented international students to conduct research in various fields, he said. In turn, students will gain research experience, including an opportunity to co-author publications with faculty supervisors – a key achievement as students look to doctoral-level training or professional careers after graduation.
“This means that faculty who want to advise a great international student that they have met in a student’s fourth year of undergraduate studies can now afford to put together a funding package that will enable the student to stay at U of G,” said Bradshaw.
For international students in professionally oriented course-based programs (without a thesis) such as U of G’s sought-after master of public health and the master of cybersecurity and threat intelligence, Bradshaw added, “the $6,000 award offers a more modest, albeit welcome, contribution to their overall costs.”
The new IMTS benefits not just students but also faculty scholars and researchers across campus, said Dr. Stuart McCook, assistant vice-president (international).
“The IMTS makes it easier for departments to build competitive funding offers for international master’s students,” said McCook. “In combination with other awards, this new award can make it possible for these talented students to pursue graduate studies here.”
Foster more international engagement
Since 2019, U of G has offered international doctoral tuition scholarships that cover the difference between domestic and international tuition fees. International doctoral student enrolments have increased to 275 from 200 in 2018.
The new IMTS will be marketed through the U of G website and social media as well as direct communications to current international undergraduates.
The University will also promote the award as part of its ongoing international recruitment efforts.
Bradshaw said, “We will inform our agents abroad so that they can let prospective undergraduate students know that the University of Guelph is keen to support their graduate studies if they choose to join us for undergraduate studies.”
McCook said the IMTS is part of a global engagement plan completed by the Office of International Strategies and Partnerships this past fall. That plan meshes with internationalization as a core priority within the University’s overall strategic plan.
“International students play an important role at the University of Guelph,” said McCook. “They bring expertise to the University and enrich our classes and labs and our life as an institution, including enhancing our institutional reputation. We need to embrace international students as a core part of the University’s life.”
Dr. Ben Bradshaw