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What is STEM?

STEM is an acronym that stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. STEM majors are those that focus on the following areas:

Science: Utilize scientific methods to explore the physical and biological world. Usually involves designing experiments and interpreting results. The goal is to further knowledge.
Technology: Develop and design technology to assist in engineering and science pursuits. Can include computers and software as well as design and manufacturing.
Engineering: Apply scientific knowledge to solve practical problems. May include developing and testing new products.
Mathematics: The “universal language” of science and technology. Further understanding of math including creating statistical models to predict outcomes.

Parallel Planning in STEM

As you explore STEM majors, you will note some have entrance requirements that must be completed before applying. In some cases, even if you meet these requirements, admission may be limited due to space.

If you are exploring majors that have entrance requirements, we recommend looking at options for a parallel plan (also known as a back-up plan). A parallel plan includes majors that relate to your interests and skills and can be declared without meeting additional requirements. Having multiple options allows you to pursue your goals even if you are not admitted to your first choice major. 

We recommend using the links on this page to explore and identify parallel plan options at the U, as well as learn about the wide-variety of STEM careers available. 

Learning more about your interests, values, and skills can be helpful in identifying parallel plan options. Visit the Self-Awareness section of the CAPE site for activities that can help you learn more about yourself. 

If you would like support with developing a parallel plan, schedule a meeting with a CAPE Coach

STEM Majors List

The majors below focus exclusively or predominantly on mathematics, natural sciences (including physical sciences and biological/agricultural sciences), engineering/engineering technologies, and computer/information sciences.

Note: This list of STEM majors is different from the list of majors eligible for OPT STEM extension. See that list here. Contact ISSS for further questions about OPT STEM extension.

Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics

Animal Science

Astrophysics BA

Astrophysics BS



Biology, Society, and Environment

Biomedical Engineering

Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering

Cellular and Organismal Physiology

Chemical Engineering

Chemistry BA

Chemistry BS

Civil Engineering

Computer Engineering

Computer Science BA

Computer Science BS

Data Science

Earth Sciences BA

Earth Sciences BS

Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior

Economics BS

Economics- Quantitative Emphasis BA

Electrical Engineering

Environmental Geosciences BA

Environmental Geosciences BS

Environmental Sciences, Policy and Management

Environmental Engineering

Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology

Food Science

Forest and Natural Resource Management 

Genetics, Cell Biology and Development


Human Physiology

Industrial and Systems Engineering

Information Technology Infrastructure 

Materials Science and Engineering

Mathematics BA

Mathematics BS

Mechanical Engineering




Physics BA

Physics BS

Plant and Microbial Biology 

Plant Science

Statistical Practice

Statistical Science

Sustainable Systems Management 

STEM-Related Majors List

While not focusing exclusively on STEM subjects, the majors below have a strong math/science foundation and will also help build skills relevant for many STEM career fields.

Note: This list of STEM majors is different from the list of majors eligible for OPT STEM extension. See that list here. Contact ISSS for further questions about OPT STEM extension.

Agricultural Education

Applied Economics

Anthropology BS

Architecture BS

Construction Management

Dental Hygiene

Economics BA

Food Systems

Geography BS

Health and Wellbeing Sciences 


Management Information Systems

Medical Laboratory Sciences


Product Design

Psychology BS

Public Health

Speech-Language-Hearing Sciences

Technical Writing and Communication 

Career Paths in STEM

Many students are interested in STEM majors because they would like to build skills that will help them pursue STEM-related careers. As many STEM careers develop and evolve with changes in research and technology, it is important to learn about the range of possibilities and assess how options match your interests and skills. 

Below, you will find resources to help you learn more about STEM careers:

Profiles of STEM CareersIncludes job descriptions, average salary information, and related careers 

Statistics on STEM CareersA detailed overview of STEM careers and projected areas of growth

Career ServicesConnect with the Career Services office for your college to get support in gaining experience