Drama1Llama
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Are STEM degrees really worth it in the end? I've been reading a lot of dicussion on how they aren't the best degrees to take and so I want to find out more opinions regarding this.
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akay8
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(Original post by Drama1Llama)
Are STEM degrees really worth it in the end? I've been reading a lot of dicussion on how they aren't the best degrees to take and so I want to find out more opinions regarding this.
What do you mean by ‘aren’t the best degrees’? What source are you referring to, what article etc?

In the end I think you just need to do a subject you enjoy at uni. After all it’s 3/4 years of your life, and you are paying a lot of money for it.

The way I looked at it the job market is hard sometimes whatever degree you have. But if you do a degree you enjoy at least your most likely to be able to apply for jobs you enjoy? 🤷🏼*♂️

For context: will be starting a STEM degree in September so could be a bit bias aha
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jackien1
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Don't arts degrees get a lot more flack for being 'useless' degrees compared to STEM degrees?
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username2825764
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Depends what degree it is and what institution it is coming from.
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QuentinM
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As someone who did a STEM degree (BSc in Medical Science), I don't regret my decision at all, I've since done a Masters and will start a PhD this October. As you can tell from this, I'm hoping to make a career out of science so doing a STEM degree was the obvious choice for me as a necessary step in my career progression.

If people are thinking of doing a STEM degree but not planning to do a career that will end up using it, then I completely agree that doing the degree would not be worth it at all. Of course, STEM is a large (VERY large) set of degrees, most of which have a big range of applications. But if, for example, I did a degree in Biology then went to train to become an accountant (never personally heard of that happening but you never know), I would seriously question what the point of doing a biology degree first was. I wouldn't recommend doing them just because you enjoy science and fancy studying it for a few years-there's plenty of stuff you can learn about the subject in your own time without spending so much on a degree.
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161BMW
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It depends on the university, the course and degree class. Unless you using the degree directly the knowledge gained in a job it could be deemed a waste of money. Most people with degrees won’t pay off their student loans not nowdays anyway and most wont use the knowledge gained in the degree directly in their job so you could say most degrees are a waste of time and money except for directly vocational degrees. Better off learning a trade like plumbing or electrician or brickie or something or do vocational trade or vocational degree.
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QuentinM
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(Original post by 161BMW)
It depends on the university, the course and degree class. Unless you using the degree directly the knowledge gained in a job it could be deemed a waste of money. Most people with degrees won’t pay off their student loans not nowdays anyway and most wont use the knowledge gained in the degree directly in their job so you could say most degrees are a waste of time and money except for directly vocational degrees. Better off learning a trade like plumbing or electrician or brickie or something or do vocational trade or vocational degree.
Few issues with this post. To what extent do I have to use skills/knowledge gained in a degree in whatever job I go into? For some people, they will use most of what they learned (like me, fortunately), for others they may only use some, at what point can you judge whether it was "worth it"? There are also plenty of "transferable" skills that can be developed.

Whilst doing apprenticeships or going into trades like plumbing/electrician etc may be for some people, your massive over-generalisation underestimates how much of a need there is out there for people with certain degrees. I know all of those trades, while they may be for some people, would not be for me, so if I did go down that career path I know I'd be miserable, even if I were earning more
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161BMW
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(Original post by QuentinM)
Few issues with this post. To what extent do I have to use skills/knowledge gained in a degree in whatever job I go into? For some people, they will use most of what they learned (like me, fortunately), for others they may only use some, at what point can you judge whether it was "worth it"? There are also plenty of "transferable" skills that can be developed.

Whilst doing apprenticeships or going into trades like plumbing/electrician etc may be for some people, your massive over-generalisation underestimates how much of a need there is out there for people with certain degrees. I know all of those trades, while they may be for some people, would not be for me, so if I did go down that career path I know I'd be miserable, even if I were earning more
Most of what you learn will be on the job.

The transferable skills can be developed on the job or in other ways instead of just on degree to learn something you may never use in your career.

I am excluding vocational degrees here like Medicine, healthcare, architect, law, science degrees if they are going into work as scientists etc.

Governments have pushed a lot of people to go to university but the reality is a lot (not all) end up working in jobs where they didn’t even need their degree in the first place or the knowledge gained in the degree is not needed for the job. Most of what u learn will be on the job.

For example a PhD unless you are going into academia or applying for jobs that require PhDs then most employers won’t pay you any more for a PhD than without. A PhD is only useful if you just really want one to learn something for yourself knowing you unlikely to get paid more for it in industry, if you want to go into academia, you want to apply for specific jobs that require PhDs.
Last edited by 161BMW; 10 months ago
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Lkathryn08
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I don’t think getting a STEM degree is a waste of time at all.

Firstly, I did a STEM subject and for a subject like engineering, you really need an engineering degree to get a job as an engineer. So STEM degrees do relate quite closely to certain jobs.

As for other subjects like biology/chemistry that don’t specifically relate to jobs, there are many jobs and graduate schemes that don’t require specific degrees and could just need a STEM background. I feel like the skills you get from a degree can be valued more by employers than the content itself. Just because there isn’t a specific career path to go down doesn’t make it useless.

