Plant Sciences


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International Students

by Fran Hogan Department of Plant Sciences is interested in attracting international students with strong academic ability and above average English language proficiency. Although international students are directed to for helpful information before and after arrival at NDSU, the following is also provided:

ACADEMIC STANDING. To be considered for admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold a baccalaureate degree from an educational institution with recognized standing before beginning graduate studies. However, applications will be accepted and processed in advance of graduation when the amount of undergraduate work to be completed is not more than 15 semester hours. Undergraduate work should be equivalent to a B average or greater.

ENGLISH LANGUAGE PROFICIENCY. Scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL or IELTS) must be submitted by graduate applicants at the time of application.

GRADUATE RECORD EXAMINATION (GRE). Scores from the GRE (V/Q/A) must be submitted by graduate applicants at the time of application.

FINANCES. Certification of adequate financial support is required from all international applicants other than permanent residents of the U.S., parolees, refugees, U.S. trust territory applicants, or immigrants. Admission will not be granted until proof of funds for the duration of study has been submitted. An NDSU International Student Financial Form must be completed and returned before admission is granted,

VACCINATION RECORDS. To register, all students must bring with them original or certified copies of their records of vaccination for communicable diseases (diphtheria, measles, rubella, whooping cough, tetanus, polio). Questions concerning this requirement should be directed to the Office of International Programs, Memorial Union 116, phone number 701-231-7895.

HEALTH INSURANCE. In compliance with the North Dakota Board of Higher Education Policy, North Dakota State University requires all international students to purchase the medical insurance policy approved by the Commissioner of Higher Education for their protection in case of accident or illness. Failure to provide proof of insurance will result in cancellation of registration for students who are pre-registered or a hold on registration for those not pre-registered. Married students should also purchase a policy for their spouse and families. More information is available online at or in the Office of International Programs, Memorial Union 116, phone number 701-231-7895.

CREDIT LOAD REQUIREMENT. International graduate students are required by U.S. immigration law to carry a full course of study. By NDSU rules, full-time means a minimum of 9 credit hours per semester for graduate students not on assistantship and 6 credit hours for a 1/2 time assistantship. However, there are exceptions. For example, a student who has completed all other coursework and has only the research thesis remaining may register for only one credit but is considered "full-time". The Department Head or major advisor may need to send a letter to verify "full-time" status. Failure to comply with this requirement will result in loss of student status as defined by the Immigration Service. Out-of-status students are not eligible for benefits such as practical training and can be deported by the Immigration Service.

U.S. ENTRY FOR F-1 STUDENTS. International students who use the I-20 issued by NDSU to enter the U.S. and fail to register within 60 days may be reported to the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS). Students are responsible for maintaining their F-1 or J-1 status as defined by the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS).

EMPLOYMENT. Because of employment restrictions, international students on F-1 visas should not expect to work for compensation outside the university. International students may be employed on campus provided they have maintained their immigration status and they are in good academic standing. Such on-campus employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week and 40 hours during vacation time. On-campus employment for first-year students may be difficult to obtain. Students on half-time assistantships may not work additional hours during the school term. Under no circumstances may a dependent or spouse of an F-1 student (F-2) be employed. Students in J-1 status should talk with an international student advisor about employment eligibility. Some sponsoring agencies do not allow for J-1 students to work. However, if a student is under a sponsored exchange program, such as International Student Exchange Program (ISEP), the student must obtain approval to work from their specific program. A dependent or spouse of a J-1 student (J-2) may work only with the approval of the Office of International Programs and the Immigration Office. In most cases, work authorization is difficult to obtain.

TRANSFER OF FUNDS. There are often difficulties in transferring funds from foreign countries to the United States. Students are responsible for knowing their government's requirements for foreign currency exchange permission and for requesting and submitting appropriate documents required for transfer of funds from their countries to the United States. The Office of International Programs can issue appropriate letters of certificates, which may be of assistance to students.

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS. The following is a partial list of organizations for international students: International Student Association, African Student Union, Chinese Student Association, Hong Kong Student Association, India-America Student Association, Islamic Society, Korean Student Association, Kurdistanian Student Association, Latin American Student Association, Malaysian Student Association, Singapore Student Association, Tri-College Christian Fellowship, Union of Chinese Students and Scholars, and International Wives Club (off campus).

INTERNATIONAL STUDENT ADVISORS. NDSU maintains an Office of International Programs. The office activities include international student orientation, interpretation of immigration regulations, advising of international students, and a variety of support services and activities. The staff of the Office of International Programs are assigned the responsibility of approving and signing all immigration forms. International students are encouraged to seek advice for all of their questions by making an appointment to see an international student advisor at the Office of International Programs. The office is located at Memorial Union 116.

Office of International Programs
NDSU Dept. 4620
P.O. Box 6050
Fargo, ND 58108-6050
Phone: 1-701-231-7895

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