New Fields of Study Added to the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List

July 11, 2023

On Wednesday, July 12, 2023, the U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement Agency (“ICE”) is expected to publish a Federal Register Notice updating the DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List (“STEM List”) to include eight additional fields of study/occupations.

The STEM List is important for F-1 students and their employers as it is used to determine whether the F-1 student obtained their degree in a STEM (“Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math”) designated field and are thus able to request a STEM OPT extension to their work authorization. Typically, when an F-1 student graduates with a U.S. degree, they may obtain Optional Practical Training (“OPT”) work authorization for one year post-graduation. If it is determined that the F-1 holder’s U.S. degree is in a STEM designated field, they may receive an additional two years of employment authorization through a new STEM OPT EAD (“Employment Authorization Document”) card.

To such end, the following eight new fields of study/occupations are expected to be added:

  • Landscape Architecture;
  • Institutional Research;
  • Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering Technology/Technician;
  • Composite Materials Technology/Technician;
  • Linguistics and Computer Science;
  • Developmental and Adolescent Psychology;
  • Geospatial Intelligence; and
  • Demography and Population Studies.

The complete STEM List can be accessed through the Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) website. For more information on the new fields of study/occupation, please follow this link to the Federal Register Notice.

If you have any questions about your eligibility for STEM OPT work authorization, please contact your Designated School Official (“DSO”), or the attorney at LHSCD working on your case. Or, to set up a consultation with one of our attorneys, please fill out our Consultation Request Form.

Written by: Megan Nova Moleski


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