Tuesday, February 23, 2016

What Are the Most Popular STEM Programs Among International Students?

By Xiao Lu
World Education Services

According to the latest report from U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as of 2014 there are 8.3 million job openings for STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields in the labor market, representing up to 6.2% of overall U.S. job market openings. This huge labor demand should give STEM students confidence in post-school employment. Additionally, international students that study a STEM major in the U.S. get a 17-month extension after their 12-month OPT expires. This means STEM students receive 29 months of OPT in total that allows them to work/intern in a U.S. company after finishing their school degree.

Given the advantages of studying STEM majors in the U.S., WES advisor would like to explore the most popular STEM majors among international students, and how the trends have changed in recent years.

What STEM majors do international students choose?

  1. Engineering is the most popular major with 184,603 international students enrolled. This represents 19% of all international students in 2015. Compared to 2014, 15.4% more students are majoring in engineering. According to a Forbes report, among engineering majors, civil engineering accounts for the most jobs of any engineering field, followed closely by mechanical engineers and industrial engineers. 
  2. Second are Computer and Information Sciences (CS). 83,241 international students are enrolled in a CS major in year 2015, a 28% increase from the previous year. The popularity of CS majors aligns with the emerging U.S. IT industry. U.S. Bureauof Labor Statistics reports median pay for computer programmers is $77,550 per year. 
  3. Biological and Biomedical Sciences majors ranked third with 39,294 international students enrolled, followed by physical sciences (33,607 international students), and mathematics and statistics (29,709 international students).

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