All about STEM courses

Yocket Editorial Team

Updated on Apr 30, 2021


If you read newspapers, you might be reading about STEM or governments and research universities collaborating to encourage more women in STEM and so on. Is STEM something secret like the Illuminati that needs more people? Or is it Hogwarts’s rival who is inviting fellow students to join the magical school?

Although you might know STEM, you know it by its full name: Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. In the Indian education system, if you choose the Science stream regardless of biology or mathematics, you are going for a career in STEM.


How did this start?

The term “STEM” was coined by Judith Ramaley, when she was an assistant director at the National Science Fund. The term was coined while designing education policies to improve competitiveness in science and technology development. Today, the top universities in the United States like MIT and Carnegie Mellon University use STEM as a definition for their pedagogy to produce and train some of the best physicists, engineers and mathematicians of the world.


What does STEM include?

STEM is composed of four parts:

  1. Science - This is composed of natural sciences like biology and chemistry and formal sciences like mathematics and statistics.

  2. Technology- This defines the technical systems of our era like radar, Wi-Fi etc.

  3. Engineering- Although regarded as one of the biggest hobbies in India, engineering is one of the most dynamic and important part of STEM research and studies.

  4. Mathematics

STEM does not include social sciences like Psychology and History which are clubbed in Humanities and Arts or business programs.


Why STEM is being promoted so much?

The reason is quite simple: unlike law school programs or business school programs, you can start working in STEM research immediately after your undergraduate school also. If you aspire to go in academia, i.e. to become a professor, there’s good news for you: unlike humanities and arts departments where tenure track positions are getting lesser and lesser with more aspirants each year, there are an extremely high number of jobs in STEM academia.

Otherwise, governments and private companies are investing money worth private jets in STEM research like cancer research, nuclear energy and aerospace industry. So, having a STEM job is a short-cut to being a Crazy-Rich Asian!

One thing to know is that though STEM jobs are high-paying, STEM education is an extremely arduous journey. The courses are convoluted in graduate school and it is not easy to defend a Ph.D. dissertation also.

It is not necessary to get a high-paying job after STEM education. Many STEM graduates also struggle because of the lack of funding in their fields or national security issues. In 2013, IEEE Spectrum editor Robert Charette published a study where he noted that around ¼ STEM graduates actually have a STEM job.

So, it’s not that easy to get RICH with a STEM education!


Wait, you mean I can go to business school and still get a STEM job? So why should I go for a STEM education?

In 1965, Dr. Richard Feynman won the Nobel Prize in Physics for his work in quantum electrodynamics. Much to everyone’s surprise, he didn't want it. He stated the reason as, “I have already got the prize: the prize is the pleasure of finding things out, the kick in the discovery, the observation that other people use it. Those are the real thing.”

Getting a STEM education is exciting and meaningful for a fact that someday, you might be making something that would benefit mankind. Yes, it is tough but meaningful.


Does the United States allow international students to be funded as STEM students?

Yes! In fact, most of the funding in research and education in the United States is devoted to STEM research. This covers all forms: undergraduate, graduate and doctoral. The United States government and several private entities fund millions of dollars to international students to study and perform STEM research.

So, that’s what needed to be known if you were not aware about STEM courses. Thanks for reading this blog post.  

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