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The basics
Study abroad : Applying to University

Why study a Master’s in STEM?

A master’s in STEM can open doors to in-demand, well-paid careers in a great many industries. We give you examples of master’s programmes, top-ranking universities, jobs, and salaries.

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If you’re interested in doing a course which could lead you into a wide range of industries and fields at a high level where your starting salary would be high, then perhaps a master’s degree in STEM is for you. By the time you’ve finished reading this article, you’ll understand what STEM is, what different master’s programs there are and where you can take the courses. You’ll also understand what fields of study and work there are. Plus, you'll learn how much you can expect to earn worldwide with a master’s degree in a subject specialisation. 

 

What is STEM?

 

It is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. It’s an educational programme that aims to integrate the four subjects into a cross-disciplinary programme. STEM includes these main areas of study: natural, physical and life sciences, computer science, electronics and other technology-related subjects, engineering (all types) and mathematics. 

 

Sometimes social sciences such as economics and psychology are included in STEM, but some institutions don’t consider them to be. The Department of Homeland Security in the USA, for example, has a Designated Degree Program List where you can find all the subjects they deem to be STEM.

 

Governments around the world have recognised that there is an increasing need for STEM specialists. Australia’s Department of Education, Skills and Employment states that, "It’s vital that Australia keeps pace with technological change to advance its economy and prosperity. Without adequate STEM skills and understanding in Australia, there is a risk that companies searching for these skills will be forced to set up elsewhere."

 

So, now that we’ve established how important STEM skills are and how in-demand they are globally, let’s look at the different kinds of master’s degree programmes there are in the subject.

 

Types of master’s degrees

 

Before we highlight the different courses available, we have a quick overview of what acronyms there are for the main types of master’s degrees.

Master’s

Meaning

MA

Master

MBio

Master of Biology

MChem

Master of Chemistry

MEng

Master of Engineering

MPH

Master of Public Health

MPhil

Master of Philosophy

MPhys

Master of Physics

MRes

Master of Research

MSc

Master of Science

 

Examples of STEM subjects

 

There are a great many STEM subjects to choose from. Many STEM master's degree programmes are interdisciplinary, which means they may include two or more STEM subjects and/or areas. The list below gives just a few examples.

 

Science:

 

Technology:

 

Engineering:(The subjects in this area are too many to list. These are just examples.)

  • Aerospace
  • Biomedical
  • Chemical
  • Civil
  • Electrical
  • Environmental
  • Mechanical

 

Maths:

  • Applied
  • Financial mathematics
  • Mathematical science
  • Pure Mathematics
  • Statistics

 

Top universities offering master’s degrees in STEM

 

There are several top ranking universities offering a wide range of master’s degree in STEM subjects. We can give examples of a small number of these here:

 

Course

University

Course Length

Fees per year

World Ranking

MSc in Sustainability Management

University of Toronto, Canada

Two years

CAD 32,450

18

MSc ACS: Artificial Intelligence

University of Manchester, UK

12 months

GBP 27,500

28

Master of Engineering Studies (Mechatronics)

Massey University, New Zealand

12 months

NZD 41,290

29

Master of Climate Change

Australian National University, Australia

1.5 years

AUD 47, 940

30

Master of Arts in Bioethics

New York University, USA

12 months

USD 47,500

39

 

To find the right STEM master’s program for you, we recommend you use our course matcher tool. Scroll to the bottom and GET STARTED. The tool asks you to input information at each of the eight steps. The tool will generate a list of the universities in the destinations of your choice, offering the courses you’re interested in.

 

It’s important when choosing a master’s in STEM to be sure that the programme is accredited. This means it has been endorsed/approved by an external Professional, Statutory, or Regulatory Body (PSRBs). Thus, when you graduate you will be permitted to work in the field. Countries have their own accreditation and professional bodies, so be sure to do your research. Some examples of accrediting and professional bodies, include:

 

 

Ensure you check the course programme, university website or prospectus to discover if the course is accredited. 

 

Jobs and salaries

 

The top jobs in STEM in the USA requiring a master’s have recently been identified as:

 

  • Statistician – USD 92,270
  • Industrial Psychologist – USD 96,270
  • Nurse Practitioner – USD 111,680
  • Physician Assistant – USD 115,390
  • Political Scientist – USD 125,350
  • Nurse Anesthetist – USD 183,580

 

In the UK, some of the top-paying STEM jobs are:

 

  • Economic Adviser – GBP 52,000
  • Information Security Analyst – GBP 55,000
  • Data Scientist – GBP 60,000
  • Actuary – GBP 60,000-70,000

 

In Australia, they are:

 

  • Environmental engineer – AUD 71,288
  • Biologist –AUD 94,381
  • Software engineer – AUD 94,551
  • Aeronautical engineer – AUD 101,179
  • Nurse Practitioner – AUD 122,278

 

 

It’s important to remember that any STEM career will require you to be a member of a professional accredited body. Membership shows that you have the necessary skills, qualifications, and experience to practice in your field. It reinforces that you have expertise in your area and are serious about professional development. Paying to be a member of a professional body also gives you access to information, networking, and career development opportunities.

 

What are the benefits of studying for a master’s in STEM?

 

Here’s a quick summary of all the benefits of investing in a master’s in the field of STEM:

  • Guaranteed work in the long-term future.
  • Find a job quickly after graduating.
  • High starting salary.
  • Global job market.
  • Transferable skills across industries.
  • Transferable skills across the world.

 

A master’s in STEM may initially be a major investment of your time and money, but the benefits mean you will see a fast return on this investment. Both the short-term and long-term future of each country and the planet lies in the development and investment in STEM. You may very well want to be a part of that. 

 

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