GCA Offers STEM OPT-Approved Degree Programs

STEM OPT - architecture, construction science, interior design, environmental design, landscape architecture, regional and city planning, urban design

The [new] program codes allow international students to be eligible for a 24-month extension period after their graduation to work in the U.S. while still maintaining their F-1 student visa status. Thank you GCA!

Tayana Ghosh, Architecture Graduate Student

In May 2019, a number of Gibbs College of Architecture (GCA) programs received science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM)-related designations under the U.S. Department of Education’s Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code system. This change in GCA degree codes benefits international students who wish to work in the U.S. following graduation. In September 2019, an additional program, the Master of Science in Architecture, was also designated as a STEM degree program.

Previously, international students on F-1 visas were allowed one year of optional practical training (OPT) post-graduation. Now, students who have graduated from a STEM-related field have the option to extend their OPT an additional 24 months, allowing them to work in the U.S. for three years through the OPT STEM Extension.

The GCA CIP code changes apply to current and future students studying in one of the programs listed below on or after the approval date (fig. 1)* and cannot be applied retroactively to previous graduates. Information about the 24 month OPT extension can be found through OU’s Office of International Student Services (http://www.ou.edu/cis/iss/jobs) and at the Dept. of Homeland Security (https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/stem-opt-extension-overview). Please confirm with these offices to ensure that your program of study qualifies.

What is a CIP code? CIP codes help the U.S. federal government track enrollment trends in academic areas within colleges and universities across the country.

Fig. 1. GCA programs with STEM-eligible CIP codes (approved 5/2019 unless otherwise noted)
Bachelor of Architecture, B044
Master of Architecture, B046
Master of Architecture, B047
Master of Science of Architecture, M044 (approved 9/2019)
Master of Interior Design, M586
Bachelor of Science in Environmental Design, B385
Master of Construction Science, M253
Master of Construction Science, M254
Master of Landscape Architecture, M620
Master of Regional and City Planning, M818
Master of Urban Design, M865
Ph.D in Planning, Design, and Construction, D785
Certificate in Resilient Planning, Design, and Construction, G776