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5 non-STEM electives that will boost your STEM career

art class choosing electives careers with stem

Choosing your senior electives? If you’re planning on a STEM career, you might want to consider adding these non-STEM subjects in years 11 and 12

OK, so you have your sights set on a career with STEM, awesome. Maybe you like the idea of becoming an engineer or a data scientist, creating your own tech startup, or you dream of discovering signs of life beyond Earth, or saving the world from climate change!

That means you’re probably all over your STEM electives – but you might be surprised to find how much some non-STEM subjects could also end up helping you on your future career. 

Here’s our top-5 pick of non-STEM subjects that could give your STEM career an edge after school.

1. Drama

Yes, you read that right! No, you won’t need to recite Shakespeare or belt out songs from Les Miserables to design a structurally sound bridge, write code or study Antarctic ice cores… but you will almost certainly find yourself standing up and speaking in front of your team (if not a bigger crowd!) talking about your work at some point – and hopefully you’ll wow your boss with your cool, confident delivery. Thanks drama class!

2. Economics

Economics is about so much more than just money – and no matter what career path you end up on, you won’t escape economics, whether you realise it or not. Put simply, economics looks at how people and societies use resources in the best possible way. Economics teaches critical thinking and problem solving – and you’ll literally have a better understanding of how the world operates. 

3. Languages other than English

If you study a second language throughout high school (and beyond) you’ll give yourself an instant edge in the job market compared to the 72% of Australians who speak only English. A second language is also a great option if you’re gearing up for a global career – not to mention the brain-boosting benefits of learning a second language could come in handy on exam day for your other subjects, too!

4. Modern History

Whether it’s the development of the nuclear bomb during World War II, or MRNA vaccines during the COVID-19 pandemic, big developments in science, engineering and technology all happen within an historical and cultural context. Studying history can help you understand how what you’re learning in your STEM subjects today fits into the bigger picture of culture, politics and ethics, and make you a more rounded, thoughtful and ethical STEM professional. 

5. Philosophy

Philosophy is an increasingly important discipline for STEM professionals as we delve into unknown areas and are forced to ask some big questions. Think ethical considerations around areas such as data privacy or genetics, artificial intelligence and machine learning.


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