Employment and Practical Training

Generally speaking, international students are not permitted to work.  However, there are some exceptions to this rule.


On-Campus Employment


  • F-1 students are permitted to work on campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and up to 40 hours per week during school breaks. 
  • F-1 students are not eligible for work-study positions. 
  • F-1 students are eligible for student hourly positions.

How to Find a Job:  If you want an on-campus job, it is your responsibility to find a job. 

Information for Employers: If your potential employer has questions, refer them to the international student advisor and share these resources with them:


Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

CPT is any kind of work, internship, cooperative education (co-op), apprenticeship, or practicum that is required for your degree.  CPT is only available to F-1 students when it is an integral part of an established curriculum, such as a required internship or co-op class.


  • You must maintain F-1 status for one academic year before you are eligible for CPT. 
  • While on CPT, you may work as many hours per week as is required for your program.
  • While on CPT,  you must still maintain your F-1 status and be enrolled full-time in Fall and Spring semesters. 
  • If you complete 12 months of full-time CPT, you become ineligible for OPT.

If your program requires CPT, you must request CPT authorization from your advisor with a CPT Authorization Request.


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is an opportunity for you as an F-1 student to work in an area that is directly related to your major area of study.  Unlike CPT, OPT is not required for your degree - it is optional.  OPT requires an application and adjudication by USCIS.

OPT Before Graduation: Doing OPT before you graduate is called Pre-Completion OPT.  Here are some guidelines for pre-completion OPT:

  • You may work up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and up to 40 hours per week during school breaks. 
  • You are only allowed a total of 12 months of OPT (pre-completion or post-completion) at each educational level, so most students decide to save their OPT time for after they graduate.

OPT After Graduation: Doing OPT after you graduate is called Post-Completion OPT.  Post-completion OPT allows you to work full-time for up to 12 months after you graduate. 

17-month STEM Extension: Students at the associate's level are not eligible for the 17-month STEM extension.

Guidelines and Application Process: If you are interested in OPT, contact the international student advisor and read through the following two handouts thoroughly:

When you are ready to apply for OPT, you must request OPT recommendation from your advisor with an OPT Recommendation Request.