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DHS Announces Expanded List of STEM Degree Programs

May 11, 2012

Please note: On May 10, 2016, DHS replaced the 17-month STEM OPT extension with a new 24-month STEM OPT extension. All existing 17-month STEM OPT EADs will remain valid until the EAD expires, is terminated or revoked. For more information about the new STEM OPT rule, please visit the STEM OPT Hub

In an effort to continue to attract the best and brightest international students to study in the United States, today DHS added more science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) designated-degree programs to the list of qualifying student visa extensions. 

These newly added STEM designated-degree programs, including pharmaceutical sciences, econometrics and quantitative economics, qualify eligible graduates on student visas for an optional practical training (OPT) extension.  OPT allows eligible international students to remain in the United States for up to 12 months while they gain work experience and receive training related to their programs of study.

Students who graduate with a STEM designated degree can remain for an additional 17 months on an OPT STEM extension. You may be eligible for the 17-Month OPT STEM extension under the following circumstances:

  • Your degree for your current period of post-completion OPT is a bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree in a STEM-Designated Degree Program
  • The employer from which you are seeking work uses the E-Verify Program
  • You have not already received a 17-month extension of OPT

For more information about the expanded list of STEM designated-degree programs, please visit the official DHS news release.

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