Optional Practical Training (OPT)

OPT is “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major area of study”.   It provides students with an opportunity to gain employment experience for one year following completion of their program of study.


Types of OPT

Pre-Completion OPT - is work authorization for a student who is enrolled full-time and has not yet completed their program of study.  Students who are eligible to register for the next term may be approved to work for less than 20 hours per week (part-time) when school is in session and more than 20 hours per week (full-time) when school is not in session. 

Post-Completion OPT - is work authorization for a student who has completed her/his program of study.  Graduate students can apply and engage in Post-Completion OPT while they continue to work on their thesis, capstone paper or comprehensive examination.

STEM Extension – is an additional 17-month work authorization for Post-Completion OPT for certain eligible STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics) degree holders.


Who is eligible for OPT?

A student can apply for OPT if:

  • The student is currently in valid F-1 status.
  • The student has been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis for one full academic year.


Who is NOT eligible for OPT?

A student CANNOT apply for OPT if:

  • The student is enrolled in an intensive English-language or certificate program.
  • The student has exceeded 12 months of full-time CPT.
  • The student has already received the benefit of OPT for their current program level.


OPT Information Sessions

To view the presentation from the Spring 2015 Information Sessions click here


Upcoming sessions for Spring 2015 semester are as follows:

1. Thursday, January 22, 2015 from 3:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. in Voyageurs South

2. Friday, January 23, 2015 from 11:00 a.m - 12:00 p.m. in Voyageurs South

3. Tuesday, January 27, 2015 from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. in Voyageurs North

4. Wednesday, January 28, 2015 from 9:30 a.m. - 10:30 a.m. in Voyageurs North


Important Points to Remember

  • Students must allow 5 full business days after submission of a complete application for the Center for International Studies to process their request.
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