New trends in research and development have emerged in the 21st century. Led by the US, the West had been the uncontested leader in R&D investment for several decades. However, from 2001-2010, a collection of ten nations in Asia collectively outspent the US in this category (according to reports by a US government agency). Granted, that’s ten nations to one, but it represents a dramatic shift from a region that was previously quiet on this front.

Science programs at the University of Tasmania

Pic: Science programs at the University of Tasmania.

There are plenty of other indicators that Asia is taking scientific research by the reigns. Last year, the National Natural Science Foundation in China set aside nearly US$4 for scientific research at the same time that India launched its ‘Grand Challenges’ program, which is designed to support research in cutting-edge science. Meanwhile, a joint Vietnam-Australia study revealed that the ASEAN scientific community published three times as many scientific papers last decade as it did the decade before.

There’s plenty of correlative data backing these trends. Foremost among these is the fact that students from Asia – especially Taiwan, Korea and Singapore – are outperforming their international peers in math and science. Test scores show this happening from the eighth grade on. It should come as no surprise that that the region with the top-performing students of math and science are taking on a more central leadership role in these sectors.

Central Washington University campus

Pic: Central Washington University campus.

Earning Science Credentials Abroad
While institutions of higher education are on the rise in Asia, many students still seek their credentials overseas. Many (but by no means all) of the universities operating in Asia emphasize rote learning over independent thinking, while universities in the West tend to encourage a degree of critical thinking. Likewise, studying in the West helps Asian students acclimate to foreign cultures and language.

Language proficiency and cultural understanding are indispensible in today’s globalized economy. Asian students who earn science credentials abroad and then return home are often the first choice for international employers based in the region. These students have an easier time interfacing with the company culture , and that sets them up with clients both at home and abroad.

NMT science student

pic: NMT science student.

Likewise, most of the most prolific, top-rated universities in the world are still in the West. Many have been in operation for a hundred or more years – some much longer than that, even – and they attract the top scientists in their fields as instructors and researchers.

In the search for the best science programs for Asian students, one important consideration is the university’s connections to institutions in the East. The number of Asian students enrolling at universities in North America, Europe and Australia is on the rise, to the extent that this demographic has become indispensible to many universities. This has prompted some to set up collaborative programs and learning exchange programs with institutions in Asia. Earning a degree from a university with strong links to Asia lays the foundation for future networking and dramatically boosts a candidate’s employability.

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

ANGLIA RUSKIN UNIVERSITY
The Faculty of Science & Technology is one of Anglia Ruskin University’s largest. It operates five departments across the university’s Cambridge and Chelmsford campuses, with more than 4,500 students involved worldwide. Read the full profile here…     

Anglia Ruskin University science courses

Pic: Anglia Ruskin University science courses.

CENTRAL WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE OF THE SCIENCES
Central Washington University operates internationally leading science programs through the College of the Sciences. International students enroll here for many reasons, including the college’s small class sizes (average of just 18 students) and the chance to work with nationally recognized professors in physics, chemistry, geology and a range of other fields. Read the full profile here…

THE UNIVERSITY OF TASMANIA, FACULTY OF SCIENCE, ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY
The University of Tasmania (UTAS) is ranked among the top 2 percent of the world’s universities according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2013. This is one of Australia’s premier learning and research institutions, and it’s a top choice for students of science in Asia. Read the full profile here…

TRINITY WESTERN UNIVERSITY, FACULTY OF NATURAL AND APPLIED SCIENCES
Located on a 157-acre campus in Canada’s British Columbia, Trinity Western University is a private university with 3,500 students enrolled. It’s known for its outstanding academic programs and small class sizes. Even more enticing: TWU provides scholarships for many international students. Read the full profile here…

Students at Trinity Western University

Pic: Students at Trinity Western University.

THE UNIVERSITY OF EAST LONDON, SCHOOL OF HEALTH, SPORT AND BIOSCIENCE
The School of Health, Sport and Bioscience at the University of East London (UEL) is a fast-growing institute with a diverse student body. The school’s reputation for research has soared in recent years, paving the way for investment and new facilities. This is a school that deserves to be on students’ watch lists in coming years. Read the full profile here…

MOUNT ROYAL UNIVERSITY, FACULTY OF SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
With more than a century’s worth of history behind it, Canada’s Mount Royal University is a North American leader in science education. Roughly 13,000 students are enrolled here, contributing to a large university atmosphere. But despite its cutting-edge facilities, modern construction and promising international network, MRU delivers a personalized learning experience in a warm and inclusive environment. Read the full profile here…

Students at MRU

Pic: Students at MRU.

NEW MEXICO INSTITUTE OF MINING AND TECHNOLOGY
New Mexico Tech was founded in the 1800s in the southwest United States and has developed into one of the world’s leading centers of science, technology and engineering studies. Located in the Rio Grande Valley, this is a preeminent science and technology school in the US. Read the full profile here…