Study Abroad

The 8 Best Study Abroad Programs for STEM Majors

A variety of study abroad opportunities exist worldwide for STEM majors. Learn why studying abroad can be an excellent opportunity for STEM majors to become well-rounded global citizens.

A group of Icelandic ponies in the snow.

If you're a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) student, you probably chose your major for its exciting, hands-on nature. Time in the lab and out in the field add variety to your studies and set you apart from your fellow students. But what does this mean for study abroad? Does the unique nature of these fields fit well into overseas programs? Can STEM majors study abroad?

Absolutely! In fact, according to the Institute of International Education's Open Doors report, the amount of STEM students studying abroad increased from 16.6% in 2000/2001 to 24.5% in 2019/2020. Program providers acknowledge the interest in STEM classes overseas and more opportunities are becoming available for students within these fields.

What STEM majors can study abroad?

Every major can study abroad! From astronomy to zoology, STEM students can find a wide range of available classes directly relevant to their field. Here we feature opportunities for students in computer science, conservation, biology, ecology, engineering, and more.

What can I study?

Even if you feel you are pursuing a very niche subject, the beauty of the US postsecondary education system lies in the general education curriculum requirements. STEM students can certainly study classes pertaining to their major overseas, but they can also focus on knocking out gen ed credits in the humanities, social sciences, English, or a foreign language.

Do I need specialized language skills?

Most study abroad programs acknowledge that many students won't have an advanced level of the local language. For this reason, programs in countries where English isn't the native language will offer a handful of courses for English-speaking students. This includes classes across science, technology, engineering, and math.

Are there scholarships for STEM study abroad?

Many of the program providers below offer scholarship money to eligible participants. If you don't qualify, it may be possible to apply US federal financial aid to your study abroad experience.

Additionally, the US government's Boren Awards scholarships for STEM students are granted for eight-week-long summer programs. Successful undergraduate students receive $8,000 to put toward their STEM-focused study abroad.

COVID-19 & Travel: The COVID-19 pandemic has created a dynamic travel landscape. The following programs are hosted in countries that are open to international travelers at the time this article was written. However, it's essential to review travel requirements and stay up to date with you plan to visit as regulations can shift rapidly.

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Best for renewable energy: The GREEN Program

The Northern Lights in Iceland.
  • Cost: $$$
  • Length of program: 8 days
  • Credits: 1.5
  • What’s included: accommodation, all meals, in-country transportation, books and materials, tours and excursions

If you hope to pursue a future in renewable energy, The GREEN Program's Renewable Energy Innovation & Sustainability 8-day intensive course in Iceland is a great place to start. During this whirlwind study abroad, you'll explore Iceland's use of clean energy and how the country's breathtaking landscapes facilitate and contribute to various renewable energy sources. A leader in geothermal energy and hydropower, Iceland has a lot to teach students both in practice and policy.

This program isn't all work and no play, though. In between your studies, you'll experience the beauty of the Golden Circle, soak in a hot spring, and hike the Reykjanes Penninsula. Even though this short trip will likely leave you wanting more, you'll pack a lot of both learning and fun into your 8 days.

"Every day we would go on so many different adventures like camping, exploring, hiking, and more. Throughout the trip we worked on our capstone projects and at the end we all presented them to each other. Getting to learn so many new ideas about sustainability and then learning how to apply it for everyday problems was amazing."

Megan

Program Details

Program:
Iceland: Renewable Energy Innovation & Sustainability
Provider:
The GREEN Program
Location:
Iceland
Starting Price:
$4,000.00 USD
9.85 Rating
based on 39 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.6
  • Fun 9.9
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.8
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Best for math education: Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education

A large palace in Budapest, Hungary.
  • Cost: $
  • Length of program: summer (6 weeks), semester (15 weeks)
  • Credits earned: 6-15
  • What’s included: as a direct enrollment program, cost only covers tuition and fees

If you love math and have plans to teach it in your future career, Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education's study abroad in Hungary will give you a look at how math is taught in other countries. Learn about math education pedagogy and take classes investigating the gamification of teaching math and how to teach geometry through problem-solving. You'll get a uniquely Hungarian view of education which will give you invaluable ideas to take home to your own future classroom.

In addition to math education classes, you will have the chance to immerse yourself in other subjects such as Hungarian language and culture and the humanities. Although not included in the tuition fees, students will have guaranteed housing with a host family or in a private, shared apartment. The cost of living in Hungary is low compared to the US and other European countries so the extra expenses won't break the bank.

"This program could not have been better. The teachers were all incredible and obviously very talented at what they do, and presented problems that were both challenging and hard to stop thinking about. The visits to Hungarian math classrooms were fascinating and gave me tons of ideas for practices I would like to use in my own class."

