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 in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields. This represents up to 6.2 percent of overall U.S. job market openings. This huge labor demand should give STEM students confidence in post-school employment.


Additionally, international students working to earn a degree in STEM in the U.S. are eligible for a 17-month STEM OPT extension after participating in a 12-month Optional Practical Training (OPT). This means STEM students could receive up to a 29 month visa extension that would allow them to work for a U.S. company after earning their 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.






According to the infographic, here is a breakdown of the most popular STEM majors among international students:


Engineering 
Engineering is the most popular major with 184,603 total international students enrolled. This represents 19 percent of all international students in 2015, which is a 15.4 percent increase from 2014. According to a Forbes report, civil engineering accounts for the most jobs of any in the engineering field, followed closely by mechanical engineers and industrial engineers. 

Computer and Information Sciences (CS)
This is the second most popular STEM degree with 83,241 international students are enrolled in a CS major in 2015, a 28 percent increase from the previous year. The popularity of CS majors aligns with the emerging U.S. IT industry. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports median pay for computer programmers at $77,550 (U.S. dollars) per year. 

Biological and Biomedical Sciences 
These majors ranked third in STEM popularity with 39,294 international students enrolled in 2015, followed by physical sciences (33,607 international students), and mathematics and statistics (29,709 international students).

Hopefully this information will help inform you if you are interested in seeking a degree in the STEM fields, and help you know what to expect when applying to these programs.
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Xiao Lu is a Marketing Associate with the WES Advisor team. With a passion in both marketing and research, she manages WES Advisor social media accounts in an analytical and strategic way. Xiao was once an international student from China herself and holds a Master’s in Marketing Intelligence from Fordham University. She now enjoys her travel and life in the U.S. 

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