Ohio State ranks among top universities for education abroad and international students

The Ohio State University is ranked in the top 10 nationally among doctoral institutions for the number of students studying abroad and is in the top 25 for its international student enrollment, according to a national report released November 13.

Ohio State ranks 7th among the nation’s colleges and universities and 3rd in the Big Ten with 2,714 students studying abroad in 2016-17. The university also ranks 2nd in the nation for the number of students participating in short-term programs with 2,632 studying abroad for one to eight weeks during the academic year. A slight decrease in study abroad enrollment can be attributed to the more than 230 students in the Ohio State Marching Band that participated on a one-time-only short-term program to London during 2015-16, contributing to Ohio State’s No. 5 ranking last year with 2,886 students studying abroad.

Ohio State ranks 23rd in the nation with 7,110* international students enrolled in 2017, a 7.5 percent decrease in enrollment from the previous year. The decrease can be attributed to fewer international students participating in Optional Practical Training (OPT) and non-degree programs last year. In 2016, Ohio State had 1,429 international students participating in OPT and 84 in non-degree programs, while in 2017 there were 928 and 94, respectively.

These findings were issued as part of the 2018 Open Doors Report, an annual survey published by the Institute of International Education in partnership with the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

Factors contributing to students studying abroad at Ohio State include: programming geared toward first and second year students, the Second Year Transformational Experiences Program, a university-wide commitment to make international opportunities more accessible to diverse student populations, involvement of more than 100 Ohio State faculty leading programs, and offering close to 60 study abroad opportunities during the month of May. Of the 2,717 students that studied abroad in 2016-17, close to 1,700 took advantage of studying abroad in May.

International student enrollment in the classroom remained fairly steady over the last two years with 6,088 in 2017 and 6,255 in 2016. International students at Ohio State hail from more than 100 countries including, China (4,541); India (696); South Korea (373); Malaysia (286); and Taiwan (143). Nationally, the leading home countries for international students are China, India, South Korea, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

The top fields of study at Ohio State for international students include engineering, business, mathematics and statistics and the social sciences, similar to the national trend.

The most popular destinations for Ohio State students to study abroad include the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Spain and China. Nationally, the leading destinations for studying abroad are the United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, France and Germany. The top fields of study for Ohio State students studying abroad are business, health professions, biological and biomedical sciences, engineering, social sciences and agriculture, whereas the national trend includes STEM fields, business and management and the social sciences.

The 2018 Open Doors Report is released as part of the nationwide observance of International Education Week (November 12-16), a joint initiative established by the U.S. Departments of Education and State. At Ohio State, International Education Week is celebrated with a number of activities supported by the Office of International Affairs, which oversees Ohio State’s education abroad programs and international student and scholar services. The office also advances high quality international education programs, scholarships and service activities to promote global opportunities for Ohio State, its faculty, staff and students. For more information, visit

* The IIE’s collection of enrollment data for international students includes two categories of students who are not currently enrolled at Ohio State in classes for credit. They include “Optional Practical Training” students who are not taking classes, but are continuing their education through practical training in their field of study, and exchange students who are pursuing continuing (non-degree) education.