24 Jan 2022

United States

DHS Expands Degree Fields Eligible for STEM OPT

On January 21, 2022, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) published an updated list of STEM Designated Degree Programs. This updated added 22 new programs that are considered part of the STEM fields—science, technology, engineering, and math. 

International students who graduate with post-secondary STEM degrees are eligible to apply for a two-year period of work authorization (Optional Practical Training, or OPT) in the U.S. for the purpose of on-the-job application of their STEM knowledge and skills. STEM OPT is an extension of post-completion OPT, which is available for degrees in all disciplines for up to 12 months. For graduates who secure employment with companies willing to sponsor foreign workers, STEM OPT often provides a bridge to other work-authorized statuses, such as H-1B.  

The newly added degree fields eligible for STEM OPT are: 

  • Bioenergy 
  • Forestry 
  • Forest Resources Production and Management 
  • Human-Centered Technology Design 
  • Cloud Computing 
  • Anthrozoology
  • Climate Science 
  • Earth Systems Science
  • Economics and Computer Science 
  • Environmental Geosciences 
  • Geobiology 
  • Geography and Environmental Studies
  • Mathematical Economics 
  • Mathematics and Atmospheric/Oceanic Science 
  • Data Science 
  • Data Analytics 
  • Business Analytics
  • Data Visualization 
  • Financial Analytics 
  • Industrial and Organizational Psychology 
  • Social Sciences, Research Methodology and Quantitative Methods 

In the same publication, DHS invited members of the public to nominate CIP codes for consideration as future additions to the list. The inclusion of Industrial and Organizational Psychology as well as Social Sciences, Research Methodology and Quantitative Methods, were the result of nominations that DHS accepted. 

The other recently-added fields reflect new CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) codes recently created by the National Center for Educational Statistics to reflect emergent areas of concentrated study at the post-secondary level. The full list of STEM eligible degrees is available at 

© 2022 Tafapolsky & Smith LLP. All rights reserved.
The content above is provided for informational purposes only. It should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Use of this information does not create an attorney-client relationship. 

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