Which STEM Major is Right for You?

By Josiah Jibben
Computer Science Major, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

STEM students working in a robotics lab

By Chandler van Dyke
Computer Science Major, College of Science, Engineering and Technology

While choosing a college major, you may find yourself considering a science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) major. STEM majors are appealing for several reasons, including diversity, challenge, industry job growth, compensation and personal satisfaction. Grand Canyon University offers several STEM programs in computer science, information technology, engineering and computer programming. By looking at the goals, technologies and career opportunities in each major, you may be able to decide which STEM major is right for you:

Computer Science

Students who choose to pursue one of GCU’s computer science degrees study a vast array of modern technologies to prepare for a career impacting the future of technology. This is done by working with faculty who have experience in the industry to develop critical thinking skills and achieve a fundamental understanding of commonly used programming languages and technologies. Some of these include C++, Python, Raspberry Pi and VR/AR development.

Students later take courses that focus on the technology and concepts used in their desired field of work based on the emphasis they choose. In big data analytics, students gain skills for developing software, managing large databases and interpreting trends in data to find useful information. In the gaming and simulation emphasis, students learn the principles of game design and development. The business entrepreneurship emphasis focuses on project management and commercializing products for revenue.

Information Technology

Students who enroll in GCU’s information technology program learn to meet the business-driven technology needs of organizations by working with networks, servers and databases. This is accomplished by studying platform technologies, networking, information assurance, security, programming fundamentals, cloud-based computing, data centers and Web systems.

This degree prepares students for a career as an information technology manager, information security specialist, IT project manager, network support specialist, systems administrator or systems integrator. Students can additionally choose to pursue an emphasis in cyber security in which they study the processes and goals of cyber forensics as well as develop plans and strategies for security architectures.


GCU offers a wide range of engineering degrees such as electrical engineering, biomedical engineering, mechanical engineering and engineering. The engineering curricula at GCU offer hands-on experience with several cutting-edge technologies.

GCU has also built state-of-the-art engineering classrooms for students to develop skills that can’t be developed in an ordinary classroom setting. This allows students to apply classroom theories in real-world applications, including working in a machine shop or wood working shop. Each engineering field has its own set of specific tools, allowing students to prepare to enter the workforce.

Computer Programming

In GCU’s computer programming program, students increase their understanding of Java, C# and SQL in addition to software development. Throughout the program, students gain experience in software and database application development, which prepares them for the changing trends in technology. Starting from “Hello, World!” and moving to 21st century software design, students study advancements in computer programming languages in order to prepare them for jobs in software development and programming.

Throughout the computer programming curriculum, students are exposed to cloud computing while learning in small dynamic learning environments. This program prepares students for roles such as computer and information system managers, computer programmers, systems analysts, geospatial information technologists or web application developers.

Choosing the Right STEM Major

Now that the differences between GCU’s programs are clearer, you can make an informed decision about which is best for you. If any of these majors interest you, contact us using the Request More Information button on this page to speak with an admissions counselor and learn about your opportunities at GCU.

More About Josiah:

Josiah Jibben is a junior at Grand Canyon University. He is studying computer science.

More About Chandler:

Chandler Van Dyke is a junior in the computer science program with an emphasis in big data analytics. He is from Denver, CO and came to GCU in order to grow spiritually and intellectually. His hobbies include hiking, sports and pursuing academic fields outside the classroom, including cyber security and machine learning. Also, he is involved in the Smart Urban Fabrics (SMURF) research team and interning as a cyber security engineer for Raytheon.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University.

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