Top Subjects to Study Abroad During Recession [Economic Slowdown]

This post was originally written for the folks who were planning to study abroad post-pandemic (2021 / 2022), the job market might not be rosy due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, this post still remains relevant for the aspirants in 2023 as the world is still going through an economic slowdown. Irrespective of the job market scenario, it’s only wise to take calculated risks. In this post, we will look at the best subjects to study abroad during a recession for better job prospects abroad after graduation.


Top Subjects to Study Abroad During Recession


Co-authored by Parinita Gupta



As far as the eye goes through this mist of the COVID-19 downturn, one can only see a far-flung recession grooving to the remotest corners of the globe. It is probably one of the scariest downturns as GDPs have already started declining and experts are still pondering over an expected time, things would again fall in place, and economies would revive.


Most of us have already started believing that this is going to bring a catastrophe to the students migrating abroad for their higher studies. However, this is really not as bad as it sounds. All of us must have seen that though most of the world had come to an unexpected halt, there were still some processes, industries, and businesses that weren’t affected and rather continued to increase their businesses.


We will here discuss, how you can get into industries where no recession can stop you from earning and what subjects you may choose for a high swing in your career.


Top College Majors that Pay Well During Recessions (Study by Yale University)


Studying Abroad During COVID-19 - Is it Worth?
Source: The New York Times


Most Popular College Majors to Study During Recessions (Study by the Institute of Labor)


Top Subjects to Study Abroad During Recession
Source: Vox


Best Subjects to Study During Recession
Source: Vox


Does a Foreign Degree Help During and After a Recession?


Before we look at the list of top subjects that can help you to get a job during a recession, we will look at how helpful an MS program is during and after recessions.


Multiple surveys have shown that a Bachelors or Masters degree can help you get through recessions. Below is a fact sheet published by MBA Crystal Ball, one of the most credible career guidance and MBA admissions consulting portals.


Top College Majors to Pursue During Recession
Source: MBA Crystal Ball


However, don’t expect that an MS degree is a sure-shot gateway for jobs abroad during recessions. Read Rohit’s bad experience of MS in USA during 2009-recession.


Now, we will move on to our main agenda for this article!


1. Biotechnology


When the world is preparing for an acute recession just as they did in 2008-9, the biotech industry is more focused on new research, medications, and vaccinations. Such a situation, gives rise to more rigorous research in the near future, calling for more investments and huge vacancies.


The biotech firms generating one of the largest revenues of more than one billion dollars have already caught the attention of many career aspirants. The subject with a lot of branches and specializations nowadays has become vaster so as to include opportunities in biochemistry, epidemiology, microbiology, bio-organic chemistry, bio-ethics, food and drug laws, biomedical engineering which gives one a chance to earn around $60,000 to $1,50,000 per annum. One can easily explore the scope of biotechnology as a career option, and the huge chance of success.


Related Articles:


Job Search Tips for International Students During COVID-19

Top 6 Bioscience Majors that will be in High Demand During and Post-Pandemic Recession


2. Computer Science


Recession with its imperial consequences makes cutting costs a mandate, and technology has got promising ways to help mankind reduce numerous costs. The foremost thing it has really gifted mankind with is by making processes virtually flawless. No-mistake and error-free processes reduce the time and costs of production and also any chance of refunds.


Increased usage of robotics, machine learning, and artificial intelligence also reduces energy consumption, and manpower costs, and also keeps a steady monitoring data of production and productivity, and machine errors. Cloud storage, on the other hand, makes data storage and database management easier than ever before. CRM software makes sales management wonderfully simpler and management for giant organizations.


With these many benefits and more coming soon, computer science is still chosen by many as a one-shot success discipline. Various subjects like Artificial Intelligence, AI with Speech and Multimodal Interaction, Business Information Management; Cyber Security, Games Programming, and Industrial Training, etc. offer you abundant provisions in different colleges and universities across the globe.


