what-is-a-stem-degreeA university academic program that pertains to science, technology, engineering or mathematics is known as a STEM degree, and many of today’s higher paying careers require the skills that are taught within these types of programs.

While nearly every college student realizes that a STEM degree can offer them more opportunities for economic stability, not all of them have laid the necessary academic foundations for success in those disciplines. Others simply want to pursue alternate career paths in the performing arts, humanities or law. Subsequently, there is a perceived shortage of people in the workforce who have STEM skills and associated degrees.

Here are some examples of STEM related degrees by category as well as some tips on how to prepare for entry into these rigorous, collegiate programs.


Everybody has to eat, and good food is increasingly being linked to great health. This has prompted a resurgence in majors that are related to the age old profession known as farming. Agricultural Science majors learn traditional farming principles that are related to plant growth, soil quality and irrigation methods. Advances in technology have even paved the way for students to learn about cutting edge techniques for growing large amounts of food in small spaces, indoors or even without soil. Good ways to prepare for this major are to take advanced courses in the biological sciences in high school and volunteer to work on farms or community gardens through organizations like the Biodynamic Farming and Gardening Association.


Even though technology has made modern life more convenient and complicated at the same time, there is no sign of a slow down when it comes to new developments.

Both business customers and end user consumers are the sources of demand for faster, more interactive and increasingly more secure computing devices and services.

Computer science (CS) majors learn the skills and methods for designing and developing software products that increase computer performance and add greater depths of functionality to popular computing platforms. Also, information technology (IT) majors learn about the systems that are commonly used by various industries and how to secure those systems.

Related Resource: Ultimate Computer Science Degree Shootout: Top 15 Affordable vs. Top 15 Cost-no-object Programs

High school courses in algebra and calculus best prepare college bound students for technology majors like CS and IT.


Nearly everybody benefits from products and services offered by skilled engineers. They build structures and items that make life easier, and their knowledge of science and mathematics allows them to incorporate safety principles into their designs.

One of the most popular engineering majors taken throughout the nation’s universities is civil engineering (CE). Civil engineers design, develop and oversee construction of the nation’s highways, bridges and tunnels, and CE is the engineering discipline with the most available engineering jobs in the nation.

The engineering discipline with the second highest number of available jobs is mechanical engineering. Mechanical engineers construct engines, machines for manufacturing services and a number of power generation systems. Civil and mechanical engineers benefit from taking advanced placement courses in algebra, calculus, statistics and physics.


Math is used in nearly all aspects of a person’s personal and professional life, and universities offer a number of concentration areas that are related to the mathematics discipline. One of the most rewarding majors for aspiring mathematicians is Mathematics for Teaching. Some people claim that one really only knows a subject if they can teach it. This major gives students the challenge of participating in a technical discipline as well as the skills to effectively convey math concepts to others in educational settings.

Besides taking advanced placement math courses, aspiring math teachers should also take English classes that help them to develop excellent written and verbal communication skills.


Today’s labor market is highly competitive, and globalization seems to have heightened the challenge of staying employable. Although a STEM degree does not guarantee that a person will obtain or maintain employment, these graduates arguably have more employment opportunities available to them than their peers because of their initial and ongoing educational investments.