Welcome to the University of Louisville!
UofL is an international center of learning where students and researchers worldwide come to study. The university has a vibrant community of international students and scholars as well as a range of service and resources for supporting them.
This page provides guidelines and resources for prospective and new international students.
Applying to study at the University of Louisville
Where and when do I start?
Applying to study in the United States requires substantial preparation and careful advance planning. Giving sufficient time to prepare and take the required tests, understanding the specific requirements of the program you want to apply to, and developing the application materials accordingly will increase your chances of being accepted for admission and financial support.
What are the requirements for applying?
- The general directions and requirements for all graduate applicants include the online application for admission, $60 (US currency) application fee, official transcripts, test scores (GRE and TOEFL or IELTS), and at least two letters of recommendation.
- As an international applicant, you must also fulfill additional requirements as determined by your department. These may include, but are not limited to transcript evaluations, proof of English proficiency, resume/CV, personal statement, etc.
When is the best time to apply?
Typically, international graduate students apply to start in the fall to begin the following fall semester. Applying early allows sufficient time for departments to consider your application when making funding decisions for graduate assistantships and fellowships. However, each department does have a specified deadline to apply for admission that may be later than the funding deadlines. For specific deadlines, you should visit the admissions related pages on your intended department's website.
Note: Make sure to mail your application materials with sufficient time to reach the university. Please use a reliable courier.
How do I apply?
To apply for graduate study, you must
- Create an account, then complete and submit your online application form
- Mail all other application materials as specified as needed by your department
Where should I mail the application materials?
You should send all application materials to the following address:
I've applied. What's next?
- You can check the status of your application online by visiting http://ulink.louisville.edu. Click on the student services tab and then view my graduate application status. If you are unable to obtain your user ID because you do not know your student ID number, please e-mail the graduate admissions office at firstname.lastname@example.org and your ID number can be sent to you.
- Make sure to have reliable mailing and email addresses for future contact from UofL. Update immediately if either change via ULink.
I have received the Form I-20 (or DS2019). Now what?
The Form I-20 (or DS2019) is a document that contains specific information about your admission status, tuition and stipend specifications, and the duration of time that the university requests the immigration department to allow you to stay in the US in order to complete your degree. When you receive this form:
- Apply for a student visa by using this document and other required materials. Contact your local consular office for more information.
- If you plan to have your spouse or dependent children accompany you, you should request the International Center to send you separate Form I-20s (or DS2019s) for each person. The department you apply to will only request the International Center to send one of those forms for you.
Note: It is advisable that you apply for your visa in advance because the influx of applicants at your local consular office can be longer than expected during admission seasons.
What considerations should I make to bring my spouse/family with me?
There are certainly some challenges for students with families. For instance, getting good health insurance coverage for dependents is hard. But there are a lot of positive sides to living with a family in Louisville.
- This southern city is home to welcoming, polite, and nice people.
- Louisville is a great environment with many nice facilities.
- School-aged children are able to attend the local public schools, where tuition is free.
To learn more about living in Louisville, visit http://www.louisvilleky.gov.
Are there any financial support options for international graduate students?
- Most international graduate students apply for service, research, or teaching assistantship positions along with admission.
- The School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies also provides fellowships to a limited number of graduate students. Since graduate applicants are nominated for these positions by departments, you only need to fulfill admission requirements to be considered.
Note: Assistantships and fellowships usually include full tuition and a stipend with which students cover their living expenses. If your I-20 shows sufficient support to cover tuition and living expenses, you will not need to submit any additional financial documents.
Do I need to show proof of additional finances if I have an assistantship?
Your I-20 or DS2019 will show whether and how much financial resources you must show proof for when you go for the visa interview.
- If your Form I-20 (or DS2019) doesn't sufficiently cover the expenses for your study and living, you must show additional proof of full financial ability to the consular officer.
- For any dependents who will accompany you, you should show proof of $2,500 for every dependent, either on your Form I-20 or DS 2019 or other documentation.
- You should also find out if the consular office in your country/area has a different requirement or if your country's government has any financial restrictions for students studying abroad.
What are the work permit restrictions for international students?
- International students can only work up to 20 hours on campus during spring and fall semesters, which is normally assistantship positions assigned by departments.
- During summer (June-July), international students can work up to 40 hours, but only on campus. For permission to work off campus, you will need to apply to the International Center. Immigration law prohibits spouses and dependent children of international students on F-1 visa to work. However, the spouses and dependent children of exchange scholars/visitors on J-1 visas can apply to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for permission to work in the United States.
Are offers of admission and stipends a guarantee for being granted a visa?
Unfortunately, no. Chances of obtaining a visa depend on:
- the size of your stipend or proof of financial ability
- your ability to demonstrate the intent to return home after study
- your academic records and/or Proof of English Proficiency
Students should be prepared to present strong evidence in the above areas to increase their chances of obtaining a visa.
What comes after I obtain my visa?
Congratulations! You are now ready to prepare and come to the University of Louisville.
- You may want to get in touch with other students in the US, if possible in Louisville, to find out about the city, the university, and so on.
- Make sure to read all information provided by the International Center, School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies, and your department.
- Take time to learn a little about the weather, transportation, accommodation, food, places, etc in advance, there won’t be too many surprises when you land here.
