In the past year or so, Asian students’ aptitude for mathematics and sciences has gone from the realm of stereotypes to the brick-and-mortar world of hard data and published research. The numbers are in, and Asian students have a gift for math and science.

While it may come off as such, this is not a sweeping generalization. That is to say, no one is claiming that all students in one part of the world excel in a particular field. Rather, according to large swathes of data, the average level of science aptitude in the East is higher than that of the West.

University of Arizona campus

Pic: University of Arizona campus.

Among the most talked-about research results on this subject were those released by the International Association for the Evaluation of Education Achievement (IEA). The students in the subject are relatively young – late primary and early secondary age. In this study, Singapore joined several Far-East Asian countries in achieving the highest marks in math and science. The report states that:

At the eighth grade, clearly the East Asian countries, particularly Chinese Taipei, Singapore, and Korea, are pulling away from the rest of the world by a considerable margin.

That’s data from a single study published a little under a year ago, and more recent data backs it up. Even ethnically Asian students who are citizens of Western nations are turning out stellar marks in math and science. In fact, a study published by Psychology of Women Quarterly found that, at schools in the US, Asian American students outperformed all other ethnic groups in math and science.

Robotics tournament at CWU

Pic: Robotics tournament at CWU.

The reasons for these high marks are undoubtedly complex, but a study conducted by UC San Diego in 2011 points to a leading factor. Across the sample of American high school students surveyed, Asian Americans were found to spend twice as much time studying than the national average. Figures like this coincide with statistics seen in the Far East, where many students spend countless hours in tutoring and university-preparatory classes outside of regular school hours.

Western Higher Education Still Dominates
Despite the fact that Asian students of science appear to be pulling away from the pack, the most popular science programs are still being in offered in West. Asian scientists are well represented on this international stage, as well. According to Asian Scientist Magazine, nearly one in three researchers worldwide is Asian. Further to that, a quarter of the world’s scientific publications originate in the Eastern hemisphere. With that in mind, much of the scientific research being conducted today is taking place in Western institutions of higher learning, and a substantial number of the scientists and researchers working on these projects are from Asia.

Abertay University campus

Pic: Abertay University campus.

Asia students seeking a university education in the sciences can afford to do some shopping around. Given the international statistics published in the last couple of years, it appears that this year’s middle and high-school students are poised to become academic leaders in science programs around the world. The universities offering these programs are well aware of this, and they’ll almost certainly be looking East for promising candidates in the coming years.

With that in mind, the following are among leading science programs for Asian students:

ABERTAY UNIVERSITY
Based in Dundee, Scotland, Abertay University is a hub of science- and technology-based ‘knowledge industries’ with particular strengths in creative digital media and the life sciences. Affordability and recognition as one of the best modern universities in Scotland make this a top choice for international students. Read the full profile here…

Abertay University

Pic: Abertay University.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY 
Central Washington University in the northwest United States combines hands-on learning and world-class research to produce internationally leading science programs. Classes are small – alarmingly so for a US public university. Cavernous lecture halls are not part of the student experience here. In fact, the average class holds a mere 25 students. Read the full profile here…

CWU commencement ceremony

Pic: CWU commencement ceremony.

THE UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA
Rising out of the desert in the 19th century, the University of Arizona has gone on to become a leading research institute in the American Southwest. This is a prime candidate for students of science with international ambitions, and it offers comprehensive coursework in the sciences at undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Read the full profile here…

UA graduation

Pic: UA graduation.

UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA, FACULTY OF SCIENCE 
The University of Ottawa stands at the heart of the Canadian capital and operates a science program that is 60 years in the making. Located in the Francophone region of Canada, this is officially the largest bilingual university in the world, and science students can complement their studies with English and French language proficiency.

UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, FACULTY OF SCIENCE
Australia’s first university also offers one of the continent’s strongest science programs. The Faculty of Science is well-lauded and garners more competitive government research funding than most Australian universities are able to attract across all disciplines. The campus is dynamic and diverse, with international students well-represented across all major disciplines.

CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF HEALTH SCIENCES 
The School of Health Sciences is located on Cardiff Met’s Llandaff Campus in Wales, UK. A broad selection of health science programs are prospering thanks in part to the more than £50 million that have been invested in the school’s programs over the past few years.