Check Out Our Sponsor

Dear Mentor:

Can I start a PhD while holding an H4 visa?
Archives (more questions)
Ask Dear Mentor:
Submit a Question

I have done my MSc in botany from India, with subjects like zoology and chemistry. At present, I am in the US on H4 visa. I want to do PhD in environmental sciences. Can I pursue education on H4? What is the procedure for admission in any university in Virginia? Also, what will be the estimated cost, or can I try to get some scholarship or fellowship? Please guide me.

H4 and PhD, Fairfax, Virginia, USA

Dear H4 and PhD:

For those who do not know about the US H4 visa: The spouse and unmarried children under the age of 21 of an H1-B visa (temporary work visa for the highly skilled) holder are awarded the H4 visa for their stay in the US. An H4 visa holder is not allowed to undertake employment in the US. But an H4 visa holder can pursue education. It is possible to convert an H4 visa to F1 visa (student visa) for full-time education at an academic institution recognized by the US INS (Immigration and Naturalization Service).

Conditions on your stay in the US, as dictated by your H4 status, do allow you to pursue a full-time PhD program in the US provided you convert to the F1 status. Once you are admitted into a PhD program, you should convert your visa status to F1, which would also allow you to work as a research assistant or teaching assistant in your school. For all practical purposes related to admission, you would be treated as an international student. You would apply for admission in the US just as you would anywhere else, say in India. That is, identify the school and the program, obtain the application form, submit the application with required documentation, and wait for an answer.

You can find the List of Science Colleges and Universities in the US in the iMahal Education Section. You can also use the iMahal College Finder to identify the colleges that best match your performance and needs.

Most US schools on their websites offer information on: academic programs, application forms and admission process, expected costs, and financial aid opportunities. Your prospective school is the primary source of financial assistance. As an international student in graduate studies, you are eligible for research assistantship and teaching assistantship. You may also be eligible for some scholarships offered by the school. You should indicate your desire to be considered for financial aid in your application. Most funding for schools comes through research grants, obtained by professors to pursue specific research projects. You may wish to contact professors who are conducting research in your area of interest to see if they can offer you research assistantship.

The cost of education in the US is high. Depending on the reputation of the school, and whether is private or public, the total cost of tuition and expenses would range anywhere from $15,000 to $45,000. Since you already in the US incurring living expenses, your additional costs would be lower. If you are offered any form of assistantship, your tuition would likely be waived. In such a scenario, you would basically incur expenses for books, supplies, transportation, and fees - a much smaller number indeed.

Read Dear Mentor:
Archives (more questions)
Ask Dear Mentor:
Submit a Question


Forums    Rani & Raja    Pals    Events

Tell a friend about this webpage! Subscribe to iMahal Newsletters
Search Help