What Is a STEM Degree?

stem degree

A STEM degree is a college degree in a science, technology, engineering or mathematics subject. These subjects are grouped together because they share similarities, including rigorous studies in science and mathematics principles and their applications. STEM careers tend to be in-demand with high rates of pay. This makes  these degree programs attractive to many students  who aren’t deterred by the demanding coursework.

STEM Majors

A STEM degree is not one major, but rather a group of related majors clustered around studies in the principles of science and math. There are dozens of possible STEM majors for you to choose from. Each STEM degree program has a different curriculum and prepares students for different career paths.

Science degrees include studies in subjects such as:

  • biology
  • chemistry
  • biochemistry
  • astronomy
  • physics
  • astrophysics
  • atmospheric sciences
  • neurobiology

Technology often refers to computer-based majors, such as:

  • computer science
  • electronics
  • information technology
  • information science

Colleges offer many different types of engineering degree programs. Some of the most common include:

  • aerospace engineering
  • chemical engineering
  • civil engineering
  • computer engineering
  • electrical engineering
  • industrial engineering
  • mechanical engineering
  • software engineering

In addition to general programs in mathematics, STEM programs may include majors such as:

  • applied mathematics
  • statistics
  • computational mathematics
  • financial mathematics

Not every STEM degree is a precise fit into one of these categories. There’s often some overlap between STEM subjects. For example, majors such as bioinformatics and mathematical biology combine studies in both the science of biology and in mathematics. In addition, students who major in one STEM subject will likely take at least a few classes in another STEM subject.

Advantages of a STEM Degree

Why should you choose a STEM degree program? These subjects are challenging, often requiring students to understand complex concepts and do difficult calculations. Even from the start of your college career, they are often demanding degree programs. Nevertheless, there are so many advantages of earning a STEM degree that these majors are some of the most popular among college-bound high school students.

The appeal of a STEM degree is largely based on the occupations these programs prepare students to fill. Careers in STEM fields are among the most lucrative jobs in America, CBS News reported. These jobs are also among the fastest-growing, with low rates of unemployment and many opportunities for new graduates. Fields like science and technology are continually evolving. This makes them exciting to students who have a natural thirst for knowledge. There are  many STEM careers. The scientific and mathematical principles STEM students study are integral for a variety of different roles. So these degrees are versatile as well as technical.

If you’re prepared for the challenges of a STEM major, this program of study is one way to equip yourself with the skills and knowledge needed for a great career in a rapidly expanding field. If you find equations and experiments interesting rather than intimidating, then going to college for a STEM degree is an excellent choice for you.

Related resource:

30 Great Small Colleges for STEM Degrees

Brenda Rufener
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