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What is STEM?

Efforts to track the growth and evolution of scholarship in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) have led to various definitions of STEM. Factors in defining STEM vary depending on who is tracking data, including government agencies, academic institutions, and industry. As a result, there is not a single definition of STEM that is universally observed. Here are a few ways that STEM is defined:

  • Contains 422 programs (6-digit) in 22 disciplines
  • Broadest definition - revised/expanded in 2012
  • Includes prgrams in Agriculture, Natural Resources, Communications, Education and Psychology
  • International STEM graduates may remain additional 17 mo. optional practical training (OPT)
  • DHS-ICE STEM-Designated Degree Program List (PDF)
  • Definition used in PS-LSAMP
  • Contains 224 programs (6-digit CIP) in 12 disciplines
  • Includes Agriculture and Natural Resources
  • Does not include Health Professions and Related Programs
  • Broader definition than IPEDS
  • NSF STEM Classification of Instructional Programs
  • Provides extensive benchmarking opportunities
  • Contains 224 programs (6-digit CIP) in 10 disciplines
  • Narrowest definitions considered

Starting fall semester 2017, certain rigoourous STEM courses are eligible for a .5 GPA boost for students' HOPE average GPAs. Find out more about this program, as well as a directory of eligible courses HERE.

UGA's Office of STEM Education Mission

The Mission of the Office of STEM Education:

  • To promote the creation, implementation, and assessment of effective STEM pedagogies that improve teaching and learning and help close the equity gap among STEM students.
  • To create an ecosystem of collaboration and cooperation with the University System of Georgia, the University of Georgia, P-12 educators, businesses, governmental agencies, and communities to prepare graduates to act in a complex world.

UGA's Office of STEM Education Activities

Aligning its activities with UGA’s Complete College Georgia Plan and emphasizing the importance of the learning experience, the OSE will continue to support teaching innovations that focus on improved learning and student retention through mini-grant funding to faculty. As a complement to this support and to encourage scaling and sustaining successful innovations, the OSE will partner with Office of the Vice President for Research to expand faculty opportunities for external funding. Existing contracted servicesto assist faculty in research design and assessment will be expanded.
Expanding upon the existing learning communities, the OSE will facilitate connections between and among STEM Educators within and across departments, institutions, and educational sectors. Sample strategies that can be used to facilitate connections include webinars, discussion forums, and invited participation in state and national conversations on STEM topics.
The annual UGA STEM Institute on Teaching and Learning provides a forum for sharing best practices in STEM teaching and learning, discussing challenges and opportunities for improving student performance in STEM, and catalyzing the formation of new partnerships among diverse groups. To maintain and encourage engagement throughout the year, the OSE will facilitate/promote smaller events for purposes of professional development, garnering outside funding, and sharing of expertise and innovations across departments and institutions
The OSE will maintain current and develop new partnershipsthat improve STEM learning opportunities for students. Partners include institutions of higher education within the state and beyond, neighboring P-12 school districts, state and national educational agencies, and local businesses.
The OSE will aggregate and track data associated with STEM-related institutional goals on an annual basis looking for trends, improvements and areas for further investigation. Additionally, all programs and services offered through the OSE will be reviewed on an annual basis at a minimum for modification, elimination or expansion.
The OSE will expand its web presence to provide faculty key STEM related information on what is happening nationally, at the state level, and locally. Additionally, the OSE will disseminate instructionalsuccesses and important eventsthrough partnerships with other key faculty information resources on campus.

Collective Imapct is a means of structuring collaboration that helps coordinate efforts of autonomous groups in order to work towards common goals. The groups, such as Departments, Colleges, student organizations, or individual faculty or students, can still pursue their individual goals but with a broader understanding of how their effors can contribute to the University of Georgia STEM Goals


The Components of Collective Impact:

  • Backbone Organization: Coordinate participation among partners
  • Common Agenda: Shared goals and vision
  • Continuous Communication: Ongoing communication to strengthen relationships and coordination among the partners and stakeholders
  • Shared Measurement: Data that is useful partners, to plan activities and support collaboration with partners and stakeholders
  • Reinforcing Activities: Coordinated activities that support the collective effort

Contact Us

Download UGA's STEM Education brochure (PDF)

The University of Georgia is committed to principles of equal opportunity and affirmative action.