Asia’s excellence in the fields of math and science is internationally recognized. According to a study conducted by Trends in International Mathematical Study (TIMSS) and published at the end of 2012, fourth- and eighth-grade students in Asia are well ahead of their peers in the US and Europe when it comes to academic performance in the sciences.
Singapore, South Korea, Japan and Taiwan ranked particularly well in this study. Of course, these are only schoolchildren. By the time they reach the university level, they are poised to dominate the international science scene. At this point, an interesting trend takes over. A surprising number of these Asian students – many of the same ones who dwarfed their Western counterparts at lower grade levels– continue their education overseas with universities in the West.
Last academic year, according to the BBC, well over nearly 1.3 million Chinese students left their own country to earn university credentials abroad. Add to this the throngs of students from South Korea, Japan, India and South-East Asia who are also studying abroad, and the trend can’t be denied. Altogether, more than 50 percent of all students studying abroad originate in Asia.
A world-class zeal for scientific study
In one sense, this global phenomenon is just a return to normalcy for students in Asia. Zeal for science and discovery in the East goes back much farther than it does in the West. China’s Four Great Inventions – papermaking, printing, the compass and gunpowder – all have their roots in antiquity. Likewise, India was world-renowned as a centre for cutting-edge medicine long before the West was making strides. In fact, 6th-century Greek doctors travelled to India to learn how to perform cataract surgery and, according to some sources, doctors in India were learning how to immunize patients against viruses some 1,500 years ago.
In this sense, the academic boom in the sciences currently rippling through Asia is not particularly shocking, and it certainly isn’t a new development. No doubt, universities across Asia will continue to develop and establish stronger international reputations. In the meantime, the best universities for science students from Asia are still in the West.
Universities in Europe, Australia and North America have centuries’ worth of well-documented tradition behind them, and the best receive enormous amounts of research funding that is of direct benefit to students.
Other factors are also at work. Pursuing credentials in science at Western universities allows Asian students to develop strong international networks and hone language skills. By the time they graduate, they are culturally attuned, with a keen understanding of how scientists in the West approach scientific problems and craft solutions. Combining this knowledge with their own cultural mores and approaches to problem solving produces some of the most well-rounded scientists on the planet.
Along those lines, the following are among the leading science programs for Asian students:
UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA, FACULTY OF SCIENCE
The University of Ottawa is ideally located in the downtown district of the Canadian capital. This is the world’s largest bilingual university, with coursework available in French and in English. For students from Asia, the university offers a prime opportunity to earn top-tier credentials through a North American university, while gaining competency in two of the most important languages in the Western hemisphere. Read the full profile here…
UNIVERSITY OF SYDNEY, FACULTY OF SCIENCE
The Faculty of Science at the University of Sydney is research focused and offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees of exceptional quality. The faculty is made up of seven Schools – Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Statistics, Molecular Bioscience, Psychology and Geosciences – plus the Unit for the History and Philosophy of Science. Read the full profile here…
CARDIFF METROPOLITAN UNIVERSITY, SCHOOL OF HEALTH SCIENCES
Cardiff Metropolitan University’s School of Health Sciences is located on the university’s Llandaff Campus. It offers a comprehensive selection of professionally recognised programs in the field of health science, backed by a thriving community of postgraduate students performing research. A health sciences degree from Cardiff has strong international currency. Read the full profile here…
RYERSON UNIVERSITY, FACULTY OF SCIENCE
Science has long played an integral role in educational facilities at Canada’s Ryerson University. However, a degree in science as a standalone offering is relatively new at the university. Brand-new laboratories, cutting-edge laboratories and palpable enthusiasm make this a promising destination for Asian students of science seeking credentials from a well-regarded university in the West. Read the full profile here…
THE UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL, SCHOOL OF APPLIED HUMAN SCIENCES
The University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) in South Africa recently formed the School of Applied Human Sciences by bringing together existing programs in Psychology; Communication, Media and Society; Social Work; and Criminology. Joining these programs into a single school created a dynamic, interdisciplinary atmosphere that naturally produces well-rounded and highly capable graduates. Read the full profile here…
NEW MEXICO INSTITUTE OF MINING AND TECHNOLOGY
Founded in the late 19th century, the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (often referred to as ‘New Mexico Tech’) is a leading centre of science, engineering and technology studies. Internationally acclaimed and surprisingly affordable, this is one of the preeminent science and technology schools in the US. Read the full profile here…
THE NORTH-WEST UNIVERSITY
The North-West University is driven to become one of Africa’s preeminent centers of higher learning. It offers students from Asia a unique opportunity to obtain a world-class education in the West for much less than they would expect to pay in Europe or North America. Read the full profile here…
YORK UNIVERSITY, FACULTY OF SCIENCE AND ENGINEERING
York University is another leading provider of science credentials in Canada. It is based in Toronto, one of the world’s most diverse and dynamic cities. This is also the third-largest university in the country, which means students enjoy access to some of the finest laboratories, facilities and equipment the world has to offer.
UNIVERSITY OF EAST ANGLIA, FACULTY OF SCIENCE
In all, there are more than 2,500 international students enrolled at East Anglia University in the UK, and they represent well over 100 distinct nations. This is a university with two Nobel Laureates to its name, and today’s students continue to make scientific breakthroughs with strong international significance.
SIMON FRASER UNIVERSITY, FACULTY OF SCIENCE
Located in Canada’s British Columbia, the Faculty of Science at Simon Fraser University has expanded by 20 percent (in terms of physical space) in the past five years. This is a leading research institute and an ideal destination for Asian students seeking science credentials in North America.