Understanding of International Doctoral Students’ Challenges

A Literature Review Study





academic success, international doctoral students , internationalization, students’ experience


Studies pertaining to the challenges international doctoral students confront have been disseminated at various conferences and in journals. However, there is a need to synthesize recent research to assess and advance contemporary theories about international doctoral students. Using meta-synthesis, this article discusses the literature’s main themes and the relationship between theory and the literature findings. A new tentative framework is proposed based on the results. Implications for international doctoral students’ academic success are also discussed.

Author Biography

Yan Gao, University of Victoria, Canada

Yan Gao, PhD, is a research associate in the Faculty of Education, University of Victoria in Canada. Her major research interests lie in the area of international students, academic success, cross-cultural education, and higher education research.


Baba, Y., & Hosoda, M. (2014). Home away home: Better understanding of the role of social support in predicting cross-cultural adjustment among international students. College Student Journal, 48(1), 1–16.

Okahana, H., & Zhou, E. (2019). International graduate applications and enrollment: Fall 2018. Council of Graduate Schools.

Sandelowski, M., & Barroso, J. (2007). Handbook for synthesizing qualitative research. Springer Pub. Co.

Tinto, V. (1987). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition. The University of Chicago Press.

Tinto, V. (1993). Leaving college: Rethinking the causes and cures of student attrition (2nd ed.). The University of Chicago Press.

UK Council for International Student Affairs. (2019). International student statistics: UK higher education. https://www.ukcisa.org.uk/Research--Policy/Statistics/International-student-statistics-UK-higher-education




How to Cite

Gao, Y. (2021). Understanding of International Doctoral Students’ Challenges: A Literature Review Study. Journal of International Students, 11(2), 505–513. https://doi.org/10.32674/jis.v11i2.2065



Research in Context