Multiple factors drive Asian students to pursue postgraduate credentials at Western universities, not least the substantial pay raise. Statistics vary from one nation and field to the next, but studies consistently show that graduates who hold a master’s degree earn substantially more than their undergraduate counterparts.

But there are other variables at play as well. The number of Asian students – particularly from China – applying to universities in the West is skyrocketing. With so many of their peers earning undergraduate credentials from universities in Australia, Europe and North America, the only way to set themselves apart is to aim higher and pursue even higher qualifications.

Student at the University of Aberdeen

Pic: Student at the University of Aberdeen.

Not all fields and majors were created equally, and the incentive to study at the postgraduate level is much higher with some careers than it is with others. With that in mind, the following fields are particularly strong contenders postgraduate education:

Business
The world economy has undergone dramatic changes since the global financial crisis of 2008, with the scales tipping heavily in favor of emerging powers in Asia. With the success of transcontinental trade alliances such as BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa), it’s clear that the rising economies of Asia are set to play a powerful role in 21st-century commerce.

That being said, many students in Asia are still seeking MBAs and other postgraduate business credentials through institutions of higher learning in the West, sometimes via joint offerings delivered in collaboration with Asian universities.

Law
Western-educated lawyers are in increasingly high demand across Asia, due in part to complicated nature of international trade and the need to navigate a labyrinth of legal, political and regulatory policies in the process. Graduates with Western credentials and well-developed overseas networks are proving invaluable to growing multinational companies headquartered in Asia.

Pic: Middlesex University, School of Law.

Engineering
Two years ago, Forbes magazine published an interesting article contrasting Eastern and Western political landscapes. At the time the article was published, nearly 90 percent of the top political posts in China were held by engineers (compare this to approximately zero in the US). This is an interesting statistic, and it demonstrates the prestige and credibility that engineering credentials carry in developing and recently developed nations.

With the rate at which infrastructure is being built across Asia, demand for highly qualified engineers is virtually inexhaustible. But this is not just to facilitate basic development. On the contrary, much of the world’s top, cutting-edge technology is also being designed and manufactured in Asia.

Hospitality
International tourist arrivals hit an all-time high last year, with more than 1 billion international arrivals on the books, worldwide. Asia is responsible for much of this growth, with 7 percent year-on-year growth registered for the Asia-Pacific region. Needless to say, students who plan to earn postgraduate credentials in hospitality and tourism are wise to do so overseas, where they can sharpen their language skills and gain experience operating in a foreign or multicultural environment.

International studies
International relations is an ancient institution, but it has never been as challenging or complex as in the modern age. The world of 21st-century trade and politics has become so complex that many multinational companies are desperate to hire experts that can help them navigate complex regulatory policies, circumvent conflict and institute lateral agreements between multiple nation states without alienating any involved parties in the process.

The following are among the leading postgraduate programs for Asian students:

Business programs

THE UNIVERSITY OF ABERDEEN BUSINESS SCHOOL
The Business School is located in Aberdeen, a vibrant city at the heart of Scotland’s thriving global energy industry and close to some of Scotland’s most spectacular landscapes. Furthermore, the school has recently undertaken a review in order to evaluate changing market needs and has used this knowledge to enhance all its programs, making this an ideal time for Asian students to consider enrolling in one of the its postgraduate programs. Read the full profile here…

CQUNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS AND LAW
The School of Business and Law at CQUniversity is a top choice for Asian students. It’s ideally located in the Asia-Pacific region and offers up-to-date coursework in management, finance, accounting and a host of other business-related fields. The school is the result of a recent merger between School of Commerce and Law and the School of Management and Marketing, enhancing the possibilities for interdisciplinary crossover. Read the full profile here…

CQUniversity

Pic: CQUniversity.

Law programs

UNSW LAW
UNSW Law has been in operation for more than four decades and operates one of the most respected international law programs in the Asia-Pacific region. In all, the school offers more than 30 postgraduate programs across 12 distinct areas of specialization, with taught coursework, research degrees and diploma programs all on offer. The University of South Wales is a member of Australia’s prestigious Group of 8 universities, and law students who earn postgraduate credentials here share in that prestige. Read the full profile here…

UNSW Law

Pic: University of New South Wales Law programs.

MIDDLESEX UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF LAW
Middlesex University is based in London, where it presides over an international network of more than 40,000 students. This is a highly diverse campus, with one out of three students hailing from one 140 different countries, setting the tone for a dynamic and enriching postgraduate experience. Read the full profile here…

Engineering programs

CQUNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY
While enrolled at the School of Engineering and Technology, students benefit from an optimal mix of theory and practical learning under the oversight of highly-qualified academics with strong industry experience. This combines with state-of-the-art facilities to present students with every opportunity to hone their skills and sharpen their specializations. Read the full profile here…

Engineering students at CQUniversity

Pic: Engineering students at CQUniversity.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE UNIVERSITY, COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING
According to the Wall Street Journal, graduates of NC State’s College of Engineering are among the most attractive job applicants in the US. Likewise, Asian students who earn postgraduate engineering credentials here are poised to take on high-power positions all over the world.

Hospitality programs

UNIVERSITY OF WEST LONDON, LONDON SCHOOL OF HOSPITALITY AND TOURISM     
Operated under the University of West London, the School of Hospitality and Tourism is ideally positioned in the heart of a global nexus of hospitality, where roughly 10 per cent of the workforce is employed by the industry. Some of the leading hospitality professionals in the world teach at the school and work closely with local and regional industry players to create placement opportunities for students. Read the full profile here…

UWL Hospitality programs

Pic: UWL Hospitality programs.

LE CORDON BLEU AUSTRALIA
One on the leading culinary arts institutes in the world, Le Cordon Bleu’s Australia division operates several campuses within easy reach of students in the Asia-Pacific region. In addition to standard culinary arts qualifications, students can also pursue a Master of International Hospitality Management or an MBA in International Hotel and Restaurant Management.

International studies programs

FLINDERS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL STUDIES
The Flinders University School of International Studies is an Australian leader for studying International Affairs. A strong teaching record, strategic position in the Asia-Pacific region and powerful networks into China and Japan make Flinders a particularly popular destination for postgraduate students in Asia. Read the full profile here…

Flinders University School of International Studies

Pic: Flinders University School of International Studies.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN CAROLINA SCHOOL OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
The world’s third-oldest school of international relations, the University of Southern Carolina’s SIR carries a great deal of prestige. It facilitates a variety of joint master’s degree programs, as well as a joint PhD program combining International Relations with Political Science.