CIP Codes and OPT extension for STEM students (UPDATED 10/21/16)-Office of International Education - Carnegie Mellon University

Thursday, June 12, 2008

CIP Codes and OPT extension for STEM students (UPDATED 10/21/16)

CIP Codes and 24-month STEM OPT Extension (UPDATED 10/21/16)

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) published an interim final regulation on March 11, 2016 which significantly changed the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) extension of Optional Practical Training (OPT) for F-1 students.

Overview of SEVP selected CIP Codes

The 12-month limit on F-1 Optional Practical Training (OPT) may be extended by 24 months (for a total of 36 months) for certain STEM degree holders in certain fields.  DHS has designated which STEM degrees qualify based on individual CIP (Classification of Instructional Programs) codes occurring within CIP family/related fields. 

Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP 2010)

The federal government publishes the CIP code list (updated for 2010): Classification of Instructional Programs and appropriate codes are assigned to each major by institutions. 

CMU STEM - Eligible Codes

Every Carnegie Mellon major has specific CIP code.  CIP codes are used for multiple reporting purposes including electronic communication with the SEVIS database for F-1 students. Students may not select their own CIP codes; codes are pre-assigned to each major at CMU.  

Please note the Office of International Education (OIE) is not responsible for the assignment of CIP codes.

At Carnegie Mellon, some colleges have numerous majors that will allow F-1 students to benefit from the new 24-month STEM OPT extension while some colleges have only one or two majors, and some colleges have none.

To determine if your CMU major is STEM eligible, you should start by finding your CIP code.  The CIP code is printed in the "Program of Study" box on page one of your I-20 under "Major 1".  The code is 6 digits long (xx.xxxx).  Once you find your code, you can consult the entire list of individual eligible CIP codes for the STEM extension available on the SEVP website.

NOTE:  The STEM eligible code does not guarantee an approved STEM OPT extension.  A student must meet all criteria of the STEM extension.  For example, te employer must be enrolled in the E-Verify system and must be E-Verify for STEM purposes and must complete the I-983 training plan for the student.  More information can be found on the OIE website.

Last updated:  October 21, 2016