New OPT STEM Degrees list 2012 by DHS

94 STEM Degree Programs added to 17 month OPT Extension by DHS

In CPT| OPT| On-Campus by Kumar47 Comments

To attract and retain International students talent in America, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on May 11th, 2012  announced expanded list of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math )  designated degrees that qualify for 17 month OPT (Optional Practical Training) Extension.  In fact, changes to OPT rules in 2008 added 17 month OPT extension for STEM Degrees

Summary of DHS press release : STEM Degrees added in 2012

  • New 94 STEM designated degree programs are added to the existing list
  • Newly included degree programs are from fields like pharmaceutical sciences, econometrics, quantitative economics, and etc.
  • All 94 newly added STEM degree programs are eligible for 17 month OPT Extension
  • In order to qualify for 17 month OPT extension you need to meet the following criteria:
    • Degree from your Bachelor’s, Master’s or Doctoral is listed in a STEM program
    • The employer you plan to work for is part of E-Verify Program
    • You have not utilized or used 17 month OPT extension
    • You are maintaining legal status in America

Complete List of Newly Added STEM Degree Programs 2012

S.No 2010 CIP* Code Degree Program – CIP Code Title
1 1.0308 Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture.
2 1.0999 Animal Sciences, Other.
3 1.1099 Food Science and Technology, Other.
4 1.1199 Plant Sciences, Other.
5 1.1299 Soil Sciences, Other.
6 3.0101 Natural Resources/Conservation, General.
7 3.0103 Environmental Studies.
8 3.0199 Natural Resources Conservation and Research, Other.
9 3.0205 Water, Wetlands, and Marine Resources Management.
10 3.0508 Urban Forestry.
11 3.0601 Wildlife, Fish and Wildlands Science and Management.
12 4.0902 Architectural and Building Sciences/Technology.
13 11.0199 Computer and Information Sciences, Other.
14 11.0299 Computer Programming, Other.
15 11.0899 Computer Software and Media Applications, Other.
16 11.1099 Computer/Information Technology Services Administration and Management, Other.
17 13.0501 Educational/Instructional Technology.
18 13.0601 Educational Evaluation and Research.
19 14.0799 Chemical Engineering, Other.
20 14.0899 Civil Engineering, Other.
21 14.0999 Computer Engineering, Other.
22 14.1099 Electrical, Electronics and Communications Engineering, Other.
23 14.9999 Engineering, Other.
24 15.0399 Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technologies/Technicians, Other.
25 15.0499 Electromechanical &Instrumentation & Maintenance Technologies/Technicians, Other.
26 15.0599 Environmental Control Technologies/Technicians, Other.
27 15.0699 Industrial Production Technologies/Technicians, Other.
28 15.0799 Quality Control and Safety Technologies/Technicians, Other.
29 15.0899 Mechanical Engineering Related Technologies/Technicians, Other.
30 15.0999 Mining and Petroleum Technologies/Technicians, Other.
31 15.1199 Engineering-Related Technologies, Other.
32 15.1299 Computer Engineering Technologies/Technicians, Other.
33 15.1399 Drafting/Design Engineering Technologies/Technicians, Other.
34 15.1599 Engineering-Related Fields, Other.
35 15.9999 Engineering Technologies and Engineering-Related Fields, Other.
36 26.0299 Biochemistry, Biophysics and Molecular Biology, Other.
37 26.0399 Botany/Plant Biology, Other.
38 26.0499 Cell/Cellular Biology and Anatomical Sciences, Other.
39 26.0599 Microbiological Sciences and Immunology, Other.
40 26.0799 Zoology/Animal Biology, Other.
41 26.0899 Genetics, Other.
42 26.0999 Physiology, Pathology, and Related Sciences, Other.
43 26.1099 Pharmacology and Toxicology, Other.
44 26.1199 Biomathematics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology, Other.
45 26.1399 Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Population Biology, Other.
46 26.1599 Neurobiology and Neurosciences, Other.
47 26.9999 Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Other.
48 27.0199 Mathematics, Other.
49 27.0399 Applied Mathematics, Other.
50 27.0599 Statistics, Other.
51 27.9999 Mathematics and Statistics, Other.
52 28.0501 Air Science/Airpower Studies.
53 28.0502 Air and Space Operational Art and Science.
54 28.0505 Naval Science and Operational Studies.
55 29.0299 Intelligence, Command Control and Information Operations, Other.
56 29.0399 Military Applied Sciences, Other.
57 29.0499 Military Systems and Maintenance Technology, Other.
58 29.9999 Military Technologies and Applied Sciences, Other.
59 30.1701 Behavioral Sciences.
60 30.2701 Human Biology.
61 30.3001 Computational Science.
62 30.3101 Human Computer Interaction.
63 30.3301 Sustainability Studies.
64 40.0299 Astronomy and Astrophysics, Other.
65 40.0499 Atmospheric Sciences and Meteorology, Other.
66 40.0599 Chemistry, Other.
67 40.0699 Geological and Earth Sciences/Geosciences, Other.
68 40.0899 Physics, Other.
69 40.1099 Materials Sciences, Other.
70 40.9999 Physical Sciences, Other.
71 41.0299 Nuclear and Industrial Radiologic Technologies/Technicians, Other.
72 41.0399 Physical Science Technologies/Technicians, Other.
73 41.9999 Science Technologies/Technicians, Other.
74 42.2799 Research and Experimental Psychology, Other.
75 43.0116 Cyber/Computer Forensics and Counterterrorism.
76 45.0301 Archeology.
77 45.0603 Econometrics and Quantitative Economics.
78 49.0101 Aeronautics/Aviation/Aerospace Science and Technology, General.
79 51.1002 Cytotechnology/Cytotechnologist.
80 51.1005 Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology/Technologist.
81 51.2006 Clinical and Industrial Drug Development.
82 51.2007 Pharmacoeconomics/Pharmaceutical Economics.
83 51.2009 Industrial and Physical Pharmacy and Cosmetic Sciences.
84 51.2010 Pharmaceutical Sciences.
85 51.2202 Environmental Health.
86 51.2205 Health/Medical Physics.
87 51.2502 Veterinary Anatomy
88 51.2503 Veterinary Physiology
89 51.2504 Veterinary Microbiology and Immunobiology
90 51.2505 Veterinary Pathology and Pathobiology
91 51.2506 Veterinary Toxicology and Pharmacology
92 51.2510 Veterinary Preventive Medicine Epidemiology and Public Health
93 51.2511 Veterinary Infectious Diseases
94 52.1399 Management Science and Quantitative Methods, Other

