22 Top Places to Study Abroad for STEM Fields

Last updated on August 2nd, 2023 at 11:44 pm

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Studying abroad

For anyone interested in STEM, study abroad opportunities can give you the opportunity to participate in research, experience hands-on learning in unique settings, and deepen your understanding of another culture.

At Remitly, we believe all students should have a chance to reap the benefits of STEM study abroad programs. To that end, we created this guide to some of the best places to study abroad for computer science, physical and natural sciences, engineering, and mathematics.

On this list, you’ll find two kinds of programs. The first kind includes international summer research programs, courses, and degree programs offered through a top global college or university. The second includes those from third-party providers that partner with post-secondary institutions.

As you begin to research STEM study abroad programs for yourself, be aware that there is a third type of program available: one offered by a college or university for their students. With these programs, a science, engineering, or mathematics department organizes a trip and opens up enrollment only to students who are enrolled at their school.

Since these programs aren’t open to everyone, we didn’t include them on our list, but they can be some of the best options to consider.

Places to study science abroad

The following are some of the best places to study physical and natural sciences abroad.

Agriculture: South Africa

Program/school: AIFS Abroad Stellenbosch

With its location in the heart of South Africa’s wine country, Stellenbosch University in Stellenbosch, South Africa, is a great place to learn about commercial agriculture and viticulture. AIFS Abroad Stellenbosch is a two-week program from AIFS and Stellenbosch University that includes classes in agriculture and excursions to major landmarks like the Cape of Good Hope and Table Mountain.

Biomedicine: Sweden

Program/school: Karolinska Institutet

The Karolinska Institutet is a medical university that consistently ranks among the top 100 schools for the sciences in the world. In addition to allowing international students to register for classes on a short-term basis, the university offers a global bachelor’s program in biomedicine that includes additional study abroad opportunities, allowing you to take biomedicine classes in more than one foreign country.

Chemistry: Singapore


Program/school: Nanyang Technological University

Nanyang Technological University in Singapore is a highly regarded global institution for studying chemistry. Its Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry aligns with American Chemical Society (ACS) standards and is open to international students. The program includes either an independent research project or a professional internship.

Ecology: Panama

Program/school: School for International Training

The School for International Training offers one of the best study abroad programs for biology majors and ecology majors interested in learning more about tropical biomes. Based in Panama City, the program includes coursework in sustainable agriculture, ecotourism, and indigenous research use and culminates in a four-week independent research project.

Environmental Science: Costa Rica

Program/school: Verto Education

One of the most biodiverse countries in the world, Costa Rica is an ideal place to study environmental science. Verto Education’s 15-week study abroad program takes you deep into the mountains in Turrialba. It combines coursework administered by the University of New Haven with hands-on research and plenty of outdoor activities like hiking and river rafting.

Forestry: Brazil

Program/school: University of São Paulo

The responsible use of forestland is a major concern in Brazil due to the presence of the Amazonian rainforest, and this makes the country a great place to study forestry abroad. The University of São Paulo in São Paulo offers a bachelor’s degree in the specialty, including coursework in forest management, forest products technology, ecology, and nature conservation.

Geological and Earth Sciences: Ireland

Program/school: UCD Dublin

Despite its relatively small size, Ireland boasts incredibly diverse geology. UCD Dublin makes it possible for students from all over the world to learn about it firsthand through their study-abroad opportunities. The programs last for one-third of an academic year and allow students to select a module based on their specific interests and level of study.

Microbiology: The Netherlands

Program/school: Utrecht University

U.S. News and World Report ranks Utrecht University sixth in the world for microbiology, and the university has a reputation for being welcoming to international students. Taking courses or pursuing a bachelor’s degree in microbiology at the university in Utrecht gives students the opportunity to participate in ongoing research into behavior manipulating fungi, fungal biotechnology, fungal genomics, fungal infections, fungal materials, and fungal transport.

Natural Resources Management: Peru

Program/school: The Green Program

Water management is a key concern in Peru, and the country has made great strides in protecting and conserving its precious water resources in recent years. Through a partnership with the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola, The Green Program enables students to learn about the topic firsthand with its 10-day program in Cusco.

Physics: Japan

Program/school: University of Tokyo

The University of Tokyo is generally considered one of the top universities in the world for studying physics. Whether you want to take classes for one semester or pursue a graduate degree abroad, the institution gives you the opportunity to focus on several subspecialties, including nuclear theory, theoretical particle physics, theoretical condensed matter physics, and biophysics.

Space science: USA

Program/school: California University of Technology

In 2023, U.S. News and World Report ranked the California University of Technology (Caltech) first in the world for space science. The university operates four observatories and is home to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, allowing international students to participate in groundbreaking research.

Learn more: Studying Abroad in the U.S.: 14 Things You Need to Know

Wildlife and Wildlands Management: Tanzania

Program/school: SFS Tanzania

To protect the important savanna biome, Tanzania has designated 32.5% of its land surface to wildlife conservation. SFS allows students to learn about these efforts on the ground with 15-week and 4-week programs in wildlife management. Students stay in four-person cabins at the SFS Center in Rhotia and have a chance to interact with local people through a number of cultural experiences.

Places to study engineering abroad

Read on to discover some of the best places to study engineering abroad.

