F-1 Student Status Requirement
Students must have been in F-1 student status for at least one academic year before they can apply for CPT and must have properly maintained F-1 status each semester. The only exception to this rule applies to those students who are in degree programs that require an internship/practicum hours to fulfill degree requirements, such as student teaching or field work.
Hours of Employment
Total hours worked in any semester for the combined TOTAL of on- and off-campus work cannot exceed 20 hours per week, including graduate assistantships. During semester breaks and summer working hours can be full time.
Curricular Practical Training
(CPT) is work authorization that allows F-1 international students to participate in paid or unpaid off-campus academic internships during their degree program. The purpose of CPT is academic, not just for employment purposes, and the internship must be considered an integral part of a student’s degree program. Students must have a specific job/internship offer letter to apply. In most cases, students earn 1 credit – which is not counted towards your total credits mandatory for your degree.
If the internship is an unpaid or volunteer position, CPT is not required but students CANNOT accept any kind of compensation for work performed.
OPT: Initial 12-Month
Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a benefit given to F-1 students who are completing a bachelor’s or graduate degree in the United States. Its purpose is to provide an opportunity to gain employment experience in a student’s field of study. OPT is adjudicated (approved) by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
To apply for 12-month OPT, please come into the Global Education Office for further information and to get the application.
OPT STEM 24-Month Extension
STEM OPT is an extension of the 12-month OPT for those students with a degree in a designated science, technology, engineering or math-related discipline. You can only apply for the STEM OPT if you are in a valid OPT post-completion period.
You must be ‘in status’ with your F-1 visa and be engaged in post-completion OPT. You must also have a job or a job offer from an employer who is participating in E-verify. If the company is not in E-verify, you cannot apply for the STEM extension.
You need to have completed your STEM-eligible degree from a US-accredited institution with SEVP certification within the last 10 years and have not already utilized this degree to apply for the OPT STEM extension. Or, you are in a period of post-completion OPT and engaged in a STEM-eligible Master’s or Ph.D. program, completed all required coursework, and have only a thesis or dissertation to complete.
You also need to be in an active period of post-completion OPT at the time of applying for the OPT STEM extension.
Your job needs to be paid, not volunteer. You cannot be self-employed.
International Students and Faculty Services in the Global Education Office (GEO) supports international students and faculty by providing a caring environment of advocacy, assistance with visas, and cultural programming to enable them to achieve their educational goals and realize their potential as leaders.