How do I register for courses?
- Consult your department’s Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) to determine when you can register for courses for the first semester.
- Course registration is done via ULink. Log on and click on the student services tab, then enrollment, then add, drop, or swap courses to begin.
- If you are unsure what courses to register for, consult your DGS.
How do I find housing accommodations?
Renting an apartment can be tricky for international students, because
- You need to have a Social Security Number (which you can only apply after 10 days of your arrival in the US and will receive in about 3 more weeks), a credit history check, and proof of income.
- You must sign a rental contract in person.
- Apartment owners normally require security and advance deposits.
- Apartments close to campus tend to run out of supply early in the summer, and in some cases, a few months before academic semesters begin. This issue applies to on campus housing as well.
Not all apartment owners may require all the above, so you may be able to find and rent an apartment more easily. Note that University Housing doesn't require the conditions above, but also remember that this option may no longer be available when you arrive. So, you may have to arrange temporary accommodations until you can rent your own apartment.
Temporary accommodation may include:
- the temporary housing service run by University Housing
- local families who offer to host new international students for a short period of time
- affordable local room and board services
Note: If you plan to live at a distance from campus, you should plan accordingly for transportation.
Arriving at Louisville International Airport
Before taking off from your country, contact the International Center for information about arrival options in Louisville.
Transportation options upon your arrival include reserving a rental car to be picked-up when you arrive at the Louisville International Airport.
Taxicabs are also available at the traffic island. The taxicab companies in Louisville are Ready Cab and Yellow Cab.
The Transit Authority of River City (TARC) also provides bus service at the airport. Free TARC schedules are available at the airport information booth. You must have correct change to ride TARC. TARC pick-up is located on the island on the east end of the terminal.
Courtesy Vans are for those who will need travel assistance to and from the airport to their hotel or motel. The Reservation Center calling board is located on the lower level next to the Information Booth. Hotel/motel vans are parked to the right of the taxi stand on the green curb.
- Anyone who offers to help international students with their transition do so as volunteers, so they should not be treated as “responsible” to meet your needs
- You should expect the process of sociocultural, academic, and climactic adjustment to be challenging
Any survival tips for the newly arrived?
Read the Graduate Student Handbook for detailed information; however, here are some quick tips:
- Attend International Center orientations, the School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies orientation (this is required if you are a GTA), your department's orientation, and any social events on campus.
- Get to know other graduate students in and beyond your department, both local and international.
- Be proactive in finding out about basic services—transportation, banking, mail services, communication, food, laundry, lodging—before you are in dire need of them. Use the web to find out what you need.
- Do not hesitate to ask for help when needed. Do not hesitate to ask people to clarify things for you.
- Take notes. Use a calendar to mark events and times. Keep a list of important numbers with you.
What are the options for transportation?
- City buses are free for students with their university ID card.
- If you plan to drive to campus, you must buy a parking permit from the Parking Office.
Maintaining Student Status, Adapting to the System, and Succeeding
What do I need to do to maintain my legal/student status?
As part of maintaining your legal status, you should also update your address, change in degree status, and so on in the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS), a web-based system that allows schools, U.S. consulates, U.S. ports of entry, and other U.S. government agencies to exchange data on the visa status of international students and scholars. In order to maintain your legal status as a student, you must:
- enroll full-time each fall and spring semester
- accept employment only on campus and as authorized by your department and the International Center
- maintain a valid passport at any time you travel outside the US
- keep your I–20 or DS–2019 form valid and up-to-date at all times
- update address changes in ULink within ten days of moving
Through the International Center, you must also update the following types of information about your status on the SEVIS system:
- your student and visa statuses (normally within 10 days of any change)
- any other changes in your academic status, including major or degree level, and changes in enrollment, such as failing to enroll or enrolling less than full time.
Note: You need to have both your permanent address in your home country and your mailing address here in the US current in the both SEVIS and ULink.
What is academic good standing?
In addition to maintaining your legal status as a student, it is also very important to maintain your good standing status as a student in your program.
Academic good standing status is based on:
- your timely progress in the degree program
- your GPA and overall academic performance
What challenges should I anticipate in adapting to the new academic system?
Even though university education may seem universal, academic cultures, practices, and standards are different in different countries. Such differences include
- the nature of academic assignments and projects
- relationship between teacher and students, role of students in the classroom or lab
- the practice of meeting the professor in his/her office, making appointments
- ways in which you can and cannot borrow ideas from the research and writing of other scholars
- selecting your own courses to take, finding your own topics to research and write about, developing your own specialization
How can I best adjust to and succeed in this system?
In order to quickly learn and adjust to the new academic environment, you should:
- seek advice or support from relevant people in your department
- learn the new terms and concepts about academic practices, about discipline-specific practices, and about how things are done in your program
- get to know more advanced fellow students in your program
- see if your department has a student mentoring program whereby a more advanced student in the program will be paired with you to share his/her experiences
- not hesitate to seek help from your professors - visit them in their offices during specified office hours or email them for appointments
- consult your academic advisor or mentor about more general issues
- attend the International Graduate Student Academic Transition PLAN workshop
- In order to increase your professional skills, as well as to chart a broader course of development as a scholar, attend the PLAN events organized by SIGS