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International Students

Arrival dates

For those of our MSE or WE students funded by a GRA, there is an arrival process required that must be completed before the student may enroll in any credits. For the term listed, please arrive by the date below to assure that your funding is in place to pay tuition costs and provide you a monthly stipend.

Term GRA Arrive by Term starts
Summer 2019 4/12/19 5/8/19
Autumn 2019 7/29/19 8/20/19

Please note:

  • If arrival by the given date is impossible, please contact Mark Cooper immediately.
  • A student funded by a GRA should not enroll in any credits until s/he has been informed that funding is active.

Prior to arrival, please schedule a department orientation with Mark Cooper, Graduate Studies Coordinator. Orientations are 30-45 minutes in length and overview important department and graduate studies matters.

Pre-departure checklist

  • Accept the offer of admission via your OSU application account
  • Activate your OSU account
  • Obtain US Visa
  • Arrange for temporary and long-term housing
  • Arrange for pick-up at Port Columbus
  • Prepare medical information
  • Arrange finances
  • Maintain contact with MSE
  • Schedule an orientation session with Mark Cooper

The process of preparing to come to the US to study is no small task! This page is a summary of key items you will need to address prior to your arrival on campus. Please also refer to the the Office of International Affairs (OIA) International Student Handbook included with your I-20.

Visa information

Be sure to review the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement information on "How to Navigate the US Immigration System". This information from US ICE details what to expect at the border, which documents you should keep on your person when traveling, and other important items.

Arrival date & OIA Orientation

Please note the Reporting Date on your I-20. You must arrive in the US by this date. If you wish, you may arrive as early as 30 days prior to the Reporting Date, but no earlier.

The Reporting Date is about two weeks prior to the start of classes and thus will give you sufficient time to attend the OIA orientation programs and become acclimated to Ohio State. Completion of the OIA orientation is mandatory; you will not be permitted to register for courses until you have attended an orientation session.

OIA will send a series of emails leading up to your term of admission. These emails will help prepare you for arrival at Ohio State. See also OIA's "Graduate Pre-Arrival" information.

Before you arrive

A few key items should be addressed prior to arriving on campus, 1) accept admission, 2) OSU account activation, 3) securing temporary and long-term housing, and 4) plan for transportation from the Columbus airport.

Accept admission

By way of your OSU application account, please follow the "Accept/Decline" link to formally accept admission.

Please understand: acceptance of admission implies adherence to the university's Code of Student Conduct and an understanding of academic misconduct and its consequences.

See also the "Academics" section of the OIA International Student Handbook (PDF). This section defines the academic conduct expected of students in the United States.

Activate your OSU internet account

Before arriving, you may activate your OSU internet account. An e-mail/internet account is provided to all OSU students. The user name and password you establish for this account will permit on-line access to such things as course scheduling, grades, course web sites, and other important web-based resources provided by the university.

To activate your account, please go to the following web site:

  • Click "Activate Now!" and follow the activation process. Associated with your application account should be an OSU user name in the form of "lastname.###" (such as "cooper.73")
  • Be sure to note your OSU username and the password you established. These items will allow you to register for classes, check grades, etc.

If you are unable to activate your account from off campus, that is not a problem. Upon your arrival on campus you may use one of the public computing sites to activate your account.


It is strongly recommended that you secure housing, both temporary and long term, prior to your arrival on campus. For further information about the options available, please see the Housing page of this site.

Transportation from the airport

Please arrange for transportation from Port Columbus to your temporary housing well before your arrival date. Taxis may be hired at the airport (roughly $30-$50, plus tip, from Port Columbus to the OSU campus area). You may wish to make arrangements with the International Friendships student organization or an OSU student nationality group to meet you at the airport.

Registering for Courses

Three things must occur before an international student may register for courses:

1) Arrive on campus and complete the Office of International Affairs Orientation

2) Secure an MSE or WE advisor (this assumes the student is receiving GRA support)

3) If funded by a GRA, all employment paper work must be processed by the university and the GRA funding in place prior to registering.

Before registering for graded classes, you must first discuss with your advisor which graded courses you should take. Graduate level courses are rarely closed, so you will not be shut out of a class due to late arrival.

