What is a STEM degree?

Students studying at a MacBook in class

There are a wide variety of degrees and careers out there, so it’s likely you have a lot of questions. Will I get a job after graduating? What sort of salary can I expect? Where, and what, should I study?

From job security to innovative problem-solving, STEM degrees open a variety of career opportunities and provide a solid foundation for your future. In this article, we go over the various advantages of studying a STEM degree and how it can help you achieve your education goals.

What is a STEM degree?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

A STEM degree is an educational program that is typically offered at the undergraduate, graduate, and professional levels, and provides students with a comprehensive education within their specified major. STEM degrees often lead to careers in fields such as computer science, mathematics, engineering, and other related fields.

While STEM is an acronym used to cover many different subjects across the four main disciplines, no two degrees are the same. Let’s look at what STEM majors are available.

Types of STEM majors

Within each of the four pillars is a variety of specializations that you might be interested in. Let’s take a closer look at the types of STEM programs you could choose:


If you’re passionate about the sciences, you could end up working in research labs, forensics or even in hospitals. Some examples of science-focused STEM courses you might be interested in include:

  • Biochemistry
  • Biomedical Science
  • Ecology
  • Neuroscience
  • Genetics.


Technology is on everyone’s minds right now, with things like the rise of artificial intelligence dominating headlines. From virtual reality to chat bots and even video games, the tech industry is fast-moving and on the cutting edge of change: the perfect environment for those looking to help shape future systems and tools that will be used around the world. A technology STEM degree could lead to careers in software engineering, IT project management, and data science.

Some example technology subjects you could study are:

  • Computing
  • Computer Science
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Game Design.


Engineering STEM degrees cover a wide range of fields, from civil and mechanical engineering to electrical and software engineering. These programs provide students with a strong foundation in math, physics, and problem-solving, as well as specific engineering principles and techniques.

Popular career paths for engineers include aerospace engineering, environmental engineering, and software engineering.

Engineering-related majors you could study at university include:

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering 
  • Electrical Engineering.


Mathematics is all around us, in ways you may not even have expected! From designing complex machinery to computer programs, mathematics is needed in almost every field you can think of. As a result, studying a mathematics degree gives you great freedom as to where you can take your career. It can lead to careers in fields such as finance, data analysis, and cryptography.

Some math-related courses include:

  • Accounting and Finance
  • Data Science
  • Computing and Mathematics.

Why study a STEM degree?

If you’re looking for a fast-paced, engaging and rewarding career, a STEM degree is the perfect first step. Not only will you be taking full advantage of your skills and passions, but you’ll be also making a bigger impact on the world as you work on things that could be used by millions of people.

No matter what level you want to study, there is a STEM program for you. There are a range of universities that offer many different courses. The International Year program at the University of Hartford International Study Center is one such example, designed for undergraduate international students to help transition you into university life and ensuring you are prepared for success during your studies in the United States.

If you already have an undergraduate degree in a STEM subject and are looking to expand on your knowledge with a graduate degree in a STEM subject area, the International Study Center’s Master’s International Year can help you access graduate degrees in the U.S.

If you are an undergraduate or graduate student and meet the entry requirements, you may be eligible to enroll directly into the University of Hartford. Learn more about the Direct Admission Requirements here.

A STEM degree comes with many advantages. Here are just a few:


STEM degrees can lead to highly sought-after jobs with good salaries and career growth opportunities. According to a report by the US Department of Commerce, STEM jobs are growing at a rate of 17% compared to 9.8% for non-STEM jobs. This means that graduates with STEM degrees are likely to have an easier time finding employment and may have a wider range of job opportunities available to them.

Transferable skills

STEM degrees can provide graduates with a range of transferable skills that can be useful in a variety of careers. For example, a degree in computer science may provide you with skills in problem-solving, critical thinking, and data analysis, which can be useful in fields such as business, finance, and healthcare.

Innovation and creativity

A STEM education encourages innovation and creativity, which are important traits for success. Studying STEM subjects encourages you to think critically, find solutions to complex problems, and develop creative ways to solve them.

Tackling global challenges

A STEM education is crucial for addressing many of the world's most pressing challenges, such as climate change, healthcare, and cybersecurity. Graduates with STEM degrees can make a real impact by developing new technologies, processes, and policies that help solve these challenges.

Optional practical training

If a chosen degree is recognized as a STEM-designated degree by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, F-1 international students may qualify to extend their post-graduation stay in the United States through Optional Practical Training (OPT). Click here for a list of the University of Hartford's STEM-designated degrees.

Studying a STEM degree is one of the most rewarding and fulfilling educational paths you can take. At the University of Hartford International Study Center, our programs help ambitious international students like you study an undergraduate or graduate STEM-related degree at UHart.

With a STEM degree, you'll have the opportunity to make a real impact on the world, whether it's through developing life-saving medical technologies, creating new renewable energy sources, or designing the next big video game. By pursuing a STEM degree, you're setting yourself up for a bright and exciting future, full of endless possibilities and opportunities to learn, grow, and succeed

Frequently asked questions (FAQ)

What is the full form of STEM?

STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. It is a term used to refer to the academic disciplines and careers related to these subjects.

What is the best STEM degree?

Each STEM degree has its own unique strengths and potential career paths, so it's difficult to determine the "best" one. It's important to consider your interests, skills, and the sorts of things you hope to achieve in your future career.

Is a career in STEM worth it?

STEM careers can be highly rewarding, offering great opportunities for learning, innovation, and having a positive impact on society. The decision to pursue a career in STEM ultimately depends on your career goals.