Of course, if you want to research a specific branch of STEM, you most certainly need to study it at an undergraduate level to then get accepted in masters/phd courses.

I also don’t agree with people saying if you don’t do a STEM degree it’s a waste of time either. A degree is a lot more than the content you have learned.
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QuentinM
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(Original post by Lkathryn08)
I don’t think getting a STEM degree is a waste of time at all.

Firstly, I did a STEM subject and for a subject like engineering, you really need an engineering degree to get a job as an engineer. So STEM degrees do relate quite closely to certain jobs.

As for other subjects like biology/chemistry that don’t specifically relate to jobs, there are many jobs and graduate schemes that don’t require specific degrees and could just need a STEM background. I feel like the skills you get from a degree can be valued more by employers than the content itself. Just because there isn’t a specific career path to go down doesn’t make it useless.

Of course, if you want to research a specific branch of STEM, you most certainly need to study it at an undergraduate level to then get accepted in masters/phd courses.

I also don’t agree with people saying if you don’t do a STEM degree it’s a waste of time either. A degree is a lot more than the content you have learned.
What makes you say biology/chemistry degrees don't specifically relate to jobs? Just as doing an engineering degree helps if you want to become an engineer, doing a biology/chemistry degree really helps if you want to do work in biological/chemical scientists
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Lkathryn08
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(Original post by QuentinM)
What makes you say biology/chemistry degrees don't specifically relate to jobs? Just as doing an engineering degree helps if you want to become an engineer, doing a biology/chemistry degree really helps if you want to do work in biological/chemical scientists
Look I meant studying a subject that doesn’t have a specific job tied to it. Of course you can become a chemical or biological scientist as well but correct me if I’m wrong I feel like a lot of the time that requires further study. But essentially I’m saying, just because a degree doesn’t have a specific career tied to it doesn’t make it useless. I did an engineering degree so I have a limited view of what you can do with bio/chem degrees and only really have my friends experiences to draw from and they typically went on to STEM grad schemes that didn’t require a specific degree.
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AndyChow
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(Original post by QuentinM)
What makes you say biology/chemistry degrees don't specifically relate to jobs? Just as doing an engineering degree helps if you want to become an engineer, doing a biology/chemistry degree really helps if you want to do work in biological/chemical scientists
There are low level chemistry jobs that's barely minimum wage and no career prospects.
Biology has no job at all, it's much worse than chemistry because it't not numerate and often considered fake STEM by employers
To be a scientist you need a PhD and then have to hunt for low paid postdocs positions and many end up having a miserable life.
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AndyChow
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(Original post by akay8)
In the end I think you just need to do a subject you enjoy at uni.

The way I looked at it the job market is hard sometimes whatever degree you have. But if you do a degree you enjoy at least your most likely to be able to apply for jobs you enjoy? 🤷🏼*♂️
You don't go to university to do a subject you enjoy, you do one that gives you a bright future so you don't have a miserable life ahead of you at JobCenterPlus. Only care about what you enjoy right now is a lack of strategic thinking and most people eventually found out they don't want to turn their 'hobby' into jobs.

For most people, the solid choices would be medicine, pharmacy, dentistry. If you go into STEM at least do a numerate one and not those fake STEMs like biology and environmental science because you aren't gonna outcompete the Engineering grads for graduates roles
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QuentinM
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(Original post by AndyChow)
There are low level chemistry jobs that's barely minimum wage and no career prospects.
Biology has no job at all, it's much worse than chemistry because it't not numerate and often considered fake STEM by employers
To be a scientist you need a PhD and then have to hunt for low paid postdocs positions and many end up having a miserable life.
What gave you this perspective? I know plenty of people who were also on my biology degree who have branched outside of science for their careers with little/no issues. There are multiple routes for those who want to stay in science that don't require a PhD (there are plenty of technician jobs, for example).

It really feels like you are commenting as someone who hasn't done a biology/chemistry degree because your description doesn't make sense at all, but correct me if I'm wrong
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AndyChow
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(Original post by QuentinM)
What gave you this perspective? I know plenty of people who were also on my biology degree who have branched outside of science for their careers with little/no issues. There are multiple routes for those who want to stay in science that don't require a PhD (there are plenty of technician jobs, for example).

It really feels like you are commenting as someone who hasn't done a biology/chemistry degree because your description doesn't make sense at all, but correct me if I'm wrong
It's common knowledge that Biology is one of the worst STEM you can take for job prospects, you can't argue against facts and figures. Of course there are openings for every subject, the top people always get jobs but the question is how much pay and how many positions. Biology is low for both.

If you leave biology and try to join the big graduate schemes, your biology degree is a massive disadvantage for the reasons I specified in #13

I understand you have an intrinsic bias since you study the subject, I don't plan to get into an argument with you.
Keep belive in what you want to believe.
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Smokestar
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What are your thoughts on physics and maths degrees?
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AndyChow
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(Original post by Smokestar)
What are your thoughts on physics and maths degrees?
Maths do computational and financial, preferably at LSE, you will be hot cakes in the fintech and IB market.

Pure maths and Physics have no jobs outside academia, but it's regarded quite high up in the graduate scheme hierarchy, opens the door to lucrative data science and finance jobs. Definitely a lot brighter than biology and earth science etc...
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