After establishing which courses you will take, students use the OSU Registrar's on-line registration system (BuckeyeLink) to enroll in classes--see "Course enrollment" page for further information.

Health insurance and health screening

Health insurance

All international students are automatically enrolled in the OSU Student Health Insurance Plan (SHIP) upon course enrollment. Further information about this health coverage is found on the "Health & Medical" page of this site.

International student health screening

See also the OSU Office of International Affairs

All international students entering Ohio State with an F-1 or J-1 visa are to undergo a brief health screening through Student Health Services.

At orientation, you will:

  • Complete your health screening. The screening will include questions about any medical conditions you have, what medications you are currently taking, and what allergies to medications you have, if any. 
  • Submit your mandatory vaccination requirement form. Complete the vaccination form to the best of your ability and have it verified by a medical provider before your arrival. Some vaccinations that are unavailable in certain countries are available in the United States and covered by your student health insurance. 

You will be given a time for your screening during check-in at the Office of International Affairs. Failure to complete this screening will cause a registration hold to be placed on your account. The screening is free to students who are enrolled in the Ohio State Student Health Insurance plan and who attend during their required screening day and time.

Some helpful points when preparing to come to Ohio State:

  1. Please review and complete the OSU Student Health Services Vaccination Requirement.
  2. Bring any medical information and any information about long-term health problems with you with an English translation (for example prescription information, previous chest x-rays, vaccines). There are no immunization requirements for most students entering The Ohio State University. However, depending on the program you enter, there may be requirements for that program. For example, most of the health professional schools, like medicine and nursing, have extensive requirements. If this is a medicine that you need to take regularly, make sure that your doctor sends you with an adequate supply until you can be seen at the Student Health Center or another clinic.
  3. If you take medications, talk with your physician to translate the drug into English or at least know the class of drug in English.

MSE-WE Department Orientation

Please contact Mark Cooper, MSE-WE Graduate Studies Coordinator, and schedule a department orientation. Orientation sessions last approximately 30-45 minutes and will review the basics of registration and enrollment, department trivia, and important university resources that are usefull for our graduate students.

Graduate School orientation

The Graduate School and the Council of Graduate Students will host a university-wide orientation for all new graduate students (i.e., Spring, Summer, and Autumn arrivals). This orientation will be held annually on the Monday before the start of Autumn term classes, from 9:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. (there is no Graduate School orientation for Spring or Summer terms). This orientation is a very valuable introduction to the services provided by the Graduate School, the Graduate Student Council, and various offices across campus. 


As regards finances, please note that if you were offered a Graduate Research Associate (GRA) position, you can not be paid until after the start of your term of admission. Therefore, you will be responsible to supply your own funds from the date you arrive until you receive your first paycheck from the university (approximately FIVE WEEKS AFTER the start of your term of admission due to check processing time). Some additional expenses you may wish to keep in mind:

  • deposits and rent for housing (often 1-2 months' worth of rent in advance),
  • misc. student fees for which you are responsible (approx. $450 per term--note that for GRA-funded students, these fees will be automatically deducted from the student's stipend check and thus does not need to be paid out-of-pocket upon arrival),
  • entertainment, etc.

Note: If you arrive in the US or on campus long before the start of your term of admission, international students may face a difficult financial situation in terms of paying for lodging, meals, and recreation. While you may typically enter the US before the date listed on section 5 of your I-20, expenses in the US can be significant. Many of the OSU student nationality clubs (use link to search for nationality clubs) offer advice on how much money you will need to carry you through this period.

Important resources

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement International Student site. Provides links to important student visitor information regarding documents, what to expect, FAQ's, and more.

The Office of International Affairs--OIA is the office at Ohio State dedicated to assisting our international students with cultural, immigration, and academic issues as they pertain to life at OSU. The Office of International Affairs provides a great deal of helpful information about life as a student at Ohio State and what to expect. Addresses such issues as packing, weather, housing, safety, groceries, health care, and much more.

International Friendships is a registered Ohio State University student organization and Christian community group seeking to promote friendship and hospitality for international students. This group offers airport pickup and temporary housing as well as welcome activities and English conversation partners.