On May 11, 2012, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the decision to expand the list of STEM – science, technology, engineering, and math – degree programs that render foreign national students eligible for a 17 month extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT).
In general, OPT allows foreign students who graduate from U.S. colleges and universities the ability to remain in the U.S. and work for employers in their chosen field for a period of 12 months. An international student who has earned a degree in a designated STEM program is eligible to apply to extend the usual OPT period for an additional 17 months.
As a result of the extension, the list of STEM degree programs will now include disciplines like pharmaceutical sciences, econometrics and quantitative economics. For access to the full press release, which includes a link to the complete list of STEM programs, log onto www.dhs.gov/ynews/releases/20120511-expanded-stem-degree-programs-shtm.