STEM study abroad programs

Chemical Engineering: Switzerland

Program/school: EPFL

The École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, or EPFL, is a leader in chemical engineering research. International students can participate in research at the university’s more than 10 laboratories dedicated to studying topics like stem cell engineering, photonics, and advanced separations.

Civil Engineering: Vietnam

Program/school: Ton Duc Thang University

According to U.S. News and World Report’s 2023 rankings, Ton Duc Thang University in Ho Chi Minh City is the third-best university for studying civil engineering in the world. The university also has a robust academic exchange program that allows international students to study abroad for one semester or a full year, and civil and general engineering courses are typically among the classes available for exchange students to enroll in.

General Engineering: South Korea

Program/school: TEAN South Korea

Serving as the headquarters for Samsung, LG, Hyundai, and SK Hynix, Seoul is one of the world’s major center for STEM research. TEAN’s South Korea study abroad programs with Hanyang University and Korea University make it possible to learn in the heart of the South Korean capital. TEAN offers different engineering programs each semester, and all programs include excursions into Seoul so that students can learn more about the history and culture of South Korea.

Electrical Engineering: Nepal

Program/school: The Green Program

With its rugged landscapes, Nepal faces unique challenges in supplying all its citizens with electricity. Kathmandu University and The Green Program have teamed up to provide students with a chance to explore the innovative solutions being used to address this problem. During the 10-day study-abroad program, participants learn hands-on how microgrids and solar cells are being deployed in Nepal. Further, they have a unique opportunity to immerse themselves in Nepali culture through a homestay with a family in a rural village.

Mechanical Engineering: Iceland

Program/school: The Green Program

Iceland is leading the way for the rest of the world when it comes to renewable energy. Mechanical engineering majors and other engineering students can learn about the innovative technologies being used in the country through The Green Program’s 8 to 9-day study abroad program presented through a partnership with Reykjavik University. Participants benefit from private tours of renewable energy facilities and have the opportunity to walk across glaciers and hike in Iceland’s remote highland areas.

Places to study mathematics and technology abroad

Now let’s look at some of the best study abroad programs for computer science majors and those interested in mathematics and other technological fields.

Artificial intelligence: Hong Kong

Artificial intelligence

Program/school: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is making great strides in the research and development of artificial intelligence, with numerous faculty members currently in the midst of projects related to the field. Through HKUST’s regular and summer term study abroad program, STEM students can learn more about the exciting area. HKUST even offers a virtual study abroad program for students who aren’t able to leave home.

Computer science: Australia

Program/school: Deakin University

The Deakin School of IT at Deakin University in Melbourne and Geelong earns top marks for its computer science programs, and the school offers a number of study-abroad opportunities. International students can opt for a three or four-credit course of study or apply for an international research program.

Learn more: Studying Abroad in Australia: A Complete Guide

Cybersecurity: United Kingdom

Program/school: University of Cambridge

Consistently ranked one of the best global universities in the world across all subjects, the University of Cambridge is particularly well-known for its research in cybersecurity. The university offers a junior year abroad program, where international students spend one year taking courses related to their areas of interest.

Learn more: Studying Abroad in the UK: A Complete Guide

Mathematics: Hungary

Program/school: Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education

Undergraduates and recent bachelor’s degree recipients can further their mathematics studies through Budapest Semesters in Mathematics Education. This summer-long program teaches a unique student-centered approach to mathematics education called Hungarian pedagogy. The program is ideal for students hoping to teach mathematics at any level, from elementary school to secondary to post-secondary.

Telecommunications: China

Program/school: Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications

The Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications is a unique post-secondary institution devoted to the study of telecommunications. Open to international students, the school offers visiting scholars programs that last one year and full-length bachelor’s degree programs in Electronic Information Engineering, Telecommunications Engineering with Management, E-Commerce Engineering with Law, and Internet of Things Engineering.

Can you get STEM study abroad scholarships?

There are scholarships available to help cover the cost of studying abroad. Some awards are specifically for STEM research and education, while others are open to all students who want to study abroad.

Qualifications for study abroad scholarships vary. You may need to show evidence that you can’t afford the costs of tuition, travel, and accommodations yourself, or you may need to demonstrate academic excellence by providing an official transcript. Scholarship applications may also require you to gain letters of reference and/or write a personal statement that describes what you hope to gain from studying abroad.

Students in the U.S. can use the U.S. Department of Labor’s Scholarship Finder to discover scholarships they may qualify for. In addition, it’s a good idea to check with the financial aid departments of your home university and the global university where you intend to study to find out if additional awards are available.

A student walking to a class

What kind of visa do you need to study abroad?

When studying or conducting research abroad, you’ll typically need to obtain a visa from your destination country. For STEM study abroad programs in the U.S., most students will need to apply for an international student visa like the F1 visa. Other countries have their own immigration laws and visa programs.

To find out specifics about what type of visa you need and how to acquire it, contact an embassy or consulate office for your destination country. You can check this list to find a list of embassies in the U.S. or this one to find contact information for foreign embassies in Canada.

Find the right STEM study abroad program for you

This list of the best study abroad programs for STEM is meant to be a starting point for your research. Depending on your career goals and interests, other programs may be a better fit for you. Take the time to research other opportunities related to your field, so you can make the best decision about where to study STEM abroad.

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