The University Network

STEM and Liberal Arts: the Pros and Cons of Both Degrees

With science and technology driving the future, many teachers are motivating their students to succeed in their science, math and technology classes, also known as STEM.

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and math and it has seen an increasing amount of attention in the recent years due to all of the technological advances that have occurred.  

Though many colleges haven’t seen the kind of art and music budget cuts that plague the public school system, liberal arts majors are often encouraged to choose a minor or a fall back job in the STEM field in case their career as a writer or an artist doesn’t work out.

Liberal arts majors have just as bright a future as STEM majors do, despite what many reports would have an individual believe. Both majors have their pros and cons.

Liberal Arts

According to a report by the Association of American Colleges and Universities, 80 percent of employees agree that all students regardless of major should acquire knowledge in the liberal arts and sciences.

Skills like thinking critically, emotional intelligence and other soft skills are invaluable in the corporate world to many employers.

There’s also the myth that liberal arts majors will make close to nothing once they graduate, while every STEM major will be rolling in the dough.

While it is true that liberal arts majors do not make as much as their STEM counterparts, according to an Inside Higher Ed article, graduates of liberal arts earn $40,000 more during their peak earning ages than recent degree graduates.

STEM

As for STEM, while there are some colleges where STEM majors only earn around $35,000, such as Alverno College in Wisconsin (according to time.com), for the most part, STEM majors make a lot of money.

A report by the Department of Education said that STEM majors on average earn $65,000 after graduation. They were also more likely to own just one full time job, instead of a part time job, or even multiple jobs.

However, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that in 2014, 74 percent of individuals who have a bachelor’s degree in a STEM major weren’t employed in the STEM field. This is an interesting statistic to watch in the coming years and decades, demonstrating that what articles stress is a big deal can often not exactly be the whole truth.

In closing, both liberal arts and STEM majors have their pros and cons. Seeing as all college students are currently facing rising tuition costs and most students will have thousands of dollars in debt upon graduation, it’s better to appreciate the positives and negatives of both majors.