We recently received an email from a college senior who was about to graduate with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from a school in North America. His internship in Europe had ended abruptly due to Covid. After two previous internships, he was unsure about whether the engineering field was for him or if he should get a graduate degree. This email sparked curiosity on my part to explore the STEM fields in our database and I was astounded by what I found.
The STEM fields are science, technology, engineering, and math, but more comprehensively: life sciences, physical sciences, engineering, mathematics, computer science, and the health sciences.
According to data from the IEE, of the US college students who study abroad, the largest cohort of students, a full 25%, study in a STEM field.
Of the 3,443 English-taught bachelor’s degree programs in the Beyond the States database, 33% are in STEM fields. In our master’s database, 38% of the programs are STEM.
Cost is another major benefit of this area of study because the average annual tuition is just $8,000 for a bachelor’s degree and around $9,000 for master’s annual tuition.
Starting salaries for STEM jobs are among the highest for new grads, so taking advantage of the 3 year programs available in Europe coupled with the lower tuition costs mean that STEM grads can enter the workforce a year sooner and with much less college debt.
97% of study abroad students found employment within 12 months of graduation, while only 49% of overall college graduates found employment in the same period last year, according to IES.
For those of us who are parents of prospective students, the STEM field appears drastically different than when we were studying! Back in the 80’s, many of these technologies didn’t really exist, but have since exploded. Whether you’re a student yourself, with vast knowledge of the possibilities, or a parent who feels like all this STEM stuff is a foreign language, today’s post can help! We will look at some of the different types of STEM degrees in Europe below, for both master’s and bachelor’s degree students, all of which are well-reflected in our database of accredited, English-taught programs.
Data Science/Data Engineering: Over the past few years, businesses of all sizes are in a mad rush to mine and refine all the data that they are generating, which is proliferating like never before. The massive data boom has dramatically transformed the way people do business, and companies are constantly trying to figure out innovative ways to use the Big Data explosion to their advantage. This is driving a huge demand for experts in how to use all that data, data scientists and data engineers.
One example is the Mathematical Engineering bachelor’s program in Data Science at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona. At just 9,541 EUR, tuition is affordable. Barcelona is incredibly easy to get around, has a fantastic food scene, and great weather with 300 days of sunshine a year.
Robotics/Mechatronics: Mechatronics is an interdisciplinary branch of engineering that focuses on the engineering of electronic, electrical, and mechanical systems. The Beyond the States database has specific area of study search field for Mechatronics and Robotics, so it’s easy to navigate.
Cryptocurrency: Cryptocurrency and the associated technology of blockchain as well as fintech are domains of high level math. If this is really your area of interest at the bachelor’s level, then getting a degree in mathematics would be a good start toward a more specific cryptocurrency/blockchain degree at the master's level.
Network Architect: Are you familiar with the internet? The network architect’s job is to design the networks that have become an increasingly vital part of our lives. Since these networks are generally a legacy of the telecommunications infrastructure, learning about telecommunications would be useful.
Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning/Deep Learning: This field has a number of names, but I see it as all about teaching computers to simulate thought.
Cyber Security: We often highlight the Cyber Security program at Tallinn University of Technology in Estonia. The three year program at TUT costs just 6,000 EUR per year and cyber security talent is in very high demand.
Internet of Things (IoT): First, let’s define the term. According to Wikipedia, the Internet of Things (IoT) “describes the network of physical objects—“things”—that are embedded with sensors, software, and other technologies for the purpose of connecting and exchanging data with other devices and systems over the Internet.” There is not really a degree specifically for IoT at this point. I looked at open engineering roles at one company in the IoT space, Real-Time Innovations (RTI). They’re looking for engineers with computer science degrees who have coursework in experience in programming, networks, distributed systems, and autonomous vehicles. Here’s a database searching tip: use "internet" in your keyword search. If you search IoT, the search will pick up biotechnology, semiotics, and other programs you don’t want.
Virtual Reality/Augmented Reality (VR/AR): According to tech news site, the Information, Facebook now has 20% of it’s employees working on VR/AR projects currently, which says this tech area is poised for rapid growth.
If you’re unsure of your exact area of tech interest, look for a survey program like the one at VIA University College in Denmark (14,800 EUR) called Software Technology Engineering. In 3.5 years, the student learns programming, computer networks, Internet-of-things (IoT), game design, web design, augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR), database technology, big data, and cloud computing. As part of this program, the student develops professional and personal skills in information technology as well as gain qualifications for further studies at Master’s level.
Bottom line: technology continues to drive productivity forward in the global economy. If technology is your area of passion, getting a STEM degree in Europe will position you for long term success, while maximizing your travel opportunity.