Friday, May 29, 2015

Popular Degrees: What are Indians in the U.S. Studying?

By Naimeesha Murthy
World Education Services

Today, India sends more students abroad than any other country. In 2013-14, 102,673 Indian students chose to study in the U.S. in particular. The number of Indian students in the states has been steadily increasing year after year. According to IIE’s Open Doors Data report, the most popular majors for Indian students are engineering, math/computer science, business/management, and the physical/life sciences.

A huge majority of Indian students – approximately 76 percent – study in the STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). STEM graduates can work in a wide variety of fields, including data science, computer science engineering, auditing, video game design, and hundreds of others.

Why is STEM so popular?

Studying in the U.S. can be an expensive proposition, so choosing a field where the outcome exceeds the cost upon graduation is a huge consideration for incoming international students. Getting a good return on investment, or ROI, is important for many international students, Indian or otherwise.

What are the benefits of STEM?

· An OPT holder has more chances and time to apply for a H-1B cap petition. Given that the annual H-1B cap is oversubscribed and the available H-1B visas are distributed on a lottery basis, having more chances to apply for an H-1B under the cap is certainly better.

· Additionally, eligible OPT holders have more time to attain better skills, and this provides greater flexibility in job hunting — employers are more likely to consider a candidate with more experience and a longer work authorization time.

Following STEM, the second most commonly studied field is business and management (11.7 percent). It’s worthwhile to note that business is one of the most popular majors among international students. One in every five international students in America is majoring in business. According to global survey results published by the Graduate Management Admission Council, nine out of 10 employers expect to hire as many business graduates this year – or more – than they did last year

While the vast majority of Indian students in the U.S. pursue STEM and business studies, there are still a small handful of them studying education (.5 percent), fine and applied arts (1.4 percent), the humanities (.5 percent), and the social sciences (2.7 percent). Those percentages have all gone up or remained constant over the past five years.

We hope this data will help you understand what your peers in India are studying and enable you to make a more informed decision about what to study in America. Want to learn more about popular majors among international students in the U.S.? Click here.

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