UMD AREC Graduate Program Officially Recognized as a STEM Program

Maryland Higher Education Committee gives final approval for Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code change

July 16, 2020 Katherine Faulkner

Professor Loretta M. Lynch, chair of the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics (AREC) at the University of Maryland (UMD), is pleased to announce that the graduate degrees conferred by the department are now officially recognized as Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) higher education degrees. The department’s undergraduate degree program has long been recognized as a Bachelor of Science degree.

“The new CIP code designation builds on our strength in studying agricultural economics to include our other specialties in environmental, developmental, and resource economics,” said Lynch. 

“But most importantly,  Econometrics and Quantitative Economics better represents our program’s quantitative nature.  Our graduate courses systematically use mathematics and quantitative analysis to study economic phenomena and problems. The methods include analytical tools such as economic statistics, optimization theory, cost/benefit analysis, price theory, economic modeling, and economic evaluation.”

This seemingly mundane change has far-reaching implications that stretch beyond the University of Maryland to the state government’s Maryland Higher Education Commission and on to the federal government’s Department of Education and the Department of Homeland Security. 

Perhaps the most notable impact of the change is that UMD AREC international students are now eligible for the 24-month STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) extension, instead of the 12-month extension. 

"Being eligible for twice the OPT extension time is a great opportunity to gain more first-hand research experience outside the university. This will give international students and recent graduates an advantage in launching their careers, be it within academia or otherwise," according to AREC graduate student representative Aldo Gutiérrez Mendieta.

The trend in agricultural and resource economics programs at both our peer and aspirational institutions has been to move toward this more inclusive CIP code designation. Graduate programs at Yale University, MIT, UC-Berkeley, University of Wisconsin, and Pomona College and others are listed under the 45.0603 CIP designation.

The Department would like to thank the students, staff, and faculty, as well as others at the University who gave their time to help make this possible, including: 

The Office of the President
The Office of the Provost
The Office of Enrollment Management
The Division of Information Technology
The Office of Institutional Research, Planning & Assessment
The Office of the Registrar
The Graduate School
The Office of International Student & Scholar Services
The College of Agriculture and Natural Resources

Learn More about UMD and the OPT Program

Learn More About CIP Codes