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Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise almost every industry in the modern economy – and higher education is no different.

As more students wake up to the digital ledger’s potential, universities are taking note and adding the subject to their offerings.

Forty-two percent of the world’s top 50 universities – as ranked by US News and World Report – now offer at least one course on blockchain or cryptocurrencies following student-led demand, according to a report by Coinbase.

And with the number of blockchain jobs advertised on LinkedIn tripling in 2017 alone, the forward-thinking students who immerse themselves in this subject put themselves in a good position for career prospects and high earnings.

The leading universities offering undergraduate degrees in blockchain are:

University Number of blockchain courses offered US News and World Report Ranking
Stanford University 10 3
Cornell University 9 23
University of Pennsylvania 6 19
National University of Singapore 5 43
University of California – Berkeley 4 4
University of California – Los Angeles 3 13
Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich 3 25
Harvard University 2 1
Princeton University 2 9
New York University 2 28
University of Texas – Austin 2 32

“It is on the high side of what a really talented consultant or software engineer can earn,” Jerry Cuomo, IBM’s Vice-President of blockchain technologies told the Financial Times, with salaries starting at US$25,000.

“Demand is exceeding supply, so we are seeing shortages. It is up there with the cloud and artificial intelligence as a really hot area,” he added.

Perhaps surprisingly, 47 percent of social science majors said they were interested in learning about cryptocurrency, compared to only 34 percent from computer science and engineering, according to a survey of 675 US students carried out by Coinbase Qriously.

The report found that 15 percent of blockchain and cryptos were offered by business, economics, finance, and law departments, and four percent derived from social science departments, including anthropology, history and political science, calculated from the 172 classes listed by the top 50 universities. 

“If you’re graduating from law school it’s a tough market these days,” said Campbell Harvey, Professor of International Business at Duke University.

“However, the law students that are trained in blockchain, they don’t need to apply anywhere. People are just asking them to join their firms.”

And the same goes for students with blockchain knowledge in other fields, according to Benedikt Bünz, a doctoral student focusing on cryptocurrencies at Stanford University.

“If you’re an expert in cryptocurrencies and cryptography you’ll have a difficult time not finding a job.”

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