Employment Options

Off-Campus Employment Options for F-1 Students

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a temporary authorization for practical training directly related to your major field of study, which is listed on your Form I-20. You can apply for CPT during the regular academic year and/or during the summer vacation.

To be eligible for CPT, you must have completed at least one academic year (two semesters) in a non-immigrant visa category in the United States. 

Note: CPT is not to be used for the primary purpose of employment but rather a training opportunity related to the student's academic major. 

Steps Before CPT Authorization

Step 1: Discuss internship training opportunities with your academic advisor

  • Training relates directly to the student’s major area of study.
  • Training is an integral part of the school’s established curriculum.

Step 2: Find and secure an internship training opportunity. See the sample CPT offer letter in the link below. 

Step 3. Notify the Office of International Programs and Services of your intention to apply for CPT.

Step 4: Proceed to formally request for CPT authorization from the International Programs and Services (IPS) office. To apply for CPT, please log into your MyGlobalMU portal to access all forms. 

Step 5: Receive an updated Form I-20 with CPT authorization from a DSO. 

Note: Once you have completed the CPT application in your MyGlobalMU portal, your academic or internship advisor will be notified to verify and recommend you for CPT. You must wait until you have received your updated Form I-20 to start internship training.

Please allow 3-5 business days for application review and processing. 

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) provides F-1 students with an opportunity for hands-on work experience (work authorization) related to the academic field of study. OPT authorization that begins after completion of your academic program is called “post-completion” OPT. OPT used while you are still enrolled in your course of study is called "pre-completion" OPT. Students engaged in pre-completion OPT during the academic year must maintain full-time enrollment in classes. Pre-completion OPT affects your eligibility for Optional Practical Training (OPT).

OPT Deadlines:

  1. You can apply for Post-Completion OPT within 90 days of your program end date or within 60 days after your program end date. That means you have a window of 150 days to submit your OPT application to USCIS.
  2. After you get the Form I-20 recommending OPT from a DSO, you must submit your OPT application to USCIS no later than 30 days after the OPT I-20 issuance.

To apply for OPT, please log into your MyGlobalMU portal to access all OPT-related forms.

If you have any questions about the OPT application process, please reach out to the DSO via international.students@millersville.edu.

Applying for the STEM OPT Extension instructions

To be eligible for STEM OPT Extension, students must:

  1. Be working for an E-Verified employer (check to see if your employer is E-verified here, or ask your employer directly) who is willing to complete the I-983 Training Plan with you.  The employer must be paying you, though the work can be part-time (at least 20 hours per week). Instructions to complete the Form I-983 can be found here.
  2. Have a major on their Form I-20 that is eligible for the STEM Extension See DHS STEM Designated Program List. Note: Students who have previously completed a STEM-eligible degree in the US can also apply for STEM OPT, even if the most recently completed degree is not STEM-eligible

For more information regarding STEM OPT Eligibility, visit the Homeland Security’s website.

To apply for STEM OPT, please log into your MyGlobalMU portal to access all STEM OPT-related forms.

Deadlines to Apply for STEM OPT:

  • Your OPT application must be received by USCIS no earlier than 90 days prior to the end of your OPT period, otherwise it will be denied.
  • Your OPT application must be received by USCIS before your current OPT end date, or it will be denied.
  • Your STEM OPT recommendation on your I-20 must not be older than 60 days at the time of submission, or it will be denied by USCIS.

Process to request for your STEM OPT I-20

  1. Login to your MyGlobalMU portal
  2. Click on "F-1 Practical Training" in the top right corner of the page
  3. Choose the relevant application – STEM OPT Extension
  4. Read the directions and complete all sections of the application
  5. Please make sure that you have uploaded all the required documents before you click on the submit button.
  6. ISSS unit staff will review your application and contact you within 5-7 business days

Please remember that the I-20 cannot be more than 60 days old when received by USCIS with your application, so please do not request the new I-20 until you are ready to apply.  Your application will be denied if your I-20 is too old when received by USCIS.

Severe Economic Hardship

If you are suffering a severe economic hardship due to unforeseen changes in your financial circumstances, you may apply to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for authorization to work off-campus. The employment authorization is granted by USCIS in increments of one year at a time. The authorization allows you to work for any employer up to 20 hours per week while you are registered full-time. It also allows you to work more than 20 hours per week during summer and semester breaks. This employment does not affect your Optional Practical Training (OPT) eligibility.

Employment Options for J-1 Students

Academic Training

Academic Training is work, training or experience related to a J-1 Student’s major field of study. The work, training or experience may be paid or unpaid. The Office of International Programs and Services” authorizes Academic Training. 

To be eligible for Academic Training, you must document that you:

  • Are currently in valid J-1 student status
  • Are in good academic standing
  • Have been offered a job or experience that is directly related to your major field of study

You can participate in Academic Training during any of the situations below if you have a job offer and your Academic Training has been authorized.

  • During the semester
  • During winter break or summer vacation
  • After the completion of all required course work for the degree
  • While working on one’s thesis or equivalent
  • After the completion of one’s degree program (Note: The Academic Training must start no later than 30 days after the completion of your course of study.)