For many prospective graduate students, there are few fields more intriguing than science and engineering. The STEM fields - Science, Technology, Engineering and Math - continue to be both relevant and rapidly changing in an age of great scientific advancement and technological achievement.
Of course, this means that these fields may also be competitive. Some graduates may find that simply being smart may not be enough to guarantee success in post-graduate studies in one of these prestigious fields.
If you're considering committing to a future career in a STEM field, here are a few things to keep in mind that may help give you an edge in graduate school.
Despite the seemingly prestigious and competitive nature of the field, more people are graduating with degrees in science and engineering than ever before. A report from the National Science Foundation revealed that the past five years have seen some of the highest number of graduate degrees in science and engineering rewarded. In particular, 632,652 degrees were awarded in 2010 - the most of any year. In comparison, less than 500,000 STEM degrees were earned in 2000.
If you're a woman who's interested in a field in science or engineering, you may think your efforts could be better spent elsewhere. Fortunately, the common myth that tech fields are only for men is just that - a myth. That said, there is a significant lack of representation in these fields. As Business News Daily reported, women currently represent less than 30 percent of those working within the STEM population, though the source noted that this isn't due to any inherent or biological factors. That said, if you have a genuine interest in science, engineering or technology, you should not feel discouraged.
While acquiring a graduate degree in a STEM field may be important for helping you find a job after you graduate, your learning doesn't stop once you receive your diploma. In fact, more than most other fields, STEM industries are characterized by near-constant learning of innovative practices and refreshing existing learning principles to keep up with the rapidly developing nature of the field. As Business News Daily noted, the most important quality a successful STEM graduate needs isn't necessarily the knowledge learned from graduate school, but rather the drive to continue learning on a constant basis. That drive can be obtained in the course of acquiring a STEM degree.
About the Author: Laura Morrison is the Web Content Manager for GradSchools.com. She earned an MBA from the Rutgers School of Business in 2010.