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The Ivy Coach Daily

December 15, 2020

UPenn Designates Economics a STEM Field

The University of Pennsylvania has become the latest — and final — Ivy League institution to classify economics as a STEM field.

The University of Pennsylvania has become the last of the Ivy League institutions to classify economics as a STEM major. And if you’re wondering why the classification of economics as a STEM field matters, well, it all comes down to visas. That’s right. Visas. You see, most international student visas are valid for one year after a student completes their students (be it undergraduate or graduate studies). However, for those international students in STEM fields, they can become eligible to stay for an additional two year work extension. It’s known as the Optional Practical Training Extension for STEM Students (STEM OPT). So for international undergraduates at UPenn who choose to major in economics, which is one of the most popular selections from the 89 major choices, this is indeed welcome news.

As Pia Singh reports for The Daily Pennsylvanian in a piece entitled “Penn to reclassify economics as STEM major, easing path to visas for international students,” “Starting during the spring semester, the economics department will classify the major under a new STEM federal Classification of Instructional Programs code, which is used to classify academic disciplines, according to an email sent on Thursday from Economics Department Undergraduate Chair Francis Diebold…The economics major in the School of Arts and Sciences will join the mathematical economics major, as well as the Wharton School’s Business Economics and Public Policy and Behavioral Economics concentrations in its new recognition as a STEM program. Penn is the last in the Ivy League to redesignate its economics major as a STEM program, as many of its peer universities — such as Yale University and Cornell University — made the switch in recent years. The change become more popular following the Department of Homeland Security’s inclusion of “Econometrics and Quantitative Economics” in the list of STEM-designated degree programs in 2012.”

What do our readers think of the reclassification of economics as a STEM field at UPenn? Is UPenn trying to game the system to help its international students? Why do you think UPenn was the last Ivy League to designate economics a STEM field? Let us know your thoughts by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you!

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