The prominence of non-STEM courses in the US

“The US offers a unique dual degree program that allows students to undertake two subjects of varied fields”

A recent study by the World Economic Forum revealed that creativity, originality and emotional intelligence are among the top 10 in-demand skills in 2023. And what’s interesting is that except for two, all are non-STEM skills, which means they do not fall under the purview of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

While researching the gradual shift towards non-STEM fields, I came across the McKinsey Global Institute trends report, which stated how the need for job skills will change between now and 2030. It emphasises on the demand for a person’s interpersonal skills, such as communication, empathy, and creativity. The report also states that the employees’ core performance areas are changing due to technological breakthroughs like automation and artificial intelligence.

It is a well-known fact that the US leads in providing the best STEM courses globally.

The Biden administration has recently added 22 new STEM Optional Training Programs, allowing students to gain temporary employment related to their field of study. Beyond this, it is interesting to know that there is a vast demand for non-STEM jobs in the US, leading to the rise in non-STEM courses across institutions.

IDP’s flagship event to guide study abroad aspirants – IDP Talk, also discussed the increase in the non-STEM courses in the US in Season 3.

Another reason for this is that the US offers a unique dual degree program that allows students to undertake two subjects of varied fields. A student can take science and music simultaneously, explore their area of interest, and decide in which stream they want to build their career. So, even if a student opts for STEM courses, they have the option to take non-STEM courses along with it.

There are various courses that have already shown positive statistics.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, shows psychology as a profession has seen tremendous growth and is expected to grow 8% from 2020-2030. The median pay for psychologists in 2021 was $81,040.

According to the same source, the job outlook is 13% for economists, 25% for operations research analysts, and 32% for medical and health services managers for the same period, with a median pay of $105,630, $82,360 and $101,340, respectively.

At IDP India, we have also seen a gradual increase in student inquiries and applications in non-STEM courses.

Among international students, Indians have shown a great deal of interest in courses like Business, Data and Marketing Analytics, Psychology, Engineering Management, Economics, Finance, Financial Planning, Risk Management, Health Administration, Public Health, Sports & Exercise Science, Public Policy, Regulatory Affairs, Urban Planning, Fashion Design, Brand Management, Film, Media, Performing Arts and many more in the US.

The world needs everyone from businesspeople, policymakers, accountants, economists, lawyers, and people from other backgrounds to function properly. A lopsided approach towards only one field of study, be it STEM or non-STEM, will result in a debilitated world.

Hence it is important for us to guide students in the right manner and enable them to decide on the best courses and institutions for their future. IDP has been doing it for more than 50 years worldwide and will continue to improve its expertise for the betterment of our future generation.

About the author: Piyush Kumar is the Regional Director for South Asia and Mauritius at IDP Education, a world leader in overseas education consultancy. For over 50 years, it has successfully helped more than 6 million students realise their study-abroad journey in Australia, the US, the UK, Canada, New Zealand and Ireland.