Best STEM designated programs in USA for career growth

MiM Programs are gaining traction in the U.S, as a viable alternative for students with no or lesser years of experience (in most cases, 0-2 years of experience) to learn about business fundamentals at the world’s leading programs. While Europe has primarily been the go-to destination for MiM programs, recently many of the top universities across the U.S. have started offering these programs, notably Duke and Michigan Ross, among others.

In this article, we are going to discuss all about STEM MiM in the USA, eligibility criteria how a STEM-designated program is different from a MiM program, the scope of STEM MiM in the USA, the respective curriculum and top STEM MiM programs offered by US B-Schools, how to build your application for STEM MiM programs, and last but not the least career opportunities regarding STEM MiM program, so stay tuned!  


Typically, the STEM-designated program permits students to stay in the U.S. on F-1 OPT status for a period of 3 (36 months) years post-graduation (if such students are unable to find employment opportunities through the H1B visa), as opposed to non-STEM programs which only permit students to stay for a period of 1 year (12 months) post-graduation. This is a major difference to keep in mind when looking at the different MiM programs in the U.S. Moreover, STEM-MiM programs have different eligibility requirements as well (more details on the same below).


Eligibility for STEM MiM isn’t that different from the basic requirements for MiM courses in the USA. However, the eligibility criteria to pursue a MiM or master’s degree in STEM would require the applicants to at least have a basic level of education in the field of study.  Below is a given list of all the standardized eligibility requirements you need to qualify in order to be able to enroll successfully into a STEM-designated MiM program.


Once you have applied directly at the university website with all supporting documents, the admissions committee will examine your application. Results will be released, and if you get your acceptance letter, you can start the visa formalities.


The Silicon Valley in California, USA is the world’s biggest tech and IT hub. It is regarded as the most prominent technological platform, foundation, & tech center of the entire country. The technological boom in the valley is one of the major factors drawing a huge amount of international students towards STEM courses offered in the USA. The place offers access to large-scale infrastructure, advanced tech resources, and a skilled workforce.

Moreover, international students who are enrolled in STEM-designated programs can even apply for an extra 24 months of optional practical training (OPT), which benefits them in the cost recovery of the MiM work in the US for a year on graduation.  So more and more should target such courses in top colleges to get an added advantage.

  • Science,
  • Technology,
  • Engineering and
  • Mathematics.

STEM integrates all four disciplines into a cohesive learning paradigm based on real-world applications rather than teaching the four of them as separate and discrete subjects.


As mentioned above, not all B-Schools in the US offer esteemed STEM MIM courses. Hence, candidates must check and verify with each university positively and their MIM program personnel on the STEM designation for the programs being offered. The work experience for all the courses mentioned below are around 1-2 years and the average GPA for all the courses is 3.4.

With that said, let us look at some of the top-ranked MiM programs and other business master’s degrees with a STEM designation. 



STEM-designated programs have a significant advantage for students in how they are able to hunt for job opportunities and work until they are able to get an employment-based visa. The OPT period for STEM-designated programs is 36 months, as opposed to a 12-month OPT period for non-STEM-designated programs. This has benefits for applicants who want to work/ intern for some period of time in the U.S. until their employment visa is granted. OPT period is the period that starts post-graduation, whereby if the student is within the permitted OPT period, they are able to get an employment permit to work/ intern in the U.S. whilst they wait for an H1B visa to be granted. Once the OPT period expires and the student is unable to secure an employment visa, the student is not legally permitted to be in the U.S. and has to return to their home country or look for opportunities in other countries. 

Therefore, a higher OPT period ensures that the student is able to spend more time in the U.S. (36 months in the case of a STEM-designated MiM) to work or look for opportunities as compared to a lower OPT period (12 months in the case of a non-STEM designated program). Naturally, STEM MiM programs, therefore, give an opportunity to students to look out for opportunities for a longer period of time (36 months post-graduation) as opposed to non-STEM MiM programs (12 months post-graduation). 

Further, another benefit of the STEM-MiM programs is that they do not require work experience to enter the field, unlike a traditional MBA. Moreover, there are sufficient employment opportunities present in the USA as well. Average salaries may hover around $76,000 for MiM degree holders or INR 56.43 lakhs per year. Candidates are hired not just by corporations but also by the federal government and Army institutions. Available job roles include human resource manager, operations manager, project manager, executive director, director of operations, and human resource director, to name a few. Salaries may even go up to $96,000 or INR 71.29 lakhs for senior positions.


As discussed above, STEM-designated MiM programs offer an opportunity to applicants to benefit from the longer duration of stay post-graduation (due to the increased OPT period) – this gives them access to a wider pool of internships and job opportunities since most employers will likely not hire candidates if there is uncertainty regarding their period of stay in the U.S. 

For instance, in the case of a non-STEM candidate applying for a job position, there are two options: (a) if they are lucky, by the end of the OPT period they will be able to get an employment visa to work in the U.S for a longer duration – however, the chances of this are based on a lottery system for the H1B visa which is highly unpredictable; (b) if the candidate is unlucky in the lottery, then they will have to leave the U.S. upon the expiration of the shorter OPT period. For a STEM-MiM candidates, while they will still leave the U.S. if they are unsuccessful in the lottery for the employment visa, they can work for 3 years after graduation until they are compelled to leave the country. Therefore, STEM-designated MiM programs offer greater certainty and predictability of working in the U.S., at least for a shorter period of time. 

While there are other benefits to enrolling in a STEM-designated program, the benefits afforded through the longer OPT period is the primary one. With the growth of the MiM programs in the U.S., and considering the fact that these programs are targeted at students recently out of undergraduate (and therefore targeting a lot of applicants coming from STEM backgrounds), STEM MiM programs are a great way to get a top-class education at a leading school in the U.S. and increase chances of being hired by a firm based in the U.S. 

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