The University of New Haven is at the forefront of creating STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) designated programs that are designed to instill in our students the technical expertise that employers are looking for in their future hires.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security created STEM-designated programs to help employers address the shortage of qualified workers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math. STEM-designated programs are equipping students with the skill sets that are needed to fill the 3.5 million STEM jobs that experts estimate will be available by 2025.
In addition, STEM-designated educational programs may enable international graduates to remain in the United States for an additional 24 months after graduation to receive training through work experience.
What is STEM-designated?
STEM is an acronym that stands for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. To earn the STEM designation from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security a program must feature at least 50 percent of its coursework in the fields of science, technology, engineering, or math.
What is OPT?
OPT stands for optional practical training and is a form of work authorization that, upon successful completion of their degree, allows an international student to remain in the United States to work in a field related to their degree of study for up to 12 months.
How does STEM designation affect the OPT process?
International students who complete a STEM-designated degree may be eligible to apply for the STEM extension, which is an additional 24 months of work authorization. If a student successfully applies and is approved for post-OPT and then the OPT STEM extension, they may be granted up to 36 months of practical training in total. Eligibility for the STEM extension must meet government regulations.
What types of jobs qualify for STEM OPT extension?
For the standard, post-completion OPT, you need to be working at least 20 hours a week, which is considered full-time. The position can be paid or unpaid and must be related to your field of study.
For the STEM OPT extension, however, you must be a paid, full-time employee. There are different employer obligations while a student is on STEM OPT. Please see here for more information.
How do international students apply for OPT and the STEM OPT extension?
International students who are accepted to attend the University of New Haven will work with University Immigration Services (UIS) throughout their time at the University, including application for OPT. Current students and alumni can find out more about the OPT process here.