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How to Evaluate a Science Program

Thinking about majoring in a STEM field? Here's what to consider during your college search in order to get the most out of your academic experience.

Thinking about majoring in a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field? Consider the following to see if you’ll be getting the most out of your academic experience at your college(s) of interest.

Related: Science Majors and Potential Jobs

Reputation of program or department

Is this school well known for your intended program? How long have they offered it? Is the program or college accredited by the appropriate agency?

Related: Types of Schools for Science and Engineering

Faculty

Are professors active in the scientific community (conducting research, presenting at conferences, publishing their work, etc.)? Do they have the highest degrees in their fields? Are any classes taught by just teaching assistants?

Classes, labs, and course work

What is the average class size for science lectures, labs, and other courses? Will you be able to dive into labs and major-specific course work your first year, or will you have to wait for upper-level classes? Are any courses conducted out in the field? Are laboratories and equipment up to date?

Related: How to Choose a STEM Major From All Your Different Options

Research, internship, and other opportunities

Does the school fund student research, and will you be able to work on your own or with faculty? Are there opportunities to present your findings or get published in academic journals? What internships are available in your field of interest? How often do internships lead to full-time jobs? What STEM-related extracurricular activities are there?

Graduate success

What are the graduation and career placement rates for students in your intended program? How many students are accepted to graduate or medical school? What grad schools do they attend, and where have they found jobs? Are there any notable alumni?

Start searching for schools with science programs on CollegeXpress.

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