Best colleges for women and minorities in STEM

Women and minorities in STEM promote our country's economic success and national security. Become the next leader in scientific excellence and technological innovations.
Written by Education Editors, Contributor

From Marie Sklodowska Curie to Dr. Mae Carol Jemison, women and minorities have been long-term STEM contributors making breakthroughs in radioactivity, chemotherapy, and pharmaceutical chemistry. As a future STEM innovator, you may be considering how to enter the field.

Our guide will help you navigate the best STEM programs paving the way for women and minorities. 

Locate colleges and universities with mentorships, scholarships, and summer research programs along with high acceptance, retention, and graduation rates. 

Best colleges for women and minorities in STEM

Our method of selection included recruitment and retention rates of underrepresented students, retention and graduation rates, and professional networking opportunities as well as real-world research experience, STEM clubs, and mentoring programs.

While several colleges and universities ranked highly for STEM initiatives, our guide lists ten institutions promoting and supporting diversity. 

Explore our list and delve into each school's STEM initiatives. Our data is accurate as of time of publication. Prior to applying, check the institution's website, review the terms and conditions, and contact the department to inquire about their current STEM endeavors.

1. Barnard College

Barnard College has initiated the Barnard Year of Science and raised 85% of their $250 million goal for modernizing their science facility and program design. With the community's support, the college will continue supporting the Science Writing Fellows, Summer Research Institute, and Computer Science Prizes for Excellence along with Science Pathways Scholars, tutoring corps, and scholarships.

2. Bryn Mawr College

Bryn Mawr College offers a free, interdisciplinary STEM in the Liberal Arts Fellows Program and mentorship. This college-transition program accepts low socioeconomic status, first generation undergraduates. Students receive a laptop and summer stipend as well as exposure to environmental change and justice from a STEM and humanities perspective.

3. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University

Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University provides a first-year, STEM Dual Enrollment Themed Learning Community, Male STEM Academic Excellence Learning Community, and Women in STEM Learning Community. Male learning community members participate in health sciences, health information management, and nursing co-curricular activities. Women in STEM members explore their educational and career goals.

4. Howard University

Howard University's Karsh STEM Scholars Program earned the 2020 Inspiring Programs in STEM Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. Selected, first-year students engage in a six-week summer bridge program as well as the educational experience abroad. Students may participate in professional mentoring, research internships, and the Karsh STEM Scholars Annual Retreat.

5. Mount Holyoke College

Mount Holyoke, a women's college, hosted the first coed hack-a-thon with a 1:1 ratio. The college promotes peer mentorships amongst new and current computer science students. Approximately 35% of Mount Holyoke's students graduate with a STEM degree. For over 50 years, women alumni have earned the highest number of STEM doctorates. 

6. NC State University

NC State University ranked 1st in top, public universities awarding engineering bachelor's degrees to women. The university fosters a plethora of engineering programs, including Women and Minority Engineering Programs, Women in Engineering Programs, and Minority Engineering Programs. Students may join the Society of Women Engineers, Women in Aerospace, and Women in Nuclear Programs. 

7. Spelman College

Spelman College's Global Research and Education in STEM Scholars Program engages African American women in research labs and summer study abroad opportunities. With guided mentorships, scholars broaden their biomedical, environmental, and related STEM field experiences. Scholars prepare presentations and reports and attend seminars.

8. Stanford University

Stanford University selects 25 scholars for the Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF). Students experience an eight-week, residential program equipped with graduate level research preparation. Minorities of African descent and African American students may apply for the Minority Television Project's sponsored scholarships. SURF graduates may apply for the Wade Scholarship Program.

9. University of Arizona

The University of Arizona's Science, Engineering, and Math Scholars Program supports women and minorities, technical and community college graduates, and first-generation students as well as other historically underrepresented learners. Scholars take advantage of mentorships, STEM learning communities, and professional networks along with internships and career advising.

10. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago's Neuroscience Institute offers a leadership alliance, summer research programs, developmental neurobiology and quantitative biology fellowships, and neuroscience research internships. Students can select independent research opportunities, transform their classroom skills, and conduct lab experiments with faculty mentors.

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