Kim

Program Details

Program:
Semester Study in Hungary with BSME
Provider:
Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education
Location:
Hungary
Starting Price:
$5,345.00 USD
10 Rating
based on 4 reviews
  • Academics 8.5
  • Support 10
  • Fun 9.5
  • Housing 8.3
  • Safety 9.8
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Best for marine science: SIT Study Abroad

A beach in San Blas, Panama.
  • Cost: $$$
  • Length of program: semester (15 weeks)
  • Credits earned: 16
  • What’s included: accommodation, all meals, excursions, insurance, in-country transportation

SIT's tropical ecology program offers you the opportunity to engage with a variety of wildlife in beautiful Panama both on land and in the sea. Get ready for an action-packed semester filled with hands-on learning and exciting excursions around Panama and Costa Rica. You'll stay with local families, explore rainforests, national parks, and nature reserves, and conduct field research in this highly active study abroad.

Topics in SIT's program cover human ecology and conservation, environmental research methods, Spanish for the natural sciences, and more. Although there is no language requirement, you're encouraged to brush up on some basic Spanish skills prior to arriving in Panama if you haven't studied it before.

"The places you get to see are actual paradise and there is plenty of time to hike, explore, and swim in between class. There is also an incredible variety of subjects to learn about from birds, to coral reefs, to forest, to amphibians. The program teaches you how to use different research methods and conduct experiments, so that you can be successful in executing your own research project during the last month of the trip."

Soleil

Program Details

Program:
SIT: Panama: Tropical Ecology, Marine Ecosystems
Provider:
SIT Study Abroad
Location:
Panama
Starting Price:
$17,300.00 USD
9.8 Rating
based on 15 reviews
  • Academics 8.2
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.3
  • Housing 8.9
  • Safety 9.5
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Best for environmental science: Verto Education

Man standing in front of a waterfall.
  • Cost: $$$
  • Length of program: semester (14.5 weeks)
  • Credits earned: 12-16
  • What’s included: accommodation, all meals, excursions, in-country transportation, insurance, books and materials

Verto Education's semester in Costa Rica focuses on building a learning community for its participants. As a Verto student, you'll immerse yourself in a tight-knit campus of fellow students, professors, and staff. Alongside these friends that will become like family, you will discover the local areas through experiential laboratories and learning activities. Academic excursions, as well as optional weekend outings, will have you on the go.

Classes include STEM and non-STEM options so you can study Spanish while fulfilling credits in statistics or biology for your major. Outside of class, a variety of activities await you including Merengue classes, NGO workshops, whitewater rafting, and permaculture farm work.

"Everything about this was unique. The ability to take forest surveys in the middle of the jungle for environmental science, or surf on the Caribbean Cost after the end of our first classes, or visit two indigenous tribes for International Development and Latin American History."

Lucas

Program Details

Program:
Verto Education - Start College in Turrialba, Costa Rica
Provider:
Verto Education
Location:
Costa Rica
Starting Price:
$18,000.00 USD
9.48 Rating
based on 33 reviews
  • Academics 8.7
  • Support 9.4
  • Fun 9.2
  • Housing 9.5
  • Safety 9.5
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Best for conservation: Organization for Tropical Studies

A large group of elephants.
  • Cost: $$$
  • Length of program: semester (15 weeks)
  • Credits earned: 16
  • What’s included: accommodation, all meals, in-country transportation, laundry costs

If your dream is to study elephant management or learn about combatting rhino poaching in Kruger National Park, look no further than the Organization for Tropical Studies' African Ecology and Conservation program. Your educational subjects are integrated into their field program model, ensuring you'll be out and about where the magic happens on a daily basis. Stay with other students in dorms and enjoy all meals provided by a local caterer who can accommodate all sorts of special dietary needs.

Zoology, wildlife management, and biology majors can expect to be mentored by local and international experts. As one of the largest conservation areas in Africa, Kruger National Park is the perfect natural classroom to learn about ecology and the issues faced by park managers and staff. You will undertake meaningful research and contribute data to help tackle real-life problems. A three-day homestay will expose you to the lives and livelihoods of rural families.

Program Details

Program:
African Ecology & Conservation Field Program in South Africa
Provider:
Organization for Tropical Studies
Location:
South Africa
9.8 Rating
based on 10 reviews
  • Academics 8.9
  • Support 9.3
  • Fun 9.7
  • Housing 9.3
  • Safety 9.4

"On top of the ecology and conservation aspects, the incorporation of history and culture in the curriculum made me understand more of the socioeconomic dynamics of South Africa, and how these dynamics affect conservation of wildlife and wild spaces now and in the future."

