University of Tennessee

Haslam MBA Programs Gain STEM Designation

December 15, 2021

A change in the federal instructional classification of certain programs offered by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business is likely to prove beneficial for students. Haslam’s full-time MBA, MS in Supply Chain Management Online, MS in Supply Chain Management Tri-Continent and PhD have all received the STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) designation.

In contrast to other classifications, the STEM designation means that these programs require students to show proficiency in technical disciplines such as statistical modeling, data warehousing and mining, forecasting and/or other technical areas. Why is that important for students?

Simple: STEM-savvy graduates are in high demand. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) 2019-29 employment projections, jobs in STEM fields are expected to grow 8 percent by 2029, compared with 3.7 percent overall job growth. Further, in 2015, the average STEM-job salary was $87,570, nearly twice the national average of non-STEM position salaries ($45,700).

“Prospective employers already are actively seeking graduates of STEM-designated programs, because they know those individuals have been trained in immediately applicable skills and techniques their businesses need to stay competitive,” Tom Bates, Haslam’s director of admissions for graduate business programs, says. “For our students that translates into more job opportunities, faster hiring rates and larger salaries.”

Being STEM-designated also makes these programs more attractive to international college students. International students typically can work for 12 months in the U.S. under the Optional Practical Training (OPT) system. If they graduate from STEM-designated programs, however, they can apply for a 24-month extension to cultivate a deeper understanding of U.S. business culture while earning more money and gaining invaluable experience.

“Our programs’ STEM designation heightens our appeal to international students’ interest in our programs,” Bates said. “Well-qualified students from outside the U.S. enrich our programs because they bring fresh ideas and new perspectives to the school.”

If you have questions about the STEM designation or want more information about the full-time MBA, MS in Supply Chain Management Online, MS in Supply Chain Management Tri-Continent and PhD programs, please contact Tom Bates at or 865-974-5001.


Scott McNutt, business writer/publicist,