Best STEM Majors

WorldWideLearn researched 232 different degree programs to determine the 25 best STEM majors for 2019. We looked at how many schools offered these programs at the bachelor’s degree level and what those degrees cost in terms of tuition and fees. We also looked at projected outcomes: earnings potential and employment opportunities. We hope this year’s list inspires you with its range of top-performing options in STEM fields. For more information on our methodology , we encourage you to visit the bottom of this page.

1Petroleum Engineering


Of all the STEM majors analyzed, petroleum engineering rose to the top spot on this year’s ranking, an increase in its position over previous years. Petroleum engineering programs teach students how to address and solve crucial problems that can lead to energy security. By pursuing a bachelor’s degree program in petroleum engineering, you can learn how to evaluate potential oil and gas reservoirs, oversee drilling activities, and design surface collection and treatment facilities. Since many petroleum companies operate around the world, this major can give you the opportunity to travel and solve various technological, political, and economic issues in different countries.

Category Rankings

Educational Availability:No. 90

Educational Affordability:No. 47

Earning Potential:No. 1

Employment Opportunity:No. 32

Spotlight Career: Petroleum Engineer

  • Average Salary, 2017: $154,780
  • Projected Growth Rate, 2016-26: 14.5%
  • Average Annual Job Openings, 2016-26: 2,800

2Atomic or Molecular Physics


This degree program makes its first appearance on our “best STEM majors” list, as more schools have begun to offer it. Students who major in atomic or molecular physics investigate the structure and behavior of atoms and molecules. They spend their time studying a variety of subjects including atomic forces, molecular bonding, and the quantum theory of solids. When you graduate with a bachelor’s degree in atomic or molecular physics, you’re likely to land a job in research or teaching or you can pursue a position at a government agency or national laboratory where you can question, observe, and create models and theories to further understand various sciences and modern technology.

Category Rankings

Educational Availability:No. 208

Educational Affordability:No. 4

Earning Potential:No. 4

Employment Opportunity:No. 65

Spotlight Career: Natural Sciences Manger

  • Average Salary, 2017: $133,670
  • Projected Growth Rate, 2016-26: 9.9%
  • Average Annual Job Openings, 2016-26: 5,200

3Management Science


In a management science degree program, students focus on the design and administration of complex systems. They learn how to use quantitative tools and qualitative methods to explore a wide array of strategic and logistical problems. With a bachelor’s degree in management science, you can help organizations save time, money, and resources. Fields like engineering, computer science, marketing, economics, and logistics could all benefit from employees who have completed a bachelor’s degree in management science. This is one of the STEM degrees that brings with it a fair amount of flexibility in terms of working in a variety of industries.

Category Rankings

Educational Availability:No. 34

Educational Affordability:No. 145

Earning Potential:No. 3

Employment Opportunity:No. 7

Spotlight Career: Operations Research Analyst

  • Average Salary, 2017: $86,510
  • Projected Growth Rate, 2016-26: 27.4%
  • Average Annual Job Openings, 2016-26: 10,700

4Information Technology


Since information drives our economy, nearly every industry is in need of qualified information technology or IT professionals, making it one of the best STEM majors in regards to employment opportunities. Students who earn bachelor’s degrees in information technology can prepare themselves for positions such as computer system analysts, network engineers, computer programmers, software or web developers, and IT managers. If you pursue a degree in IT, you can expect to take core courses such as IT applications, IT foundations, networks, cloud foundations, Linux foundations, emerging technologies, and data management.

Category Rankings

Educational Availability:No. 13

Educational Affordability:No. 87

Earning Potential:No. 97

Employment Opportunity:No. 6

Spotlight Career: Computer Systems Analyst

  • Average Salary, 2017: $106,710
  • Projected Growth Rate, 2016-26: 30.5%
  • Average Annual Job Openings, 2016-26: 85,500

5Water Resources Engineering


The increase in water resources engineering programs has earned this major its first appearance on this list. Water resources engineering is a type of civil engineering that involves designing new systems and equipment to help manage water for industrial, recreational, agricultural, household, or environmental purposes. Examples of courses for this major include groundwater hydrology, hydraulic design, hazardous waste treatment, and lab work in hydraulic engineering. By completing a water resources engineering degree, you can become well-versed in both civil and agricultural engineering principles — preparing you for a career as an environmental resource specialist, hydrogeologist, research hydraulic engineer, water resources engineer, or national stormwater leader.

Category Rankings

Educational Availability:No. 194

Educational Affordability:No. 2

Earning Potential:No. 64

Employment Opportunity:No. 54

Spotlight Career: Civil Engineer

  • Average Salary, 2017: $91,790
  • Projected Growth Rate, 2016-26: 10.6%
  • Average Annual Job Openings, 2016-26: 25,900

6Computer Engineering


Computer engineering is mainly concerned with the creation of devices and systems that process information. After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, you may land a position as a computer network architect in an industry such as aerospace, automotive, electronics, communications, healthcare, robotics, or transportation. In the workplace you can expect to need to keep up to speed with the latest software systems. With the expansion of computers into all aspects of everyday life, computer engineers are known as the driving force behind most of the new technologies in today’s world.

Category Rankings

Educational Availability:No. 15

Educational Affordability:No. 110

Earning Potential:No. 69

Employment Opportunity:No. 15

Spotlight Career: Computer Network Architect

  • Average Salary, 2017: $111,780
  • Projected Growth Rate, 2016-26: 10.8%
  • Average Annual Job Openings, 2016-26: 32,700

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