Feds grant STEM status to COM grad programs

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International students have more options to continue work in the United States with two additional graduate programs at Boston University’s College of Communication eligible for the STEM OPT program this spring semester, following a change in federal policy.

Students with the F-1 status who are earning or want to earn an MS in Media Science and MS in Media Science: Marketing Communication Research may apply for a 24-month extension on top of the 12-month optional practice training with the STEM Optional Practical Training program, as designated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Those two programs add onto two existing eligible graduate programs COM offers: MA in Emerging Media Studies and MS in Media Ventures.

“We’re thrilled that international students in F-1 student status may be able to apply for a 24-month extension of their 12-month [OPT] employment authorization,” says Laurie Nichols, assistant dean of graduate affairs in COM. 

Students can then work for 36 months with these COM degrees in the United States.

“This change provides a huge benefit for COM international students in these four graduate programs and the experiences the college has to offer for their professional lives,” Nichols says.

Twenty-two new fields of study were added to the STEM OPT program in 2022.

“BU was able to capitalize on this change, and thanks to significant work by BU’s Office of General Counsel, ISSO, Office of the Provost, COM administration, we’re able to make this change,” Nichols adds.

The now-eligible programs went through a course name and curriculum change with BU’s audit and rework of the course coding.More information about STEM OPT eligibility is available from the BU International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO).