The following certificates have been approved for STEM eligibility. This means that international students who earn one of these certificates will be eligible to apply for an additional two years of OPT after the initial one-year OPT period, for a total of three years of possible work authorization. 
Harris certificates that are STEM eligible:

We have also received approval for a STEM extension for our Master of Arts with Certificate in Research Methods (MACRM) degree, and we will be sending students who have been admitted to this program an additional email communication.
It is important to note that while students who earn one of these certificates are eligible for the STEM extension, it is up to the U.S. government to actually approve each person’s application to use the STEM extension. That approval is partially based on how closely aligned your full-time job is with the STEM degree you earned. This is true of all degree programs with the STEM extension and is not within the control of the University of Chicago.

You can find more information on STEM OPT here:

We hope this change will help you in your career and give you additional options after you complete your degree. 
If you have any questions about the certificates other academic questions, please email

*Please note, the Data Analytics is only for students in the MPP program. 

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I apply for a certificate?

The certificate application process for first year students will open in June. Returning students had the opportunity to apply for certificates during the summer and again in the fall.

Can I earn a certificate I did not apply for?

Yes. While we prefer that students apply for the certificates they wish to earn, we know that occasionally a student will decide to pursue a certificate after the application process has closed. If you want to pursue a certificate you did not apply for just complete all of the certificate requirements. We will send a query out shortly before graduation to pick up any graduating students who earned a certificate that they didn’t formally apply for. 

What are my chances of getting into a certificate and when will I know that I am in?

All students who apply for certificates will get accepted into those certificates. We do not have a cap on the number of students allowed to pursue a certificate, but we are limited by class capacity.

If I apply for a certificate is it guaranteed that I will get into the courses that are required for that certificate?

Unfortunately, no. While we give students who are pursuing a certificate priority for course waitlists, we cannot guarantee that you will get a seat in all the certificate courses that you need. It is usually the case that students can get into all the courses that they need, but we recommend prioritizing certificate courses that you need to take in your pre-registration bids.

When will my immigration documents be updated to reflect that I am in a STEM-eligible program?

Right before your last quarter of enrollment. After we verify that you are on-track to earn a certificate we will update your academic record. OIA will then update your immigration documents.

What other Harris certificates or degree programs qualify for the STEM extension?

Degree programs:

Can students in degree programs other than the MPP earn one of these certificates and get the STEM extension?

Yes, students in the MA or MAIDP degree programs could get a STEM extension if they can complete one of these certificates during the regular duration of their degree program. Because of the sequencing of the courses some certificates may not be possible to earn during a one year degree program. Please consult the certificate requirements page and discuss with your academic advisor if you are interested.

Can I extend my graduation date to earn an additional certificate? 

Currently we are not allowed to extend a student’s I20 beyond the end of their program’s anticipated graduation date just to allow them to earn a certificate. Additional information about extension eligibility for I20s is available here

I already graduated with the certificate/degree. Can I apply for the STEM eligibility?

If you have already graduated from the university and have questions regarding this policy, please contact your previous academic advisor.