Studying STEM in USA

(抱歉 - 本文僅提供英文)

“Ask yourself what you want to do now -

to free yourself from thinking about the limitations of the technology,

to let your imagination take you to what things you want to have done,

and what problems you want to solve?”

Andra Keay, Managing Director, Silicon Valley Robotics.


The vast academic discipline of Science is filled with immense opportunities for those who are aspiring to pursue a career in it. The STEM courses in USA form the basic foundation of scientific and technological innovations which can help in improving the quality of life.

For international students, pursuing a STEM degree like computer science takes hard work, discipline, and sacrifice, but the payoff is great. Scientists are changing our world, and there is a tremendous need for graduates in STEM fields.

Apart from prestigious universities (Refer A), there are a good many schools from special academy to college, from polytechnic to public university in the US, all of which provide solid STEM programs, some in their own specialties as well.

In short, USA provides a high-tech environment that encourages creativity is unarguably the best place for international students to pursue a STEM degree.


A STEM degree

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM careers are among the best-paying jobs to have.

54% of international students in the U.S. pursued a major in a STEM field in 2020-2021. And engineering remains the most popular major, with 21% of international students pursuing a degree in the field. (Open Doors 2021 Report on International Education Exchange)

Students interested in earning a degree in a STEM career field should attend a college or university focused particularly on STEM education. This comes with numerous advantages.

First, they will be with students that are interested in the same general areas as them. Being surrounded by peers working on the same things can be beneficial, even after graduation.

Second, STEM universities tend to focus their resources on things like:

•      maintaining cutting-edge research laboratories

•      computer labs

•      student facilities

The environment at these schools is designed to enhance their STEM degree programs. Interacting with like-minded people in a setting designed to promote STEM learning can enhance their education significantly.

Getting into a STEM course in the US

Most of the best-known colleges and universities such as MIT, Stanford, Carnegie Mellon and UC Berkeley are both extremely competitive and expensive, so they are considered out of reach for most of the international students. Yet, in the USA, you can also find many affordable institutions that offer a good STEM degree as well. 

We can help our students to get into a competitive university through “Litz USA Elite Program”. On the other hand, if your academic results are not ready for these colleges, we can find you the right school to start with before moving onto the institute of your choice via the “University Transfer Program”.  

We advise our students to have a balanced target college list. Too often, international students inadvertently apply to prestigious universities and a state system only, then no other. Actually, students at smaller campuses in STEM do extremely well and receive mentorship to go onto funded graduate programs or receive fellowships. This is especially the case in computer science, data science, health science and environmental sciences.

For post-grad study, it is quite important to research particular STEM programs at U.S. universities since an international student’s home country’s STEM program is outside USA.

STEM courses and Cross-disciplinary programs

For most STEM programs, the concept of what constitutes a STEM field is fairly straight forward - science, technology, engineering and math. However, as more programs become interdisciplinary, the lines become more blurry.

For example, business programs were not typically thought of as STEM fields, but the pervasiveness of data analytics, statistics, supply chain management and computational analysis in business fields have led many universities to develop more STEM-focused business programs.

Note that even at different schools, programs can have different names, for example, operation research at Cornell is mathematical computation and science at Stanford.

Students should also keep in mind that the same major, for example, cognitive

studies, can be more psychology-focused at some campuses and more focused on

computer science or artificial intelligence at others.

Tips for international students pursing STEM programs in the U.S.

Research How to Participate in a STEM Program

International students can enroll in STEM programs available at four-year and universities and most community colleges which STEM programs are certified by SEVP (Student and Exchange Visitor Program).

While the basic content is usually the same, the style in which it is taught can vary. For example, theoretical vs. applied, analytical vs. numerical, experimental vs.


Different schools may also emphasize particular subfields within a discipline; students should narrow down the STEM program they plan to apply to so that they know whether the campus offers the major, what it entails and if it meets their academic needs.

Something as simple as chemical engineering at one campus may focus on biotechnology and at another may focus on petrochemical engineering. Knowing the major and where it has the focus to meet the student’s interests is critical. .

Plan to get hands-on training during schools or after graduation

During their study, students should also prepare to spend much of their time researching in labs, creating in makerspaces#, participating in co-ops or internships, and otherwise engaging with their fields of interest.

International students studying STEM degrees can get hands-on experience while in

school, they can stay on campus doing research in a lab for the summers as well or after they graduate.

(#Makerspaces, sometimes also referred to as hackerspaces, hackspaces, and fablabs are creative, DIY spaces where people can gather to create, invent, and learn. In libraries they often have 3D printers, software, electronics, craft and hardware supplies and tools, and more.)

International students who have completed a degree listed in the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s STEM Designated Degree Program List are eligible for a 24-month extension of OPT. The list contains more than 500 program categories.

