Popular STEM courses for international students in the US

A term that’s gaining a lot of global popularity right now is STEM, which is an abbreviation used to refer to courses related to Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. Top educators across the globe have recognized that a variety of specializations come under these 4 broad subject areas, and that is why most educational institutions offer STEM courses to their students. Over the past decade, many international students have opted to study STEM programs in the USA as they are skills highly desired by employers and are known to draw the highest salaries overseas.

There is much to consider when you are looking for STEM education in the US, and in this quick read you will find everything you need to know it. For starters, here are some reasons why international students are inclined towards pursuing STEM degrees in the USA:

  • Top universities
    Educational institutions in the US perform extremely well both in world rankings and subject rankings. Among these, Harvard University, Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, California Institute of Technology, University of California Berkeley, etc. occupy positions in the top 10 across all categories of QS rankings.
  • Scope of STEM courses
    STEM courses offer lucrativeemployment opportunities once you graduate. Educational institutions in the US have dedicated career support centers that help you find a good job.
  • World-class education
    The unmatched quality of education, state-of-the-art facilities, expert faculty, and global opportunities offer you a very real edge over the competition. A US education is recognized and valued by employers all over the globe.
  • Advantages of Silicon Valley
    The US is home to the largest IT hub, California’s Silicon Valley. Students who are aspiring IT professionals can take full advantage of being in the US as they have access to highly developed infrastructure, resources, and skilled labor.

STEM Courses in the US

STEM constitutes 30% of the total number of international students studying in the USA, making STEM subjects the top courses and highest paying jobs in the US. Engineering, which is one of the biggest STEM subject areas, is considered one of the top fields of study in the USA, and Indian students find the highest paying jobs in this field. International engineering students are second only to business students in numbers. Following this, Mathematics and Computer Science are known to attract the most international students and also yield the highest paying jobs in the US. Here are some of the most sought-after specializations for STEM degrees in the US:

  • Chemical Engineering
  • Civil Engineering
  • Biomedical Sciences
  • Computer Science
  • Chemistry
  • Physics
  • Mathematics and Statistics.

Top STEM colleges and universities

Here is a list of the top ranking STEM accredited institutes in the US:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • California Institute of Technology
  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • University of California Berkeley

Eligibility criteria

The basic eligibility criteria for STEM programs in the US are based on educational qualifications, entrance tests, proof of English language proficiency, valid work experience, and having a student visa. While the exact admission requirements such as GPA, English language test scores, or entrance test scores may vary from institute to institute, here’s a look at the general eligibility criteria:

  • Educational qualifications
    Entry to bachelor’s level STEM programs requires completion of high school education in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, and Mathematics. Whereas for master’s level STEM courses, a standard 3 or 4 year bachelor’s degree is required. The minimum requirement for admission to STEM-approved universities and colleges in the US is a GPA of 3.0 on 4.0 i.e. above 75% by Indian standards. For the top Ivy League courses it would be 90%+.
  • Entrance tests
    Entrance tests for admission to STEM bachelor’s degrees in the US include SAT or ACT. However, for a master’s degree, you must submit GRE or GMAT scores.
  • Proof of English language proficiency
    Showing proof of English language proficiency is compulsory for international students who want to study in the US. You can submit IELTS, TOEFL, or any other accepted test scores to fulfill this requirement. A minimum IELTS score of 6.0 or 90 on TOEFL is recommended. However, requirements may vary depending on the the program.
  • Work experience
    Although not a mandatory requirement at most institutes, having some prior professional experience is highly recommended when pursuing STEM courses in the US as it can help you get an edge over other applicants.
  • Student visa to study in the US
    Finally, an F-1 student visa is the most important document which you must have before entering the US. Therefore, complete your application process as early as possible to have enough time for visa processing.

The US is not only known for providing the best STEM courses ranked high in terms of education, teaching, and similar parameters but also for their graduate employability rankings. Careers in STEM can be very rewarding as there is always a need for skilled professionals. In fact, you can expect to be hired for job titles with average annual salaries around $125,000-130,000, especially after completing a postgraduate program. There is a huge scope to grow financially with the increasing years of experience.

To know more about STEM programs in the US, start a co-design conversation with Gradstar.

Date Published: Jul-28-2022

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About the author

Anupama Kumar is a content writer based in Bangalore, India. She writes blogs, stories, articles and social media content and has a passion for helping people and connecting with them through her writing. A professional writer by day and a creative one by night, her own stories, musings, quotes and poems inspired by her travels are also published on various platforms.