Whether you’re studying STEM or want to add a sprinkle of it to your chosen degree, these electives are, well, winners!
We’ve handpicked a bunch of uni electives that’ll set you up for success in whatever career you’re dreaming up for yourself. They’ll equip you with STEM skills, as well as research and soft skills, that are transferable across industries – making you very employable in the eyes of your future employer!
A is for Agriculture
Agriculture is the practice of cultivating soil, growing crops and raising livestock. With food security identified as one of the 10 biggest global challenges by the World Economic Forum, having an understanding of agriculture is super important, whether you’re an engineer, scientist, economist or pursuing another field that can come up with solutions.
B is for Biological Sciences
Biology helps us understand the world around us, as well as ourselves. It’s particularly handy when teamed with other STEM fields like medicine, health, forensic science, environmental science, ecology and conservation science.
Choosing electives for high school or uni? Head to our Choosing Electives hub for more tips and insights to help you find the right path to your dream career.
C is for Climate Science
CSIRO has named adapting to climate change as a global megatrend that will impact people, businesses and governments over the next 20 years. Being across climate science will help you make decisions in your future career and come up with sustainable strategies and practices that will benefit our planet.
D is for Data Visualisation
Data skills are in demand and knowing how to use and convey data will have you standing out from the crowd. Choosing design electives like Data Visualisation or Data Aesthetics could help in communicating your STEM research and innovations to a wide range of audiences, or when creating reports for your employer.
E is for Engineering
Having an engineering mindset, which is all about identifying patterns, solving problems and coming up with the best solution, is an asset in many different careers. Choose an engineering elective that links up nicely with your study path – e.g. environmental science and renewable energy engineering, astrophysics and aeronautical engineering, or architecture and civil engineering.
F is for Foundation Science
This report found that by 2030, the Australian workforce will spend 77% more time using science and maths skills. Getting across the basics of chemistry, physics and biology can be useful in lots of different industries – business and entrepreneurship, law, conservation, education, communication, government, Defence and more!
G is for Geoscience
Geoscience is the study of the Earth, its history and processes. Want to solve complex problems in your STEM career? You’ll need to know a thing or two about minerals, so sign up for a geoscience elective.
H is for Health Sciences
Another global megatrend identified by CSIRO is the escalating health imperative and how the post-pandemic world has exacerbated existing health challenges posed by an ageing population and the growing burden of chronic disease. Adding some health science to your degree could give you a greater perspective on these challenges that you might be able to apply in your future career. Areas of study include nutrition, exercise, food science and technology, psychology and disease.
I is for Information Technology (IT)
Not just for tech experts, studying IT and knowing how computer systems work is valuable in pretty much every career we can think of! And with 3.7 million Australians needing training in digital skills in just the next year to keep up with the pace of change, digital skills are in demand. The top five, according to Amazon Web Services (AWS) research? Use of cloud-based tools, cyber security, tech or IT support, digital marketing and cloud migration.
J is Journalism
Soon-to-be scientists and science communicators should try their hand at journalism electives like Communicating Health and Science, Writing and Editing Foundations, and Strategic Communication in Society. This will allow you to tell the world about all the amazing STEM innovations happening daily.
K is for Knowledge and Reality
Taking on philosophy electives such as this one go hand-in-hand with studying artificial intelligence (AI) and data so you can better consider the ethics and challenges in these areas.
L is for Legal Studies
Anyone innovating in STEM should scrub on their legal knowledge, especially in the field of patent law – that’s the branch of intellectual property law that deals with inventions.
M is Mathematics
Maths is the language of STEM and is essential to so many industries – The National Skills Commission identified the top emerging careers in Australia and a recurring theme in almost all of them was maths and data skills. So you want yours to be sharp!
P.S. Here are three more reasons why maths is so important.
N is for Natural Language Processing
If your future career may have an element of AI to it, you should learn more about Natural Language Processing. It’s the branch of AI that aims to give computers the ability to understand text and spoken language just like humans can.
O is for Organisational Leadership
Got aspirations to lead a STEM organisation or team? Equip yourself with the tools and strategies you’ll need to be an awesome leader while you’re still at uni.
P is for Physics
Physics underpins most modern technology and is used in everything from manufacturing and engineering to scientific research and development. Having a solid grasp on physics will also build up your analytical and problem-solving skills.
Q is for Quantum
Are you wanting to improve health outcomes with new treatments, build sensors that track changes in the marine environment or utilise supersensitive imaging systems in your career? You’ll need to add a quantum elective to your degree. Read more about how cool quantum is in our special eight-page magazine, Careers with STEM: Quantum.
R is for Research
Taking on a research project as an elective or learning about specific research methods will develop your research skills, which are crucial to STEM careers. Knowing how to effectively research can save you lots of time and assist you in finding the best information for the work you’re doing.
S is for Statistics
Statistics are used everywhere, not just in STEM. You’ll find them in business, manufacturing, communications, government, urban planning… And probably what you plan to study, so make sure you’ve got a handle on them!
T is for Technology and Innovation Management
Electives like this will make you an expert on the design, development and deployment process of a new technology or innovation within an organisation.
U is for Understanding Data
Data has been dubbed the oil of the 21st century, meaning data and numbers power the machines of today and will continue to do so into the future. Whether you’re planning to work in disaster management, transport, retail or social good, you’ll need data skills.
V is for Virtual and Mixed Reality Technology
Human-computer interfaces like virtual reality and augmented reality are shaking up so many different workplaces – think health, retail, entertainment, tourism, architecture, automotive, interior design, education… And this list continues to grow!
W is for World History
Knowing the events of the past and their impact (such as pandemics, environmental change, war, revolutions and digital advancement) can give you insight into how to create and innovate for the future.
X is for uX Design
(Sorry, X is a tricky one!) Studying UX Design – or user experience design – will have you considering the user of the product you’re making or working on, their needs, how they’ll use it and what they’ll get out of it.
Y is for Your Choice
Above all else, learning should be fun. Feel free to choose an elective that has absolutely nothing to do with your degree but you’d love to do anyway, whether that’s Jane Austen or a language you’ve always wanted to speak. Who knows, you might uncover some pearls of wisdom along the way that you can then apply to your degree or career!
Z is for Zeitgeist
Okay, okay. This isn’t an elective – zeitgeist is a word used to describe the mood or vibe of a period in time. This is more of a tip to think about what’s current when choosing electives. For example, there’s a lot of media about the ethics of tech and data privacy at the moment, so you might want to pair philosophy with your computer science degree, or climate science with your engineering degree like we spoke about above.
For more tips on choosing electives, head on over here and sign up to the Careers with STEM weekly e-newsletter!