*CIP stands for Classification of Instructional Programs

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Comments ( 47 )

  1. Dilema

    Do Certifications for Java, SQL, and other languages fall under STEM? I am not asking in terms of OPT. I am asking this as I have these certifications and am currently on H4 EAD but want to change to H1B.
    I have an MBA degree in Marketing and Management but started coding and I do have these Certifications. Do you think these will suffice the need for for H1B? The work experience as a coder is almost 4 years now.

  2. Rinny


    I am doing Masters in Public Health and my major is Environmental health science. MPH does not come under STEM but my major comes under STEM list, so would i be able to get STEM extension

  3. Sailee

    My degree MPH has a non-STEM CIP code, but my major is Epidemiology which is a STEM field. Can I get OPT extension on that basis?

    1. administrator

      In general, you should have your degree CIP code in it. Your Graduate school can clarify, if your degree falls under STEM or not.

    1. administrator

      There are so many variations and it always depends on the school. Check with the graduate school on the code, where you are applying to get it confirmed.

  4. karan thakur

    hello everyone!
    I just wanted to ask whether you get jobs if you do MIS in USA from a average university because of low gre scores.
    Also, Is MS in CS include core programmimg and Managable to students who have done Information Technology as their bachelors.

  5. Jim

    I have a roommate that is wanting to do an OPT STEM extension and he got a graduate degree in MIS from Northern Illinois University. Is there any way to get his extension so he can continue to work here in the US? The DHS has denied his app based on the MIS degree not qualifying as a STEM degree. I feel bad for him and would like to help.

  6. anshul

    i am a dentist & now i want to go to US to do either MASTERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH OR MASTERS IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION but i am not sure about the OPT WHETHER IT WOULD BE FOR 12 MONTHS OR 29 MONTHS?


  7. anshul

    i am a dentist & now i want to go to US to do either MASTERS IN PUBLIC HEALTH OR MASTERS IN HEALTHCARE ADMINISTRATION but i am not sure about the OPT

  8. Riddhi

    I have done Master of Physical therapy from India. Currently, I am on F2 visa in USA. I want to apply for the master degree program like Master of Athletic Training or Master of Science in Kinesiology. My concerns are can I get the OPT and H1b visa at the end of study. Please, guide me.


    Hello Everyone,

    I come from a commerce background(non technical), Can i get admission in MS/MBA in MIS STEM Accredited Degree in USA ??

    1. pawan vatsya

      hi ritika.. m also preparing 4 gre n going 2 do m.s in engineering mngmt…i m certain bout it being a stem course..but not certain bout its job prospect..add me on facebook by name pawan vatsya for further discussion bout the course n job prospect in u.s.a ..or search by email .. marinerpawan4u at yahoo(dot)com on fb.. bi

    2. pawan vatsya

      hi ritika.. m also preparing 4 gre n going 2 do m.s in engineering mngmt…i m certain bout it being a stem course..but not certain bout its job prospect..add me on facebook by name… pawan vatsya …for further discussion bout the course n job prospect in u.s.a ..

  10. sai ram

    I am planning to do ms in mis,
    1)Do it have STEM DEGREE?
    2)california state univ -los angeles doey have stem degree in ms in mis?
    3)university of houston clear lake have Stem Degree in ms in mis?

  11. Catherine

    Hi, quick question.
    I studied Interior Architecture for my Bachelor’s,
    Do you think it’s worth it for me to try to apply for the degree of Architectural and Building Sciences/Technology (#12) STEM OPT extension?

