Stem Study Fields
And Careers


A prosperous future for South Africa lies not in the gold buried underground, but in our ability to solve problems and innovate. STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) gives us the tools to develop new products, new processes and to make new discoveries.

Study and pursue a career in STEM and Discover Gold in your Grey Matter.


Life Sciences involve the study of living things such as micro-organisms, plants, animals, and human beings. Medical Sciences cover much of the same areas as life sciences but the focus here is mainly on the welfare and health of human beings. A few examples of what you will find in this field include medicine, biochemistry, biotechnology, microbiology, palaeontology, toxicology and zoology, among others.

Careers in the Life and Medical Sciences range from medical doctor and marine biologist to drug researcher, veterinarian and everything in between!

  • Download a guide to careers in agricultural research here
  • Download a guide to careers in biotechnology here


In contrast to Life Sciences, Physical Sciences study non-living things. It is a very broad field that includes astronomy (astrophysics, cosmology, stellar astronomy); Earth Sciences (climatology, geology, oceanography); and physics (quantum, mechanics, computational) among others.

The range of careers in this area is quite wide and includes different types of physicists and chemists. A growing and interesting field in Physical Science in South Africa is Space Science and Technology.

  • For careers in is Space Science and Technology download this guide
  • Other careers in Physical Sciences can be found on this guide in STEM careers


Engineering Sciences involve the designing, building, maintenance and development of things that we need that don’t exist in the natural world, e.g. engines, machines and structures. Under engineering you will find disciplines such as mechanical, civil, chemical, electrical, agricultural, aeronautical, mining, industrial, and material.

Careers in engineering and technology include aeronautics engineer, chemical engineer, electrical engineer, mining engineer, etc. In many cases engineers work with scientists in other fields of STEM e.g. Space Sciences.

Check out the engineering section of this guide in STEM careers


Mathematical sciences are an area of study that includes disciplines that are primarily mathematical in nature, e.g. statistics, pure and applied mathematics. Maths is also integral in almost all the other STEM disciplines.

Career options in this field include statisticians, actuaries, and mathematicians. More career options in mathematical sciences can be found here and in the SET Career Guide