The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published a notice in the Federal Register on Jan. 21, 2022 that adds 22 new qualifying fields of study to the STEM program.  


The science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) Optional Practical Training (OPT) program gives certain international students the ability to gain practical work experience with qualifying employers in the U.S. for one year following graduation. After that time, they can gain an additional two years worth of work experience, specifically in a STEM field.  

The OPT program will now be expanded to include 22 more fields of study. These fields include climate science, cloud computing, anthrozoology, mathematical economics, business analytics, financial analytics, and data visualization, among others.  

Along with expanding the list of qualifying STEM fields, DHS is also assigning a corresponding Department of Education Classification of Instruction Program (CIP) code to each new field. The updated list will help determine if a degree received by certain F-1 nonimmigrant students qualifies as a STEM degree and therefore enables them to apply for a 24-month extension of their post-completion OPT.  

Originally published 21 January 2022

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