Related Articles:


MS Computer Science in USA

MS Computer Science in Canada

MS Computer Science in Germany

MS Computer Science Admits at Cornell and Georgia Tech after Multiple Rejections


3. Data Science & Analytics


The present age is the era of data, with millions, and tons of data generated every day. Consumer behavior, market trends, banking, retail, e-commerce, digital marketing, and machine outputs all generate piles of data to be segmented, analyzed, studied, categorized, and presented. These sets of data are visualized from different angles and framed in statistical analysis for important decisions. Data also play a major role in order to be fed to machines, which we call machine learning and artificial intelligence.


Though the present downturn scenario may cause directions to change. But, data science and analytics will anyway grow its importance in the long run. A few of the growing sectors that will resist the recession drawbacks are risk and fraud detection, banking and finance, AI & Machine Learning, Healthcare & drug research, e-commerce, transport, etc. Read the Job Market Trends for Data Science, ML/AI & Data Analytics during COVID-19 Phase.


There are plenty of opportunities in various colleges abroad where you may get specializations in data analytics to enter any of the specified domains.


Related Articles:


MS Data Science in USA

MS Business Analytics in USA

MS Data Science & Analytics in Canada

MS Business Analytics in Canada

Masters in Data Science & Analytics in UK

Masters in Data Science & Analytics in Germany

Masters in Data Science & Analytics in France

Masters in Data Science & Analytics in Australia


4. Healthcare


Healthcare and medicine are the industries that will never find a setback in their ways. No matter what happens, healthcare will always find a way out. A general MBBS with specializations like dentistry, pediatrics, ENT, ophthalmology, obstetrics & gynecology general surgery, ENT, plastic surgery, anesthesiology, cardiology, neuro-surgery, urology, etc. you can easily land-up to places not easily affected by economic downturns.


People will keep needing medicines and healthcare in order to sustain. In case you are looking for some unconventional courses to pursue in this, you may choose nursing, pathology, pharmacology, photo-biology, pharmacy or a pharmaceutical scientist as your domain. Government and public hospitals, and clinics are in alarming need of specialized doctors, staff, and surgeons. Healthcare also gives you a free chance to start your own clinics and never depend on employing agencies.


5. Nursing


There are still many alternative careers in medicine and healthcare for those who want to explore something unconventional. New doors opening in research, education, health promotion, health management, and also clinical areas like critical care, midwifery, mental health, emergency, operating room, pediatrics, surgery, etc. need another essential role, that of ‘nursing’.


You can easily choose “nursing” as your college major to get into any of these careers. During the recession, this discipline will also give you opportunities to work from home as a ‘telehealth nurse’, into nurse care advisory or as nurse consultants in legal or forensic divisions. Read more about Nursing Careers and Jobs in India and Abroad.


6. Education


Education is a perennial industry that survives all downturns at ease. With developing countries emerging with technological trends, there is an equally increasing awareness among mass population of the world. Education offers an opportunity to become educationists, teachers, professors, lecturers, student counselors and psychologists.


Students aspiring to be research scholars can also pursue Ph.D. at different locations abroad. There are new emerging careers where educationists are working as innovative curriculum designers, channel partners to education agencies, while some are working as child life specialists in special educational institutions. The recreation agencies are looking for camp directors and activity coordinators.


Education also offers respectable opportunities to work as learning officers, school & college superintendents, college deans, school & college presidents up to education directors. With higher studies and clearing entrance examinations, one can also get a chance to enter the government wings of education research and policy-making.


7. Natural Sciences


Natural Science is yet another sector that offers wonderful career opportunities and also various specializations abroad. Few of them include physics, chemistry, biology, botany and zoology, ecology, environmental science, astronomy, etc.


One of the latest positions highly in demand is that of an industrial ecologist who can analyze natural eco-processes considered in the implementation of different industrial systems. Something similar to that is ‘green chemistry’, and Universities are taking special initiatives to cater to this discipline to new generation students.


Natural chemists, on the other hand, participate in researches in laboratories, new experiments, and can also act as teachers, professors or even writers. Biophysicists, on the other hand, work on special research projects studying chemical reactions on proteins and nervous systems and their impacts on cells and organisms, that too, at an atomic level.