Gizella
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Best for engineering: TEAN

Woman walking on street in Seoul.
  • Cost: $
  • Length of program: semester (19 weeks with quarantine), summer (4 or 6 weeks), winter (2 or 3 weeks)
  • Credits earned: 12-15 for semester, 3-9 for summer, 3-6 for winter
  • What’s included: accommodation, insurance, airport pickup, SIM card, excursions and activities

Nearly half of the classes at Korea University are in English which is great news for students participating in The Education Abroad Network's study abroad in Seoul, South Korea. Engineering students will find classes across various disciplines including biomedical, chemical, civil, environmental, industrial, mechanical, and electrical. There are also options in computer science, physics, statistics, and the natural sciences.

As a student with TEAN, you'll not only have access to a top-notch education but will enjoy a range of cultural activities, including a weekend excursion to South Korea's second-largest city Busan. South Korea is an exceptional country to study STEM subjects with its cutting-edge technology and forward-thinking innovation -- don't miss out on this dynamic program!

"If you want to go to a city that is full of life and rich atmosphere then Seoul is for you. The minute I found TEAN's Seoul program I knew that I had to go. South Korea is a wonderful country that is very technologically advance, but also keeps its roots with traditional values and sights to see."

Mitchell

Program Details

Program:
TEAN: Study Abroad in Seoul, South Korea
Provider:
The Education Abroad Network
Location:
South Korea
10 Rating
based on 13 reviews
  • Academics 9.4
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.8
  • Safety 10
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Best for computer science: University of Nottingham, Ningbo

Buildings near a pond in Ningbo, China.
  • Cost: $$
  • Length of program: semester (14 weeks), year (26 weeks)
  • Credits: 12-30
  • What’s included: as a direct enrollment program, cost only covers tuition and fees

You're looking for a computer science education at a top global university but also want to study in a tech-forward country. So, where do you go? The University of Nottingham in Ningbo, of course! China is among the best countries to study computer science and the University of Nottingham consistently ranks among the best post-secondary institutions in the world. With all classes conducted in English, you can focus on programming, software engineering, cybersecurity, machine learning, and many more options that are sure to challenge you.

Home to 8.2 million people, Ningbo is a port city in China's east. Nottingham's tree-lined campus is located in the south of the city with good links to transportation. All students studying here benefit from free Chinese classes in addition to their main course load.

"I worried about the teaching method might be different in UK before I came but actually I can feel no difference. They have all classes in English, even when the teacher and all students are Chinese. It is a very popular university in China. Thus, most of students are from different part of China. Also, there are many exchange students from many different famous universities."

Leo

Program Details

Program:
Study Abroad at University of Nottingham, China Campus
Provider:
University of Nottingham
Location:
China
10 Rating
based on 11 reviews
  • Academics 9.8
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 10
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Best for multi-city STEM study: Forum-Nexus

Lights over canal in Milan, Italy.
  • Cost: $$
  • Length of program: summer (4 weeks)
  • Credits earned: 3-9
  • What’s included: hotel accommodation, breakfast, in-country transportation, insurance

What if we told you that you could earn STEM credits while traveling around Italy? With Forum-Nexus you can! Hit 9 major cities while studying pre-med, engineering, nursing, and the sciences. Visit and learn in historical hotspots like Rome, Florence, Venice, and Milan, while staying in four-star hotels and eating your way through mountains of gelato and pasta. This program offers both regular courses and supervised independent study for students who wish to undertake their own structured investigation of a topic related to Italy and Europe as a whole.

Forum-Nexus also encourages participants to join club activities. They offer clubs for food, art and history, soccer, photography, fitness, and more. This will help you meet new friends who share your interests while having a blast outside study hours. In addition to fun activities, the program includes trips to museums, cultural events, art galleries, and other historic sites. Your month in Italy is guaranteed to be a whirlwind of amazing new experiences.

"Forum-Nexus provided me the best month of my entire life. Through this trip you gain memories that last a lifetime and new best friends. Everyone on this trip became a family and was extremely helpful with everything."

Natalie

Program Details

Program:
Nursing, Pre-Med, and STEM Traveling Summer Abroad in Italy
Provider:
Forum-Nexus Study Abroad
Location:
Italy
10 Rating
based on 3 reviews
  • Academics 10
  • Support 10
  • Fun 10
  • Housing 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
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Get out there!

Study abroad is an irreplaceable experience, and STEM majors can reap the benefits in the same way arts and humanities students can. What's more, most science, technology, engineering, and mathematics courses are hands-on in nature, so you're able to apply what you're learning in real-time and in the field. Studying these courses abroad is a great way to immerse yourself in the subject and in a new culture simultaneously.

Don't miss out! Sign up for one of these great STEM study abroad programs and prepare to make your own priceless memories.

Read more: How to Get a Student Visa for Study Abroad