Degrees in STEM: Where do the doors lead?

Many people would argue that a career in STEM is the most coveted job anyone could have in the current market, with the rise of technological advancement and the development of the quaternary sector playing a huge part in the boom of STEM-based jobs. After all, these are the sectors with the most employable firms, high-paying salaries, and a lot of prestige. But what exactly is a degree in STEM?

Well, before we dive into the degrees in STEM offered, let’s take a look at what STEM actually involves. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Thus a degree in STEM could vary incredibly vastly, from Biochemistry to Computing to Electrical Engineering to – well, Mathematics. Or even a combination of two fields of STEM, such as Biotechnology, or Computer Science and Mathematics. There are a huge number of degrees specialising in any combination of the above subjects from universities across the world. But the doors they open are immeasurable. 

One of the unique and most valued traits of STEM degrees is not the specialist knowledge that it provides, but rather the skills and attributes that make a STEM graduate a highly sought-after candidate for a large pool of roles. Skills such as analytical and critical thinking, effective communication, and organisation and management prove themselves to be incredibly useful over and over again in any job. In fact, often, these are more often sought out than a specific degree for many jobs, including in huge firms. So let’s take a deep dive into the different degrees that each subgroup in STEM offers…

 

  1. Science

Science degrees have a huge amount of variety: while you can choose to pursue a degree in pure science, such as studying a BSc in biology or chemistry or an MSc in Physics, you can also choose to study a speciality within science as well. Universities offer degrees such as Natural Sciences, Biochemistry, Biomedical Sciences, Ecology, Astronomy, or even combined STEM. It goes without saying that the highly competitive Medicine and Dentistry courses, which are offered as MBBSs and BDSs, respectively, also fall within this category. Some medicine courses even offer the opportunity to pursue an intercalated bachelor’s (iBSc) in another science – which, incidentally, can be entirely different to the field of medicine – I’ve seen medical students who have done an iBSc in business and management! The field of geography can also be a field in STEM – although when choosing your degree course, you must be very careful to check the course content as some geography degrees may be offered as a Bachelor of Arts rather than Science. Pursuing courses in Science often provides the unique opportunity to conduct your own independent research as a final-year project, which can offer some great work experience if you’re hoping to go into academia or research.

 

2. Technology

If working in a research lab and operating a microscope doesn’t sound like it would suit you, perhaps learning in a computer lab is more up your alley. A career in tech is incredibly rewarding, especially with the rise of AI which has left this sector booming. Pursuing your studies in technology may look like studying computer science, AI studies (which can specialise in different sectors), cybersecurity, or informatics. Other courses that lead to more niche pathways also exist, such as data science, a course that can set you up to work in either technology or analytics or biotechnology, which in itself is a large subsector of the health and life sciences sector. With the rise of the tech industry, more and more companies have begun to offer degree apprenticeships in lieu of the traditional degree and graduate pathways – so perhaps a degree apprenticeship in digital technology solutions, offered by a number of universities, sounds more appealing. And you don’t need to know a million high-level coding languages to apply, so go for it!

 

3. Engineering

“What does an engineer actually do?” Is often a question thrown about when this sector is brought up. Unfortunately, this issue isn’t quite going to answer that! We can offer some insight into engineering, however – it’s a multifaceted subject, with a huge number of applications. This discipline requires intelligence and innovation, as well as analytical thinking which make engineering graduates highly employable. Engineering is pretty much the foundation of the world in which we currently live, so the market is always open and seeking more engineers to join the industry. A degree in engineering can vary from electrical engineering to mechanical, to civil, to biomedical, to aerospace, and even environmental. And, of course, you’re not limited to just the engineering sector – you could work in the civil service, or in healthcare and life sciences, or on an oil rig, or even on an F1 track! The possibilities are endless, so why not go ahead and apply?

 

4. Mathematics

If you’re a numbers person and love solving problems, then pursuing a degree in mathematics will probably bring you a lot of enjoyment. Most people will assume that this field of STEM only leads to a role in finance, and while this is true to an extent, with degrees such as economics, finance, and actuarial science offering direct pathways into working with banking firms, there are many other fields that mathematics can lead into. Statistics, mathematical modelling, and operational research, as well as pure mathematics, are all offered by universities around the world as courses relating to mathematics. If you believe the world is a numbers game, why not go ahead and give a mathematics degree a whirl – or rather, a Fibonacci spiral?

So there we have it! This list is not at all exhaustive, so if you feel like none of the courses mentioned above are catching your vibe, there are a variety of websites on the internet and university prospectuses that might be able to provide more information. However, if you’re wanting to get into STEM but you’re not sure what exactly you want to do, this article is a good start for your search! Happy studies! 

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