STEM Designation Granted for SMU Cox Master of Science in Finance

MSF Students Will be Eligible to Apply for STEM OPT Extension

Dallas, Texas (SMU), USA, Dec. 13, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Beginning in the fall semester of 2018, the SMU Cox Master of Science in Finance degree (MSF) will be STEM-designated. The Board of Trustees of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, at its December meeting, approved changes to the MS in Finance program curriculum and the request to change the classification of instructional programs (CIP) code. Based on these changes, the SMU Cox MSF program now falls under fields of study considered to be science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The government of the United States considers expertise in these fields an important driver of innovation and job creation. According to the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the country is currently facing a shortage of qualified candidates for STEM jobs. As a result, international students completing STEM-designated programs in the U.S. are encouraged to stay after graduation and contribute their knowledge and skill while gaining work experience related to their field of study.

“The new STEM designation is a clear signal to potential employers of the strong quantitative content of the Cox MSF program,” said Mukunthan Santhanakrishnan, director of the SMU Cox Master of Science in Finance Program. “Furthermore, this makes it easier for international students on student visas to get additional years of work experience in the U.S., making them more well-rounded and potentiallly more valuable employees when they return to their home countries. The net result is that our program will be attractive to prospective students (both domestic and international).”

In order to qualify for the STEM designation, Santhanakrishnan and Cox finance department faculty members worked to bring the MSF curriculum more in line with STEM requirements. The MSF curriculum, which has been taught since 2012, included elements of financial mathematics, but STEM content has now been strengthened with additional math-focused classes and statistics content to better prepare students for careers in the finance profession. The SMU Education Programs Committee and the University provost approved the STEM designation under the financial mathematics category, and the Board of Trustees made it official.

“The STEM designation helps signal the quantitative rigor of the program to the market,” said SMU Cox Distinguished Chair in Finance James Linck. “It will help us recruit more high-quality students from diverse backgrounds, and will be attractive to potential employers, improving our students’ placement prospects.”

International student Jason Panxing Qiao, who plans a career in the financial services industry, completed his BBA with a finance major and a math minor from St. Louis University in May 2017. He will begin pursuing his MSF degree at SMU Cox in Dallas in the fall of 2018. The timing of the new STEM designation is ideal for soon-to-be SMU Cox students like Qiao.

“When I heard the news, it confirmed my feeling that I was making the right business school choice for my graduate work in finance. I’m pleased to have been accepted into the SMU Cox MSF program and I look forward to starting classes in fall 2018.”

International students who begin or continue the SMU Cox MSF program this coming August will be eligible to apply for the STEM OPT Extension through the Department of Homeland Security. This extension allows them to work in the U.S. for an additional 24 months. OPT stands for Optional Practical Training. The standard OPT period is 12 months, which means the STEM extension brings the total length of OPT time such students may be granted to 36 months.

Prospective students interested in applying for the SMU Cox Master of Science in Finance degree program can learn more at www.smu.edu/cox/msdegrees. The Cox School offers scholarships to deserving candidates who are evaluated based on their undergraduate academic background and GMAT scores.

Additional information about the STEM OPT Extension can be found at https://studyinthestates.dhs.gov/eligible-cip-codes-for-the-stem-opt-extension.

About SMU Cox
The SMU Cox School of Business (www.smu.edu/cox), was originally established in 1920 on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and was named in honor of benefactor Edwin L. Cox in 1978. SMU Cox is a nationally and internationally ranked business school with undergraduate (BBA) majors in accounting, finance, financial consulting, general business, management, marketing, real estate finance and concentrations in energy management, entrepreneurship, real estate finance and risk management and insurance. The Cox School offers four Master of Business Administration programs including the Executive MBA (EMBA) and Full-Time MBA, Fast Track MBA, and Professional MBA (PMBA), with concentrations in accounting, finance, general business, information technology and operations management, management, marketing, real estate and strategy and entrepreneurship. The school also offers the JD/MBA with Dedman School of Law; MA/MBA with Meadows School of the Arts; Specialized Master of Science (MS) programs in Accounting, Business Analytics (Full and Part-Time), Finance, and Management; Sport Management and Health Promotion Management with Simmons School of Education and Human Development; and Engineering/MBA and MS in Engineering Entrepreneurship with the Lyle School of Engineering. For professionals not seeking a degree, SMU Cox Executive Education and multiple certificate programs cover a broad range of disciplines. The Cox School of Business maintains an active alumni network globally.

Attachments:
A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/db2d7896-5089-41a8-8b42-1c0f63e798e2

Anna Martinez
SMU Cox School of Business 
214-768-4474
annam@cox.smu.edu
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