Expansion of STEM field list entitling international students to Optional Practical Training “STEM Extension”

On January 21, 2022, US Department of Homeland Security announced the addition of 21 additional field of study to the STEM field list. This list denotes which fields of study enable a post-graduation F-1 student to apply for an additional 24 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization on top of the base 12 months a degree graduate may already be entitled to regardless of degree field.

The additional fields include:

  • · Bioenergy
  • · Forestry, General
  • · 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, General Data Analytics
  • · Business Analytics
  • · Data Visualization
  • · Financial Analytics
  • · Business Analytics
  • · Industrial and Organizational Psychology
  • · Social Sciences, Research Methodology, and Quantitative Methods

Individuals graduating with degrees in these fields, along with those graduating with degrees in STEM fields already on the designated DHS list, are eligible to apply for an additional two years of employment authorization where the employer is signed up for the E-Verify program and will create a training plan document.

DHS further announced new guidance allowing additional training in an academic setting for J-1 exchange visitors engaging in STEM field research.