    I know it’s very different but do you think it’s worth a try

    1. Bhavana

      Hi Catherine,

      Were you able to figure out if interior architecture qualifies for OPT extension? I’m in the same boat.Let me know,


  12. jay

    I am selecting MBA IT management from Wester Governors University, UT.
    Is this graduate program comes under STEM designated program.


  13. Mohammed

    Hello… I am having a doubt and hopefully any one of you can clarify this for me…
    I am doing Masters in Business Administration with Major as Management Information Systems… Hence, I would like to know as my major is Information Systems would this degree be considered a part of STEM?

    Thanks and regards,

    1. nikhil

      Hi. I have the same situation as you. I am planning to take up MBA in MIS. Wanted to know if it qualifies for extension. Please kindly let me know. Thanks

  14. JWYNN

    Georgia College was recently had two new undergraduate majors added to the STEM extension list:

    Computer Science (CIP 110101)
    Management Information Systems (CIP 521399)

      1. administrator

        You need to check the CIP code for correct information. Speak to your graduate school and get the info.

  15. maryam

    I graduated with Accounting degree in 2011 may and my opt is expiring this month.
    i found this job who is applying for my H1B visa this week after my LCA approval gets back from DOL.
    my question here is my bachelors in accounting counts in stem if not
    can i wait for my premium processing H1b results and then apply for cap-gap.
    to make sure it got approved and if God forbid it doesn’t get an approval can i go back to F1 status
    Is there a grace time period after OPT expiration to go back to f1 status instead of apply for cap-gap and losing a privilege of getting F1 status back completely
    in case of H1B rejection

    please advise

    1. administrator

      You will be eligible for cap-gap once your petition reaches USCIS and it has been filed w/ COS w/ start date of Oct 1. Even if your petition is under process and OPT expires, you can continue to stay and work. Just let your DSO know about this. However, if H-1 is filed after the OPT has expired (i.e. during the 60 day grace period), then you are authorized to stay but not work. Again, you need to inform your DSO accordingly.

      I don’t know if you can move to another school during that 60 day grace period.

  16. Saurabh

    I graduated May 2011 with a degree that wasnt in STEM at that time. However it has now been included in STEM as per this notice. I am still in my OPT (expires this month)
    Can I apply for STEM extension?

      1. Anonymous

        Hi Saurabh,

        1. My Degree is in Economics with a code of 45. 0601.
        The STEM degree is Econometrics and Quantati…46. 0603. What can I do to get this changed?
        (Note: my university does not have 45.0603) What are my options?

        2. I cannot apply for H1 anymore, my OPT expires on Jan 31st 2013. What are the options to stay in the country?

        Thank you for your feedback! a lot of appreciation your way.

        1. administrator

          1. You will have to talk to your DSO or attorney about this
          2. You can enroll in another school/course and continue to stay on F-1

        2. Mike

          would you, please, share your results on 1. with me by email? I’m in exact same situation 45.0601 to 45.0603 (one digit off!! argh!!!)

  17. Abhi

    Hi Kumar,

    I have double major in International business and Business economics with a minor in Information system.

    1. Am i allowed for STEM extension as i see on #77 on the list for newly added STEM degrees, Quantitative economics is added.

    2. Does having a minor in IS qualify me for STEM

    If no to both ot the above questions:
    My opt expires 5th Sept and i am yet to apply for h1b do you suggest me to apply for premium petition or regular depending on the rate the quota is being filled.

    Secondly, what is the process for applying for cap-gap (i think i will need this since opt expires in Sept and h1b starts Oct 1st)?

    Lastly, i read a lot of times you saying h1b with COS what does “COS” stand for and what does it mean?

    Thanks a lot i had a lot of general questions which were answered by reading others questions. The above are more specific to my situation thus asking.

    Thanks for your help.

    1. administrator

      I am not sure about the STEM thing, and you should check w/ your DSO. However, if the list includes your QE degree, then you should be fine.

      Answers to your remaining questions:
      – You can apply now in regular processing. If the petition doesn’t get approved by (let’s say) Sep end, then you can upgrade it to PP so that you get the decision before Oct
      – As long as petition has been filed w/ COS w/ start date of Oct 1, you are eligible for cap-gap. Once the petition gets filed, let your school DSO know and they would update the status in SEVIS record
      – COS stands for change of status. Your current visa status is F-1 and it needs to change to H-1 for you to start working on H-1. So when the H-1 petition is filed, employer will have to file it w/ COS. Once approved, your status will change to H-1 from COS approval date which is typically Oct 1

  18. Physiotherpist in USA

    I am an IT engineer and will be traveling to USA on the H1B visa in later this year.. My wife is a physiotherapist and I wish that she can either study or work there while I am working in USA (Massachutes, Boston). Please suggest how can my wife apply for study or work permit when I get my H1b stamped in October.

    Please guide.

  19. Swetha

    If my Bachelors is from STEM field in India and Masters Degree from USA but not included in STEM branches, then am i eligible for STEM OPT extension?

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