8. Agricultural Sciences


With multiple locations across the world-changing to pollution centres, and people all the more exposed to polluted air, water, and food; organic farming and agriculture are grabbing special attention. India has got an agriculture-dependent economy, and new generations are taking up this subject as a matter of genuine concern.


With new technologies applied to farming and agriculture, students are seeking opportunities abroad to learn new techniques of farming and agriculture. A few of the specialized disciplines in this sector are agronomy, horticulture, agricultural process, and engineering also including farm machinery, irrigation engineering ground-water hydrology, and remote sensing.


9. Journalism & Media


Media and journalism are perennial industries that will give you a chance to work and grow even during recessions. You may work in print media like newspapers and magazines, audio media as radio broadcasting, and audio-visual media as the television and also nowadays the internet. News and advertising agencies look for highly skilled art directors, copywriters, content developers, publishing and printing experts, script-writers, event managers, etc.


Public Relations is also a glamourous profile that can land you into giant corporates. Degrees in Mass Communication, Journalism, PR, Media can take you to these proven, and ever-growing sectors.


10. Business studies (Economics, Finance, Actuarial Science, Marketing)


While the world is expecting a grave situation with disrupted economies, fallible predictions, and a lot of reluctance from investors, you can actually take advantage of pursuing an ever-rising career in business economics. Downturns can be the bang-on time for entrepreneurs to start-up new businesses. By understanding the need of the market, entrepreneurs start their ventures with disruptive models of new businesses that giants will never dare to touch. So, you may follow the proven track by getting into some potential knowledge and an unconventional business idea.


Apart from this, actuaries have emerged as a benevolent career. Professionals are hired by corporates as well as public and semi-government undertakings to analyze risks, business policies and formulations, budget allocations, fund management, and distribution, as well as new investments.


11. Civil Engineering


People have a roughly negative idea about civil engineering going down during recessions. All of it isn’t wrong though, as investments get reduced, projects slow down and people have the least hope of new projects coming up. However, this isn’t the case everywhere and every time.


Specializations like transportation and hydraulic engineering have seen increasing demands in the civil industry. So, if the land development industries may even take certain hits during recessions, specializations like geotechnical engineering, environmental engineering, water resources engineering, structural engineering, urban planning, and construction management can guarantee a lot of prospects even through the recession years.


12. Political Science


Politics is just another stream that would continue to have its own significance. Political economy, international relations, the constitutional laws and amendments, political administration, and methodology are few of the less chosen sectors and are always in need of brilliant minds and expertise.


Political Science can also take you to be a part of the governing bodies as electoral chiefs, presiding officers, political advisor, executive assistant, legislative assistant, policy analyst, public relations and media officers, attorney and intelligence analysts, campaign officers, fund manager, etc. There are certain entrance examinations to enter each level, however, these roles will let you succeed in your career even during the bad phases of the economy.


13. International Relations


Foreign relations are getting increasingly complicated and sensitive with a huge increase in the global political turmoil, import and export businesses between nations, migrations abroad due to studies and jobs, and also, due to the travel and tourism industries.


Governments are largely seeking diplomats in the form of social research officers, political and intelligence analysts, public affairs officers, foreign language experts, PR relation managers, and networking assistants. India offers a generous chance to such expertise in the form of India Foreign Service (IFS). Even media agencies are ready to offer respectable positions and lucrative packages to foreign relations experts.


The other career alternatives in International relations are that of lobbyists representing their organizations to the government and international lawyers. You can also get an opportunity to work with international and global bodies like the UN agencies and the World Health Organization, while otherwise trying opportunities as professors and lecturers, authors, research assistants, and consulting officers.




About Parinita Gupta: Parinita is a full-time banking professional. Additionally, she is also a passionate blogger and digital marketer.

She mostly writes about the Banking & Finance, Technology, and FinTech sector. But, she also enjoys writing on other topics as well.  You can follow her on Twitter.




Featured Image Source: The Pie News


References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7.

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