What is STEM?

STEM is the study of science, technology, engineering and maths. At school, STEM is often learned through tasks that are practical and team-based. In biology you might grow a seedling, while in technology you might design a solar-powered watch. Find out what STEM is, how it helps you, and how STEM is helping us tackle the biggest issues of our time.

What is STEM?

STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. There are many exciting and satisfying jobs in the STEM industries. Find out more.

How STEM helps you

At school

STEM helps you develop valuable skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, creativity and collaboration.

After school

STEM skills open up opportunities in some of the world’s most innovative industries.

When you study

Studying STEM builds sought-after skills for jobs of the future.

How STEM is helping the world

STEM is at the forefront of global developments that will change our lives for years to come. Whether it’s biomedicine, artificial intelligence or clean energy, STEM is helping us tackle some of the biggest issues of our time.

Find out more
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Frequently asked questions

  • STEM stands for science, technology, engineering and maths. When we talk about STEM, we can be referring to study or careers that fit into one of those disciplines, or study or careers that fit across multiple disciplines.

  • Surgeons, anaesthetists, medical specialists, engineers and financial advisors are among Australia’s top 10 highest paying jobs, according to an ATO report released in August 2022.

  • Women make up about 11% of the engineering workforce overall, according to a 2022 report by Engineers Australia, but this figure varies depending on which field of engineering you look at. For example, there is a higher percentage of women in environmental engineering (32%) and chemical engineering (20%) and a lower percentage in mechanical engineering (5%) and maritime engineering (2%), according to Professionals Australia (2021).

  • Yes! Research has shown that there is no difference in the brain when it comes to gender and doing maths, and there’s no evidence to suggest boys’ brains are better suited to maths than girls’ brains (Kersey et al, 2019). While boys are often overrepresented among high achievers for maths (UNESCO, 2022), research suggests this is due to social biases and stereotypes, not the actual mathematical ability of girls.


    Read the 2019 study here.

  • Architecture integrates design and technology, science, engineering and mathematics, making it a perfect example of a STEM career. Architecture has traditionally sat outside the recognised STEM disciplines, but that’s changing. In 2018, the United States formally identified architecture as a STEM subject! Meanwhile, in Australia, architecture is still more likely to be linked with design and the arts.

Creativity and STEM

Leah Heiss

"Creative thinking is central to complex problem-solving, so make sure you don’t leave your creativity at the door!"

Leah Heiss

Working between design, health and technology

Sue Keay

"We need to think beyond what we already know, and that's where creativity is important."

Dr Sue Keay

Research Director CSIRO

Raffaella Demichelis

"There is always something to learn in every situation. Many of my best outcomes and most creative ideas are the result of overcoming difficulties I did not expect."

Raffaella Demichelis

Senior Research Fellow

World of STEM

Stay in the loop with what's happening in the world of STEM.

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Activities and events

Connect with your STEM community through activities and events happening all over Australia.

Explore activities
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