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Why a Stevens OPT eligible, STEM-focused master’s degree is highly sought-after globally

International students from China, India, Colombia, Nigeria and a few other countries all agree that one of the main reasons why they study at Stevens Institute of Technology is to gain valuable post-graduation work experience through the Optional Practical Training (OPT).

With two of its three Academic schools offering graduate programs that are OPT STEM eligible plus strong partnerships with industry and government, a master’s degree at Stevens is a valuable commodity. “Stevens graduates with significant work experience from a U.S. company often present themselves with a competitive advantage when finally going back to their home countries,” says Brent Schmoker, EduCo’s Director of Recruitment for USA. “Some students even find themselves offered more permanent professional opportunities and work sponsorships. This gives them an option to stay in the country longer and earn a higher salary than what they would get back home,” adds Brent.

The OPT is an off-campus work authorisation allowing F-1 visa holders to gain relevant work experience in the U.S. during or after their studies. Students must be able to meet certain eligibility requirements such as:

  • Full-time study for at least one year
  • Intended employment must be relevant to the student’s major. A job offer is not needed to apply for OPT
  • Students can apply for OPT before or after completion of studies. For pre-completion of studies application, Stevens suggests that students should only do so when they are “as sure as possible of a job”
  • For post-completion OPT, students can lodge the application as early as 90 days before they complete their program of study and not later than 60 days after
  • Students who have used 12 months of the Curricular Practical Training (CPT) are not eligible to apply for the OPT
  • Graduate students must have a GPA of at least 3.0 if applying for a pre-completion OPT.

Stevens’ Career Centre, awarded #11 Best Career Placement by the Princeton Review in 2020, partners with many highly regarded companies and hosts three on-campus Career Fairs each year. This year, all Career Fairs have been moved online and two of the three virtual fairs focuses on connecting current students with internship opportunities. On-campus recruiting where employers can set their own recruitment dates are also a regular feature at the Career Centre.

Stevens’ recognition as a top-ranked institution in the US, its reputation for producing the finest engineering, science and business talent and the Career Centre’s ability in preparing students and helping them access opportunities have all contributed to successful Stevens graduates. Its global reputation also means that many graduate students come from all parts of the world. The nationality mix provides an exciting diversity to its compact, close-knit graduate community. Yet another reason why Stevens Institute of Technology is one of the most sought-after institutions to complete a master’s degree.

Find a Stevens graduate program here.