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STEM Education: What It Is & Where To Go

IMAGE: People at a rally with a sign held up overhead saying "Scientist for Future."

Science. Technology. Engineering. Mathematics. 

When we talk about STEM majors, we’re talking about a specific set of majors which are defined by the US Department of Education. The broader categories include: 

Computer Science
Earth Sciences
Health Sciences
Information Technology

While these may be the general broader areas, they branch out significantly, so never hesitate to root around and see if your major qualifies as a STEM major — it can open up a number of doors for scholarships, in particular. 

Not entirely sure about what you want to major in? Take our Major & Career Quiz

When it comes to picking a school, though, things can feel complicated. 

When we talk about STEM, people often times bring up institutions like Harvard, Princeton, Stanford, MIT, John Hopkins, and, of course, these institutions have great programs, but the acceptance rates are low. Not every successful STEM student is attending these colleges — on top of being impossible, there are more and more colleges and universities expanding and developing incredible STEM programs. 

Basically, what I'm saying is that an acceptance rate of 12% or less is not a requirement for a good STEM program. 

That said, let’s pretend we already talked about the Ivies and move on to the lesser-known-but-equally-awesome options for STEM majors. 

Michigan Technological University

Acceptance Rate: 76%

Unique Aspect: 86% of students major in STEM and the campus features 20 research institutions focusing on STEM projects. 


University of Portland

Acceptance Rate: 75%


Texas A&M University

Acceptance Rate: 71%


Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology

Acceptance Rate: 66%


Purdue University

Acceptance Rate: 58%


San Jose State University

Acceptance Rate: 53%

Unique Aspect: San Jose University features the Center for STEM Education which dedicates its efforts to increasing the capacity of teachers to deliver effective instruction in STEM studies, mentor your to excel in STEM, and inspire SJSU students to mentor youth. 


Tuskegee University

Acceptance Rate: 50%

Unique Aspect: This HBCU is a top producer of black veterinarians, produces the most black aerospace engineers, and produces the most black graduates with bachelor's in math, science, and engineering in the state of Alabama. 


University of Connecticut

Acceptance Rate: 49%

Unique Aspect: 


Colorado School of Mines

Acceptance Rate: 49%

Unique Aspect: 


Stony Brook University

Acceptance Rate: 42%

Unique Aspect: Stony Brook University is home to the Institute for STEM Education (I-STEM), which helps foster STEM in students Grades 5 and up. 


Stevens Institute of Technology

Acceptance Rate: 41%


University of Tulsa

Acceptance Rate: 39% 


California Polytechnic State University-San Luis Obispo

Acceptance Rate: 35%

Unique Aspect: California Polytechnic State University at San Luis Obispo maintains the Center for Engineering, Science, and Mathematics Education, and has the goal of improving, STEM education, teacher education and professional development, and the workforce pipeline in California. 


Case Western Reserve University

Acceptance Rate: 29%


University of Rochester

Acceptance Rate: 29%


University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

Acceptance Rate: 27%

Unique Aspect: M-STEM is a program designed to strengthen and diversity the cohort of students graduating with bachelor's degrees in STEM majors. It assists students for the first 2 years of their degree at University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. 


Georgia Institute of Technology

Acceptance Rate: 26%


Lehigh University

Acceptance Rate: 22%


Harvey Mudd College

Acceptance Rate: 13%

Unique Aspect: Harvey Mudd takes a liberal arts approach to its curriculum, even with its nine STEM-based majors. Known for their engineering program, Harvey Mudd has also put a great amount of focus on increasing the presence of women in computer science thanks to the latest president of the college, Maria Klawe. 

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