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STEM and STEAM might surely seem similar but are they? The difference of a singular “A” between the two terms makes a whole lot of difference. How? Well, to get straight to it, the “A” in STEAM (that is absent in STEM) stands for Arts. The inclusion of Arts as a field or a domain gets encouragement to be promoted as an important part of academics. The significance of Arts is ever-evolving, even amidst STEM circles. And students who want to pursue STEM cannot escape “Arts” in the coming future.

So, when we put these two terms together, or against each other, what do we get? Let’s compare both and get a better understanding of STEM vs STEAM.  Before we get to STEAM, we need to understand what STEM exactly means and what it stands for. Scroll down to know better.

What is STEM?

The fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, when put together, are known as STEM. The school curriculum that is focused on STEM contributes to the enrolled students’ future in the respective fields of the areas of STEM. An academic discipline, the fields of study that eventually lead to jobs and career prospects of STEM have become greater in demand in the last few decades. Furthermore, STEM is actually an interdisciplinary mode to teach science-related subjects, instead of teaching all of them separately. The activities included under the STEM discipline further involves complex and engaging projects that are closer to the real-life experiences of practical future jobs of STEM students.

What is STEAM?

The fields of STEM when integrated with the Arts are known as STEAM. An education discipline, STEAM invokes the interest in arts in children and students from an early age. Involving relevant and in-demand soft skills, the STEAM field prepares students to go on to become esteemed professionals, scholars, and innovators. As they establish themselves in this world, the world of Arts helps them get acquainted with real-life with better familiarity and understanding. Furthermore, STEAM also motivates students to participate in project-based learning, teaching the STEAM curriculum as an interdisciplinary course. An inclusive environment gets naturally created with the progression of the STEAM courses and their essence being brought forth with an emphasis on the category of “Arts”. 

Importance of STEAM 

The development of critical thinking and problem-solving skills is an integral part of curating the future of the student and the world alike. Exposing students to the courses imbibed under STEAM helps students undertake and understand the importance of these skills, as they ready themselves for their future selves. 

STEAM is the one proof of the ever-evolving world. In today’s time, technology has been contributing to repetitive tasks, and now, the need of the hour is to solve novel problems – that is essentially the solvable job of the Arts. The role and importance of Arts, in this respect, is increasing, as the world changes, and becomes more inclusive. 

Furthermore, it is to be noted that STEAM prepares students for their individuality, making them learn to ask questions, participate, think critically, and create and experiment. This does a better job of preparing them for their future jobs even in scientific and technological/technical jobs. 

STEM vs STEAM: Differences 

The major differences between STEM and STEAM are tabulated below: 

The approach of scientific concepts is focused more on hard engineering, technological, and mathematical skills. The approach of concepts is focused more on hard and soft skills to solve problems. 
STEM promotes scientific thinking.STEAM promotes critical thinking.
STEM uses practical tools and modes of teaching.STEAM uses data visualization or fine art imagery.

Top Universities 

For STEM and STEAM, the top universities do not differ majorly, for the majority of courses in both disciplines are not that different. Have a look below to see the top universities for STEM and STEAM. 

Name of University QS Ranking 2023
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)1
California Institute of Technology (Caltech)6
Georgia Institute of Technology88
Harvard University5
Leland Stanford Junior University3
University of California, Berkeley27

STEM Career Prospects 

Some major STEM careers are as follows:

Median Earnings 

Get a better understanding of the earnings of STEM Career fields abroad.

Information security analystsUS$98,350 (INR 80 lakh)
MathematiciansUS$101,900 (INR 83 lakh)
StatisticiansUS$87,780 (INR 71 lakh)

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STEAM Career Prospects 

Some major STEAM careers are as follows:

STEM vs STEAM: Better Option 

With the emergence of STEAM, there might be some differences between STEAM and STEAM that arise, but an individual should choose between the two based on their interests, preferences, skills and capabilities, as well as career goals and ambitions. As with the increasing complexity of jobs, soft skills are becoming more relevant, making the study of STEAM courses more preferred, aspiring STEM professionals can take inspiration from the same, making their jobs more relevant. One thing is for sure, STEM is here to stay, bringing relevance to the forefront. 


Is STEAM better than STEM?

Though a hard first rule cannot be maintained on which one is better, STEAM is certainly becoming more relevant in today’s world. 

Why is STEM now called STEAM?

With the integration of Arts into STEM, there has been an emergence of STEAM.

When was STEM changed to STEAM?

In the year of 2012, the presence of both STEAM and STEM was proposed and introduced in the curriculum.

This was all about STEM vs STEAM. You may enlist the assistance of Leverage Edu specialists to assist you with the application process to get into an esteemed university so that you can realise your goals. Call us immediately at 1800 57 2000 for a free 30-minute counselling session.

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