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O’Brien Center for Career Development

Info for International Students

On-Campus Employment

Students may work on-campus without applying to the USCIS for work authorization. Job listings for on-campus positions can be found through Advantage which is operated by the O’Brien Center for Career Development and located on the 2nd floor of the Sakowich Campus Center.  Students can only work a maximum of 20 hours per week while school is in session but up to 40 hours per week during any vacation periods.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Students may receive off-campus work permission if it is integral to his or her academic program. CPT allows students to participate in an internship, practicum or cooperative education program. CPT must be required or, if not required, students must receive course credit. CPT is employer specific and must be done before students graduate.

CPT Eligibility

Students must have been enrolled full-time and in good academic standing for one academic year.  Graduate students whose degree requires immediate participation in CPT may apply upon arriving in the U.S.

CPT Timing

CPT may be either full-time or part-time (less than 20 hours per week); if a student completes 12 months or more of full-time CPT, he/she is ineligible for OPT, however part-time CPT will not prohibit students from engaging in OPT.

CPT Procedure
  • Submit a job offer letter from your new employer which provides the name and location of the company, a job description, states the beginning and ending dates of your proposed employment, and the number of hours per week.
  • Submit the above documents to the International Student Advisor along with your I-20.


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is optional for any student who meets the eligibility requirements, and students do not need to earn credit. OPT is not employer specific and may be done before or after you graduate. Students are eligible for up to 12 months of full-time employment after they have completed all of their coursework. Employment must be directly related to student’s major field of study. No extensions are possible beyond 12 months except for graduates of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs. List of eligible STEM programs:

OPT Eligibility

Students must have been in F-1 student status in the United States for at least one academic year (three terms).

 OPT Procedure
  • Apply for work authorization by electronically filing a Form I-765, “Application for Employment Authorization,” with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and paying a filing fee ($380).
  • Students must work with a Designated School Official (DSO) in the Office of International Programs to apply for OPT; paperwork must be submitted to USCIS no more than 90 days before academic program end date. Start date must be no more than 60 days after academic program end date.
  • Students may be unemployed for no more than 90 days of the 12 months under OPT.


You should not assume that you are automatically eligible to work in the United States. Unauthorized employment is one of the most serious violations of F-1/J-1 student status. Any unlawful employment - even for one day - even if you did not know it was illegal - poses a serious threat to a student’s ability to remain in or return to the United States. Students should speak with the Office of International Programs before accepting any employment. 


Office of International Programs and Education

Carol Leibovitz | International Programs and Education Coordinator
Sakowich Campus Center, 3rd Floor
Carol will assist you with the CPT and OPT application process

O’Brien Center for Career Development

Sakowich Campus Center, 2nd Floor
Make an appointment to meet individually through Advantage or by calling 978-837-5480 

Advantage : Start here to find internship and job opportunities both on and off campus.

Interview Stream: Practice interviewing skills online at your convenience with this mock interview program and schedule an appointment with your career advisor to review.

Going Global: Use Going Global’s country and city guides for the US and overseas, job and internship listings, H-1B employers, and employer directory featuring 400,000+companies in many countries including the U.S.

My Visa Jobs: This site allows you to learn which employers have utilized H-1B visas for a three year period and also provides other excellent resources.

Dream Bridge Partners: Utilize the blog, videos and library resources.