22 New STEM courses added to OPT program in USA

In a promising move for international students aspiring to study in the United States, the Biden administration has unveiled a comprehensive revamp of its policy to attract global talent. The focus of this initiative is on bolstering the Optional Practical Training (OPT) program by incorporating 22 new STEM courses—Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics.

Understanding the OPT Program

What is OPT? Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a form of paid industry training for international students with an F-1 Visa in the USA. This training, when geared towards STEM students, is referred to as STEM-OPT. It can be undertaken either before the completion of the academic program (Pre-completion OPT) or after graduation (Post-completion OPT). International students can initially apply for a 12-month OPT, and those in STEM fields have the opportunity to extend it for an additional 24 months.

Welcoming 22 New Fields to the STEM OPT Program

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announcement brings exciting prospects for the U.S. economy by including diverse subjects that cater to the ever-evolving landscape of STEM disciplines. The newly added fields are as follows:

  1. Bioenergy: Covering bioprocessing, biochemical engineering, environmental sustainability, and more.
  2. Forestry, General: Encompassing forest-related sciences, statistics, and natural resource management.
  3. Human-Centered Technology Design: Focused on design, human-computer interaction, and product design.
  4. Cloud Computing: Including data management, cloud security, and web development.
  5. Anthrozoology: Involving animal behavior, welfare, and conservation.
  6. Climate Science: Covering climate analysis, policy, and environmental impacts.
  7. Earth Systems Science: Including biogeochemistry, GIS, and meteorology.
  8. Economics and Computer Science: Combining data analysis, economics, and computer programming.
  9. Environmental Geosciences: Encompassing environmental management, geology, and sustainability studies.
  10. Geobiology: Focused on the evolution of Earth systems and paleontology.
  11. Geography and Environmental Studies: Covering climate science, human geography, and public policy.
  12. Mathematical Economics: Involving data analysis, calculus, and microeconomic theory.
  13. Mathematics and Atmospheric/Oceanic Science: Including atmospheric dynamics, climate modeling, and oceanography.
  14. Data Science, General: Covering computer algorithms, data management, and statistical methods.
  15. Data Analytics, General: Involving machine learning, optimization, and probability.
  16. Business Analytics: Focused on machine learning, logistics, and consumer behavior.
  17. Data Visualization: Covering cognitive science, graphic design, and statistics.
  18. Financial Analytics: Including financial data processing, machine learning for finance, and project management.
  19. Data Analytics, Other: Encompassing research and innovation using computer science and mathematics.
  20. Industrial and Organizational Psychology: Covering organizational theory, human-machine interactions, and motivation dynamics.
  21. Social Sciences, Research Methodology, and Quantitative Methods: Involving experimental methods, questionnaire design, and statistical methods.

Impact on the U.S. Economy

This expansion aims to increase the contributions of international students in critical STEM fields, fostering economic growth and innovation. By providing a platform for students to specialize in these emerging disciplines, the U.S. government is paving the way for a more competitive and technologically advanced workforce.


the Biden administration’s commitment to attracting global talent through an enhanced STEM OPT program signifies a significant step towards a more inclusive and innovative future. International students now have an expanded array of opportunities to contribute to the growth and development of the United States in the ever-evolving landscape of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

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