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First off, the basics. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Courses under these streams are decided by the Department of Homeland Security under the federal government. The US Department of Labour estimates 2.5 million job openings in STEM-related fields in 2018-19 (Smith, 2017). Organizations are increasingly turning to STEM fields for problem-solving and innovation.

STEM MBA courses have seen a surge in international applicants in recent years, owing to the fact that these offer better and faster ROIs (read jobs). Another reason is that STEM MBA allow you to apply for a 24-month extension to the regular 12-month OPT period. In effect, you can stay and work in the US on your student visa for up to 3 years after graduating.


Technically speaking, MBA courses don’t come under STEM. However, given their demand, especially among international applicants, some universities now offer MBA programs that are quant-heavy and thus, STEM-certified. Here’s a list of notable MBA programs that are STEM-designated:

  • MBA (any specialization) at Simon Business School, University of Rochester
  • MBA (any specialization) at Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
  • MBA in Business Analytics at Tippie College of Business, University of Iowa
  • MBA in Business Analytics at MIT Sloan
  • MBA with specializations of Business Analytics, Digital Marketing Strategy and Financial Analysis and Investments at University of Connecticut
  • MBA in Logistics and Supply Chain Management at Wisconsin School of Business
  • MBA in Operations and Technology Management at Wisconsin School of Business
  • MBA/MS Dual degree program at Lerner College, University of Delaware
  • MBA in Information Systems at Lubin School of Business, Pace University

The list above is purely for reference purpose. Check for STEM-designation of the program that you are interested in on the website of the B-school that you wish to apply to.

STEM-designation is not a course quality indicator. It just gives you the opportunity for an OPT-period extension so that you can work your way towards getting an H1-B visa. If you score high on GRE/GMAT, have a great profile, and make it to a top B-school, chances are that you would find an employer willing to sponsor your H1-B visa soon after graduation, thus making STEM-designation unnecessary. In addition to these MBA programs, there are plenty of STEM-designated MS programs offered by B-schools. Owing to their interdisciplinary nature, these courses are in high demand in the job market all over the world.


  • Smith, L. (2017, December 20). COMMITTEE ON SCIENCE, SPACE AND TECHNOLOGY.

Interested in knowing more? Check out these informative reads about STEM:

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