What Are STEM Fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)?

STEM comprises the following major areas of study:

  • Natural, physical, and life sciences (sometimes including medicine, sometimes not)
  • Computer, electronics, and other technology-related disciplines
  • All types of engineering
  • Mathematics, or any field involving a heavy application of mathematical principles

U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement maintains a list of college STEM majors, which includes the four basic subjects above, along with architecture, psychology, digital communication, and some pharmaceutical and social sciences.  Architecture is a relatively new addition to STEM, only officially recognized by the U.S. government in 2019.

Many also debate whether health and medical fields like nursing and dentistry should be considered STEM. ACT Inc. includes many health and medical fields in its 2016 Condition of STEM report, giving doctors, nurses, and dentists the designation of STEM professionals.

As society innovates and technology advances, the need for professionals who understand how these technologies work and who can propose practical solutions continues to grow. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) calls STEM careers “tomorrow’s jobs,” emphasizing the importance of these unique industries.  Today, STEM jobs are in high demand, and many are projected to stay in demand for several years.


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