Top 5 Places in the World to Complete Your STEM Degree
By: Amos Fong
The term "STEM" is being tossed around so much in the news and education forums these days that you'd think all of society has turned into gardening aficionados overnight. An acronym for "Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics", STEM is regarded as one of the fastest growing fields in today's economy. So if you're hoping to enter this on-demand and increasingly lucrative field, which are the countries that will allow you to obtain the highest quality STEM degrees?
USA. Topping the list, unsurprisingly, is the United States. Boasting top-tier institutions like MIT, Stanford and Harvard, the US still leads the world in STEM university education. With the private and public sectors clamoring for more students to pursue degrees and careers in STEM-related fields, American and international students alike can enjoy various STEM-related scholarships, as well as a welcoming job market upon graduation.
UK. World-class British universities like Imperial College, Oxford and Cambridge constantly appear in the top ten of the QS World University Rankings for Engineering and Mathematics, making the UK a highly popular study destination for students aspiring to a career in STEM. The year 2014 saw the highest level of students being admitted to STEM-related courses in the UK , likely fuelled by the rising demand for a highly-skilled workforce, along with the perceived wage premium and employment prospects STEM graduates have over their peers.
Singapore. Having recently dominated the OECD global education ranking, the findings of which were based on maths and science scores, it is unsurprising that Singapore presents an increasingly popular destination for ambitious students seeking to enter STEM fields in Southeast Asia and beyond. With the National University of Singapore placed third in the QS World University Rankings for civil and structural engineering and Nanyang Technological University ranked 12th on the ARWU , Singapore looks set to produce many highly sought-after STEM graduates in the years to come.
China. In the year 2014 alone, close to 50% of all degrees awarded by Chinese institutions were in a Science or Engineering subject, with reputed institutions such as Tsinghua University and Shanghai Jiao Tong University among them. As demand increases in the engineering and science industries and as China is forecast to overtake the US in scientific output, it is unsurprising that many are heading to premier universities in Beijing or Shanghai to pursue their education.
Switzerland. Home of CERN and the Large Hadron Collider, it is only natural that we include Switzerland in this list. Switzerland's Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and its sister EPFL (Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne); are consistently ranked among the top universities in the world for STEM subjects and are known for producing a number of Nobel Laureates, the most famous being Albert Einstein himself. As most undergraduate courses are taught in German, Switzerland might not be an option available to many. However, most Master's and doctoral programs are conducted in English, and are renowned for preparing their graduates for global success in STEM fields.
STEM subjects are instrumental in building knowledge-based economies that thrive on innovation and production. With the current shortage and increased demand for STEM graduates, along with the perceived prestige and greater mobility a STEM career brings, it is highly doubtful the growing global emphasis on STEM subjects will diminish in the near future.