New Majors Eligible for STEM OPT Work Authorization Extension

Hodgson Russ Immigration Alert 

In a July 12, 2023, posting to the Federal Register, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security designated eight additional fields of study as eligible for a two-year STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) extension to Optional Practical Training (OPT).

OPT allows foreign national students of U.S. colleges and universities holding F-1 status to gain practical experience in their field of study via one year of post-graduation work authorization. If foreign national students study in a designated STEM field, those students are eligible for a two-year extension of OPT, for a total of three years of post-graduation work authorization.

The following fields will become eligible for the two-year extension:

Landscape Architecture (04.0601): A program that prepares individuals for the independent professional practice of landscape architecture and research in various aspects of the field. Includes instruction in geology and hydrology; soils, groundcovers, and horticultural elements; project and site planning; landscape design, history, and theory; environmental design; applicable law and regulations; and professional responsibilities and standards.

Institutional Research (13.0608): A program of study that prepares an individual to be an institutional researcher at a postsecondary educational institution. Includes instruction in data analysis, data-driven decision-making, data mining, higher education administration and organization, research methods, and statistics.

Mechatronics, Robotics, and Automation Engineering Technology/Technician (15.0407): A program that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in the support of engineers to the design, development, and operational evaluation of autonomous, computer-controlled, electro-mechanical systems. Includes instruction in computer and software engineering, control engineering, electronic and electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and robotics.

Composite Materials Technology/Technician (15.0617): A program of study that prepares individuals to apply basic engineering principles and technical skills in support of engineers and other professionals engaged in the development, manufacture, and use of composite materials in aircraft technology, automotive technology, boats, medical prostheses, and wind turbines. Includes instruction in computer-aided design and drafting, composite materials and processes, composite maintenance, composite manufacturing, composite repair, material science, and mold manufacturing and production.

Linguistics and Computer Science (30.4801): A program that focuses on the relationship between computer and human language and computational techniques applied to natural language. Includes instruction in computer programming, human languages, linguistic analysis, logic, natural language processing, semantics, machine learning, psycholinguistics, software engineering, and syntax.

Developmental and Adolescent Psychology (42.2710): A program that focuses on the scientific study of the unique stages of psychological growth and development of individuals from adolescence to adulthood. Includes instruction in cognitive and perceptual development, emotional development, personality development, the effects of biological maturation on behavior, theories of cognitive growth and related research methods, testing and assessment methods for different age levels, research on child and adolescent behavior therapy, and the psychology of aging.

Geospatial Intelligence (43.0407): A program that prepares individuals to analyze security and intelligence problems using a geographic perspective by relating human actions to cultural, political, economic, social, and physical landscapes. Includes instruction in aerial photography analysis, cartography, geographic information systems (GIS), physical geography, remote sensing, spatial programming, and quantitative methods in geographic research.

Demography and Population Studies (45.0501): A program that focuses on the systematic study of population models and population phenomena, and related problems of social structure and behavior. Includes instruction in population growth, spatial distribution, mortality and fertility factors, migration, dynamic population modeling, population estimation and projection, mathematical and statistical analysis of population data, population policy studies, and applications to problems in economics and government planning.

The full list of designated STEM fields (as of the time of publication) is available here.

If you have any questions, please contact David J. Wilks (585.613.3942), Chelsea N. Latta (716.848.1526), or any member of the Immigration Practice


This Client Alert is a form of attorney advertising. Hodgson Russ LLP provides this information as a service to its clients and other readers for educational purposes only. Nothing in this Client Alert should be construed as, or relied upon, as legal advice or as creating a lawyer-client relationship.

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