DHS STEM Designated Degree Program List

Last Updated: Jan. 21, 2022

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced earlier this year that more academic specialties, including communications, human-centered technology design, and data visualization, had been approved for STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training). Higher education institutions are changing their academic programs in order to become more inclusive and alluring to international students. This is happening more than ever.

According to Secretary Mayorkas of the Department of Homeland Security, “DHS is increasing the number and diversity of students who excel in STEM education and contribute to the U.S. economy through STEM education and training opportunities.”

International talent offers the workforce a distinctive set of abilities and knowledge. By adding more academic disciplines to the list of those that qualify as STEM, employers are better able to address the labor shortage they are currently experiencing, and more students will have the chance to study in the United States and gain valuable work experience.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) STEM Designated Degree Program List is a complete list of fields of study that DHS considers to be science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields of study for purposes of the 24-month STEM optional practical training extension described at 8 CFR 214.2(f). Under 8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)(ii)(C)(2), a STEM field of study is one “included in the Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs taxonomy within the two-digit series containing engineering, biological sciences, mathematics, and physical sciences, or a related field. In general, related fields will include fields involving research, innovation, or development of new technologies using engineering, mathematics, computer science, or natural sciences (including physical, biological, and agricultural sciences).”

Accordingly, this list designates the following four primary CIP series at the 2-digit CIP code level: Engineering (14), Biological and Biomedical Sciences (26), Mathematics and Statistics (27) and Physical Sciences (40). Any new additions to those areas will automatically be included on this STEM Designated Degree Program List.

This list also includes CIPs from the following 18 related CIP series at the 6-digit CIP code level: Agricultural/Animal/Plant/Veterinary Science and Related Fields (01); Natural Resources and Conservation (03); Architecture and Related Services (04); Communication, Journalism and Related Programs (09); Communications Technologies/Technicians and Support Services (10); Computer and Information Sciences and Support Services (11); Education (13); Engineering/Engineering-Related Technologies/Technicians 15); Military Science, Leadership and Operational Art (28); Military Technologies and Applied Sciences (29); Multi/Interdisciplinary Studies (30); Science Technologies/Technicians (41); Psychology (42); Homeland Security, Law Enforcement, Firefighting and Related Protective Services (43); Social Sciences (45); Transportation and Materials Moving (49); Health Professions and Related Programs (51); and Business, Management, Marketing and Related Support Services (52).