Best STEM Majors for In-Demand Career Paths

Wednesday, March 04, 2020
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STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields are crucial to the advancement of society. Professionals who work in these fields also usually receive comparable compensation to their societal contributions, making STEM-related careers more popular as students seek economically stable career paths.

Moreover, by pursuing STEM-related fields, individuals have the opportunity to not only make a solid income while contributing to societal advancement but also to pursue their passions.

As a result of the benefits STEM careers provide, institutions of higher learning have increased their focus on STEM-related majors to help prepare students for the unique challenges and opportunities they will face as they head into the professional STEM world. 

STEM majors fall under many different main categories, and within those categories are more specific disciplines students can pursue depending on their interests. 

That said, here are some of the best STEM majors for the most in-demand career paths. Though this is not an exhaustive list, these majors all lead to high-income job opportunities that are solving the world’s current problems and thinking toward a better future. According to USA Today, the top 10 highest earning majors are all engineering disciplines, with median starting salaries ranging from $67, 385 to $96,544.


Petroleum Engineering

Petroleum engineering is a top-rated major and becoming more and more popular as the need for solving the world’s energy problems becomes greater. Petroleum engineers work to produce crude oil or natural gas. 

Students who study petroleum engineering focus on finding ways to gain energy security and could work in jobs that require not only scientific analysis but also political and economic problem-solving.

Water Resources Engineering

Water resources engineering is  a type of civil engineering in which professionals design equipment and systems to help manage water for environmental, industrial, recreational, agricultural, or household purposes.

Job positions that students in water resources engineering could prepare for include: a water resources engineer, national stormwater leader, hydrogeologist, or environmental resource specialist.

Chemical Engineering

Chemical engineering is one STEM major that allows students to have versatile knowledge helpful for many different career paths, making the major very useful for students who aren’t quite sure what specific focus they want to have just yet. 

By studying chemical engineering, students will prepare for careers in industries like healthcare, construction, environmental health and safety, and pharmaceuticals. 

Management Science

Management science is one of the top-rated STEM majors because of its adaptability to various STEM-related fields. 

Students in management science learn how to use qualitative methods and quantitative tools to explore logistics and strategy problems, thus preparing them to help streamline processes within fields like engineering, marketing, computer science, economics, and logistics.

Computer Science

More broadly, computer science is a STEM major that helps students prepare for careers in many different industries, especially since computers are the most important tools for so many fields. 

Students in this major learn to develop and design software and prepare for careers in cybersecurity, database management, games development, IT consulting, and more.

Information Technology

With nearly every other industry in need of IT professionals, a major in information technology is a great way to hang onto job security. 

Students who study information technology will be better prepared for jobs as network engineers, computer programmers, software developers, computer systems analysts, and IT managers.

Computer Engineering

Computer engineering majors learn how to create systems and devices that process information, which could lead them to careers as computer network architects in various industries including automotive, electronics, communications, healthcare, robotics, transportation, or aerospace. 


Pursuing a major in mathematics is a great path for students interested in a variety of fields like business, government, research, or teaching. 

The skills students learn while studying mathematics will prepare them for a variety of professional roles and will help strengthen their analytical and critical thinking skills.


Studying statistics allows students to strengthen skills in data collection, analysis, and interpretation, training them for positions in a variety of different organizations.

Since data and data analysis has become increasingly important, students who study statistics could gain a role in many different industries, including business, pharmaceuticals, public health, non-profits, and more.


Majoring in physics is a great option for students who want to delve into the physical world and how it affects every other technical industry out there. Students who major in physics can go on to become engineers, data analysts, teachers, and scientists. 

Atomic or Molecular Physics

Specifically, students who pursue a degree in atomic or molecular physics study subjects like molecular bonding, atomic forces, and the quantum theory of solids. 

These majors could lead to a career in a government agency, a national laboratory, or a research or educational facility. 

Earth Sciences

Majors in earth sciences could include geology, surveying engineering, and agricultural engineering. These majors help students gain experience that will lead them toward careers in earth-based problem-solving. 


Specifically, students who major in paleontology will focus on historical findings and artifacts that can be used to better understand the world today. 

These students can expect to prepare for a career as a geologist, curator, anthropologist, researcher, or topographic surveyor.


A major in the biological sciences allows students to prepare for careers as biologists, biological scientists, or future medical doctors. With a foundation in ecosystems and molecular science, students who study biology could end up specializing in different fields like microbiology or zoology. 

Microbiological Sciences and Immunology

Specifically, students might choose to study microbiological sciences and immunology to prepare for careers in biological testing laboratories, pharmaceutical companies, medical corporations, or a government agency. 


All of these majors are among the most popular STEM-related majors in today’s increasingly technological world. 

Since students who pursue any of these majors are likely to land jobs in lucrative careers, students who hope to focus on STEM should find out what type of scientific, engineering, technological, or mathematical exploration interests them most and go in that direction.