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Top STEM MBA Programs: A List and Overview of STEM-OPT Eligible B-Schools 0
Top MBA Programs get STEM-Certified to Attract International Students

U.S. STEM MBA Programs: An Overview

Restrictions on work visas during the 2019-2020 academic year–when the COVID-19 pandemic was at its height–depressed numbers of international MBA applicants. In fact, 48% of U.S. MBA programs reported a decline in international applications for their 2019 entering classes; 23% of U.S. MBA programs reported a significant decline (a 21% or more drop in international applications)! 

Before the pandemic and to alleviate the uncertainty in the visa process, several American MBA programs found a strategic differentiator: STEM certification. Graduates of certified science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) degree programs qualify for STEM OPT (Optional Practical Training), a 24-month extension of a student’s F-1 visa to apply the skills they learned in their STEM degree studies in full-time employment in the U.S.

[List of top STEM OPT U.S. Business Schools >>]

Now, it’s true that applications to business schools have strongly rebounded during the 2020 application season. Sixty-seven percent of U.S. programs reported growth compared to 2019, according to a survey of application trends conducted by the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). The international survey, conducted during the summer of 2020, included 1,085 graduate business programs in 325 business schools worldwide. 

However, the survey showed that international candidates remained far less likely to commit to enrollment than domestic students, and more likely to ask for deferrals. Growth among international business school applicants was significantly lower than for domestic applicants in the U.S.

The GMAC’s survey from 2019 was the first to inquire about a program’s STEM-certification, and found that these programs were more likely to report growth in international applicants. A total of 195 of the 804 U.S. programs responding reported that their programs were STEM-certified (24%). Among them, the most common program types were Master of Data Analytics (28%); Master of Finance (22%); and Master of Information Technology (14%). And while a majority of both STEM-certified (53%) and non-STEM (57%) programs reported declines in total applications during this period, STEM-certified programs fared better among international applicants. In the 2019-2020 academic year, 43% of STEM-certified programs grew their international applications, compared with 26% of non-STEM programs.

Check out the median GMAT scores for the top b-schools >>

Given ongoing concerns over visa status and one’s ability to work in the U.S. after business school, programs that are STEM-certified are sure to be more appealing to this applicant pool.

While some MBA programs – such as Chicago Booth, Wharton, Virginia Darden – now offer specific concentrations that qualify international students for STEM OPT, others – such as Berkeley Haas, Carnegie Mellon Tepper, and Rochester Simon – qualify MBA graduates of all majors in their MBA programs for this extension.

During 2021, MBA programs have seen a rebound in international applicants, and many schools (NYU Stern, Darden, and Yale) are touting this return. Still, they are maintaining their STEM certifications because it will pave the way for their graduates to get jobs and stay in the U.S. long enough to pay off or pay down their loans. Despite its cost, the MBA degree continues to pay robust dividends right off the bat. According to a recent Wall Street Journal article: “At about 98% of universities that offer master’s of business administration programs, graduates typically made more money two years out of school than they had borrowed, a Wall Street Journal analysis of federal student loan data for nearly 600 programs found.”

STEM MBA Programs

Name of MBA ProgramMajors That Are STEM DesignatedMBA Essay Tips
Arizona State CareyAll MBA PlatformsTips
Babson MBA1) Business Analytics and Machine Learning
2) Quantitative Finance
Berkeley HaasAll MajorsTips
Brigham Young MarriottManagement Science and Quantitative MethodsTips
Carnegie Mellon All MajorsTips
Chicago BoothAll MBA programsTips
Columbia Business SchoolMBA and EMBA programsTips
Cornell Johnson1) Two-Year Management Science MBA
2) One-Year Management Science MBA
3) Tech MBA
4) MPS in Management
5) MPS in Management - Accounting Specialization
Dartmouth TuckSTEM trackTips
Duke Fuqua Second Major in Management Science and Technology Management (MSTeM)Tips
Georgetown McDonoughManagement Science majorTips
Harvard Business SchoolManagement Science trackTips
Indiana KelleyAccounting, Business Analytics, Finance, Marketing or Supply Chain and OperationsTips
Lehigh University College of BusinessBusiness Analytics (a concentration within 1-MBA)Tips
Michigan RossSTEM trackTips
MIT SloanMBAnTips
New York University Tech MBA
Two-year full-time MBA
Northwestern KelloggManagement Science
MMM Program for Dual Engineering/MBA Degrees
Notre Dame MendozaMBA/Master of Science in Business Analytics Dual DegreeTips
Pace UniversityMBA in Information SystemsTips
Purdue KrannertMBA-STEMTips
Rice JonesAll MBA ProgramsTips
Rochester SimonAll SpecializationsTips
RutgersSTEM designationTips
Stanford GSB1) All MBA majors
2) MSx
Texas McCombs14 of the 22 concentrations for the full-time MBA programTips
University of California, DavisAll MajorsTips
University of California, IrvineAnalytics in Digital Leadership concentrationTips
University of California, Los AngelesAll SpecializationsTips
University of California, RiversideAll MBA ProgramsTips
University of California, San Diego1) Full-time MBA 
2) FlexEvening 
3) FlexWeekend 
University of Connecticut1) Business Analytics 
2) Digital Marketing Strategy 
3) Financial Analysis and Investments
University of Delaware LernerMajor in Business AnalyticsTips
University of Georgia TerryOnly open to U. of Georgia undergraduates; includes 45 majorsTips
University of North Carolina Kenan-FlaglerAll MBA ProgramsTips
University of North Texas RyanMBA in Business AnalyticsTips
University of Washington FosterManagement ScienceTips
University of Wisconsin - Madison1) Specialization in Operations and Technology Management 
2) Supply Chain Management
USC Marshall Specialization in Management ScienceTips
Vanderbilt OwenFinance ConcentrationTips
Wharton1) Business Analytics
2) Business, Economics & Public Policy (BEPP)
3) Business, Energy, Environment & Sustainability (BEES)
4) Operations, Information & Decisions (OID)
5) Quantitative Finance
6) Statistics

We’re going to do our best to keep this table current. However, please do not rely on this table; confirm the STEM designation yourself to make sure that the MBA programs you apply to really have that designation. And if you find out a school has attained STEM certification and is not on the list, please let us know by emailing

If you would like to learn how to get into top MBA programs that offer STEM OPT eligibility and are a good fit for you, register for a free consultation with me

At Accepted, we’ve helped hundreds of applicants get accepted to top MBA programs and look forward to helping you too! CLICK HERE TO GET STARTED.

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by Jennifer Bloom, accepted admissions consultant

By Jennifer Bloom, admissions consultant at Accepted for 20 years and Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). She is an expert at guiding you to produce application materials that truly differentiate you from the rest of the driven applicant pool. If you would like help with your application, Jennifer can suggest a number of options that work with any budget. Want Jennifer to help you get accepted? Click here to get in touch!

Related Resources:

• Navigate the MBA Maze, a free guide
• M7 MBA Programs: Everything You Need to Know in 2021
• Would You Like to Get Rid of Your Accent in English?, a podcast episode

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