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Why classifying Economics as a STEM subject will let you work in the US longer

Currently, Cornell's economics major, recognised as a "general" economics education, only lets international graduates work for one year in the country after graduating. Source: Shutterstock

How your university’s economics major is categorised by the US federal government matters to international students. Classify it as non-STEM and you’re stuck with a one-year limit to how long you can work in the US after graduation.

Doing the opposite, however, can mean an extra two-years of work authorisation in the US. It can be a major boon to international students, something that Cornell University pursued last week at its Student Assembly.

The Ivy League’s Assembly unanimously voted for the recertifying of their economics major as a STEM-based programme, which according to federal guidelines will give international students two extra years of US employment.

According to student newspaper The Cornell Daily Sunthe recertification as “Econometrics and Quantitative Economics”, and the additional two-year work extension, will allow international economics graduates to apply for a total of three-years work authorisation in the US.

Currently, its economics major, recognised as a “general” economics education, only lets international graduates work for one year in the country after graduating.

The Student Assembly resolution states that this “conveys enormous benefit upon the employment prospects of international students, including additional opportunities to apply for H1-B visas, increased employability and extended professional training”.

Other Ivy League institutions such as Princeton, MIT and Yale, have made similar recertifications. The University of Pennsylvania is also mulling a similar move.

While the benefit will largely fall on the current 50 economics major from abroad, Christopher Schott, the assembly’s international student liaison at large and resolution sponsor, said the benefit will extend to the entire international student community as well.

economics

Currently, the economics major only lets international graduates work for a year in the country after graduating. Source: Shutterstock

“Limiting opportunities for even just one among us is paramount to unequal treatment for the entire international student community and the Cornell student community at large,” Schott said.

The resolution may also help students push “to certify other STEM majors,” Schott added.

The resolution has the faculty’s support too. Professor Charlie Van Loan, the faculty’s dean wrote the move would be a “nice idea” as cited in the resolution.

Speaking to The Sun, Professor Lawrence Blume, chair of the economics department, said the department “will pursue certification” absent any significant barriers.

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