International students on OPT and STEM OPT maintain their F-1 immigration status can continue to work with their international student’s adviser up to three years

after graduation.

Benefits of STEM courses

Increased Salary Prospects: STEM students have an easier time finding work because they are trained with added skills. This ensures that these students will be paid more.

Better Job Opportunities: There are certain countries that are making it simpler for STEM graduates to get work such as United States and others.

Better Global Perspective: Getting a degree in STEM from a prestigious university shall make a student eligible for citizenship in any country.

Professions related to STEM courses are considered to be amongst the most popular and lucrative fields. Since the USA has been a global dominator in these areas and in order to sustain this leading position in this global economy, American universities are implementing actively technical programs in their academic curriculum.

Both the US government and universities encourage overseas students to pursue these courses, apart from sanctions with certain countries. 

Advantages of studying STEM courses in the USA over other countries

There are a variety of reasons why international students prefer to study STEM in the United States of America over other nations such as Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany, and others.

STEM courses in USA are highly coveted, and there is intense competition to get into one of those. They are offered by top universities across the USA, with all of them leading to fulfilling careers.

Quality of education with opportunities of hands-on experience

The education quality of STEM courses in the USA is always commendable. Six out of the top global universities to pursue computer science and technology are situated in the US to support this fact. Moreover, the state-of-the-art technology hubs and laboratories ensure that the quality is sustained at a top-notch level.

International students studying STEM degrees are often be able to get hands-on experience while in school or after they graduate.

The Silicon Valley in California

The Silicon Valley serves as the country’s technological center. The country has unrestricted access to the people and businesses developing cutting-edge technologies. Silicon Valley is the world-renowned technology hub which opens a wide range of job prospects in the STEM field for you.

The Fintech Hub in New York

New York is a thriving Fintech hub, spanning several subsectors such as digital wealth, crypto, lending, InsurTech and B2B.

“Business Insider” reported back in 2016 that New York even surpassed Silicon Valley as it pertained to Fintech Venture Capital Funds. According to Crunchbase, 2021, the total venture capital funds have increased up to US$52.3 billion which means New York has definitely risen to be one of the top fintech hubs within the United States and is climbing the ranks globally. ##

Open-mindedness that bring out the best in you

The American culture encourages students to be open-minded, which is a crucial tool when trying to come up with a unique solution to a problem. The education system in the USA gives students the space to think, ideate and innovate solutions to the general societal issues.

The US universities offer the podium for you to develop your personality differently and bring out the best in you.

Global perspective

International students studying in the United States have a once-in-a-lifetime learning opportunity with a global perspective.

American culture and cultural diversity

Being the super one in offering a STEM degree, the US holds the maximum number of international students studying STEM education.

Students get a lifetime chance to interact with people from other cultures, understand various global markets, solve problems, and ask questions with an open-minded approach.

So as a fellow international student, you will experience a student life rich with global culture and diversity, which greatly encourages inclusivity.


The authority of DHS is responsible for granting the STEM OPT. Students with F-1 Visa and that have completed their STEM Courses in USA are eligible for OPT. Applicants can’t participate more than twice in the extension of OPT. Another mandatory requirement is degree should be approved by SEVP-certified schools. The employer experience of 20 hours per week is also required. 


Student cases (US News 2021)

Blanka Jarmoszko (Poland)

Since her sophomore year in high school in the UK, Jarmoszko knew she wanted to study physics. The desire to pursue a liberal arts education prompted her to apply to U.S. schools, and she is now a sophomore at Northwestern University in Illinois double majoring in physics and data science.

“Even though my main interest lies in physics, I have always had many adjacent

interests in humanities such as philosophy,” says Jarmoszko. ”I also wanted an

opportunity to explore other STEM fields that I have had a chance to study in high


Jarmoszko says she plans to make use of STEM OPT once she graduates. This past

summer, she worked in a physics lab, where she assisted with research. “Over the next summers and school years, I plan on exploring physics research related to quantum computers and internships related to data science”, Jarmoszko says. “I don’t have a career in mind, hence it is important for me to get experience in physics research as well as tech-related internships.”

Yusrah Kaudeer (Mauritius)

Kaudeer, graduated cum laude from Amherst College in Massachusetts in 2021

with a dual degree in mathematics and chemistry. “Getting hands-on experience helped steer her academic objectives. By staying in the same lab, it helped to deepen my understanding in the field, which further pushed me to apply to graduate school”, Kaudeer says.

Apart from working in labs, hands-on training can be achieved through the federal OPT (Optional Practical Training) program. F-1 international students who have been full-time students for at least one academic year and plan to seek employment in the U.S. in their field of study can participate in OPT, a 12-month work authorization that allows students to get hands-on experience in their academic field at a U.S. employer.