Preparing for Graduate Study in the U.S.: A course for international students


This course prepares you to embark upon your future graduate studies in the U.S. with confidence. In this MOOC, you’ll have the opportunity to meet other prospective graduate students, hear from experienced international graduate students in the United States, and to practice sharing your own thoughts, stories, and expertise in English. You’ll select a “target” graduate program at a U.S. college or university to use as a case study throughout the course. You may already be admitted to this program, or it may be an institution you hope to attend in the future. You will identify resources that support international graduate students in your target campus. You will have multiple opportunities to practice your English language skills through practice assignments and through interactions with one another.

By completing the course, you should enhance your ability to reach the following objectives for the purpose of communicating successfully as a new international graduate student studying in the United States.
1. Introduce yourself professionally
a. Explain your expertise
b. Begin networking with members of your target institution
2. Explore the campus climate of your target institution
a. Identify the local vocabulary used at your target institution to describe campus climate topics such as diversity, inclusion, or equity
b. Identify skills and perspectives you can contribute to the diversity of your target institution
3. For collaboration
a. Use English to negotiate group roles
b. Use English to express opinions
4. For academic writing
a. Identify disciplinary norms in academic writing
b. Cite source material appropriately in academic writing
5. For improving English
a. Use at least three digital resources to investigate language use
b. Use at least three digital resources to practice English fluency
c. Use at least two new daily life opportunities to improve English for academic, social, or teaching purposes

What you will learn

Week 1: Getting Acquainted

In this first week together, we will begin getting to know one another, not just in writing, but by video too. We will also start getting to know a variety of graduate programs in the U.S., as we will each select a “target” graduate program at a U.S. college or university to use as a case study throughout the course. We will offer examples from our institution, the University of Michigan – Ann Arbor, where this course was created.

Week 2: Introducing Yourself Professionally

Upon arrival on campus, we’ll all have the opportunity to introduce ourselves and our graduate work over and over again. To become well-prepared to seize these opportunities for building solid relationships on our new campuses, we’ll focus this week on developing an “elevator pitch” or short introduction to who we are, what we are studying, and why.

Week 3: English for Interactive Learning & Teamwork

This week focuses on the many ways in which graduate students work together and with faculty in groups and teams. We’ll look at the value of diverse group composition. We will explore language used to negotiate roles and prevent misunderstandings in collaborative settings.

Week 4: English for Research & Scholarship

Of course the primary reason to pursue graduate studies is to learn about and participate in research and scholarship in your field. This week, we’ll be looking at framing our own expertise, collaborating with faculty, and conventions around engaging with published scholarly writing.

What’s included