The University of Massachusetts Amherst may be less well known in Chelmsford than it is in China. That’s where Fan Wang traveled from to study in a graduate program at UMass in translation.

“My professors back in China recommended it particularly,” she says.

UMass Amherst has a stronger reputation abroad in many fields than it might at home. Some 1,800 international students from 100 countries go there to study, almost all of them at the graduate level, where they comprise about half of the annual applicants and 30 percent of the enrollment. “We have really, really good graduate programs with great faculty doing important research,” says John McCarthy, dean of the graduate school. “We’ve never had to recruit graduate students. They just come.”

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And the places they come from the most include China, Korea, Canada, Japan, Taiwan, and Australia.

One hitch: About a fifth of international students accepted to UMass are put off by the distance of the campus from a major city, McCarthy concedes. Jon Ander Mendia came there anyway, from Spain, to get a doctorate in linguistics. But UMass “is known worldwide,” Mendia says. “And it’s difficult to get into. I was lucky.”