Employment Options

In This Section

International students are bound by the general restriction on employment stated by U.S. federal regulation 8 C.F.R. § 214.1(e): "A nonimmigrant who is permitted to engage in employment may engage only in such employment as has been authorized. Any unauthorized employment by a nonimmigrant constitutes a failure to maintain status..." . Following are the employment options for F-1 students.  

On-Campus Employment

F-1 and J-1 students are generally permitted to work on campus while enrolled full time and making normal progress toward completion of degree requirements. New students are eligible immediately after registering in classes and having checked in with OISS. It can be in any on-campus position that does not displace a U.S. worker; does not have to be related to course of study. 

On-campus employment is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session; it can be full-time during official school breaks. 

On-campus employment may take place at any Rutgers office, department, library, bookstore or cafeteria. Rutgers-Newark students may also work for Rutgers-New Brunswick, Rutgers-Camden or RBHS. A Ph.D. student working on a research project directly related to your studies in an outside firm or organization but supervised by your academic advisor and paid through Rutgers University may also be considered as working on campus. 

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)


Curricular Practical Training (CPT) enables F-1 students to engage in employment as “an integral part of an established curriculum”, including: “alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school.” “Integral part of an established curriculum” means a training opportunity must be required by the curriculum or, if not required, the student must receive credit for the training.

The Academic Units (colleges, schools or academic departments) determine whether to incorporate practical training into the curriculum and stipulate when students may pursue practical training. For required CPT, the academic program mandates the practical training experience in the field of study. For non-required CPT, the practical training must be directly related to the field of study and correspond with a course in the curriculum listed in the regular catalog.  CPT is available only PRIOR TO completion of the academic program. CPT employment may NOT delay completion of the academic program. F-1 students on programs that do not have the option of practical training for credit are not eligible for CPT. Not all programs give credit for practical training or allow for paid practical training. Students in the English language training program are not eligible for practical training.

Employment Evaluation for CPT:

Academic Deans/Chairs/ Graduate Program Directors/Undergraduate Academic Advisors determine if an employment offer qualifies for internship, cooperative education, research or independent study, how many credits can be granted for the practical training and how many semesters/summers a student may be approved to engage in it.
OISS is not involved in making the academic decisions above. OISS will only issue CPT work authorization on the Student and Exchange Visitor Information System (SEVIS) AFTER receiving the academic approval in writing.

Student Eligibility:

An F-1 student who meets the following criteria is eligible for CPT:

  • Must be matriculated in an academic program at Rutgers University Newark and be in good academic standing;
  • Has been lawfully enrolled at Rutgers or another U.S. college, university, conservatory, or seminary for one full academic year, except an English language training program, before engaging in CPT, i.e. two full consecutive terms: Fall & Spring OR Spring & Fall; summer sessions are not counted. If any graduate program curriculum requires ALL the students enrolled in the same program immediate participation in curricular practical training, F-1 students may be exempt from the one academic year requirement.  
  • Is in lawful F-1 status at the time of applying for CPT (interruptions in lawful F-1 status during the prior academic year may affect the one year waiting period);  
  • Has a paid or unpaid employment offer qualified for curriculum practical training; and
  • Is approved to register in a corresponding course for the practical training that will appear on the transcript of the semester/summer during which the practical training is engaged.

Part-Time CPT versus Full-Time CPT: 

Unless curriculum requires otherwise, an F-1 student may be authorized for Part Time CPT ONLY to engage in employment for 20 hours or less per week during the Fall and Spring semesters when full-time class registration is required.
An F-1 student may be authorized for Full-time CPT in the summer and winter sessions to engage in employment for more than 20 hours per week.
An F-1 student in the LAST semester with less than a full-time course load needed to complete a degree program may be authorized for Full-time CPT to engage in employment for more than 20 hours per week. 
A graduate student who has completed ALL course work, or is in the last semester to complete the course work which is a less than full-time load, AND is working on a dissertation or thesis, may be authorized for full-time CPT with the Graduate Program Director’ written support, which has to state that the full-time CPT is necessary for the student to complete the dissertation or thesis.

Students who have received one year or more of full time curricular practical training are ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT) at the same educational level.  Part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for OPT.

Authorization Dates versus Class Registration Dates:

Unless curriculum requires otherwise, the beginning and ending dates authorized for CPT should be within or coincide approximately with the beginning and ending dates of the same semester/summer when the F-1 student is registered in a corresponding course for the CPT (internship, independent study, matriculation continued, etc.).  

Authorization Procedure:  

  1. Student consults OISS for eligibility regarding F-1 status;
  2. Student consults Academic Department for academic eligibility before obtaining job offer;
  3. Student obtains official job offer letter stating employer contact information, responsibility, pay rate, beginning and ending dates (must be in future) and working hours per week;
  4. Student gets CPT Employer Agreement completed and signed by employer;
  5. Student submits completed CPT Application FormEmployer Agreement and job offer letter to Academic Dean/Chair/ Graduate Program Director/Undergraduate Academic Advisor for evaluation and approval;
  6. Student is registered in a corresponding course for the practical training that will appear on the transcript; for summer registration, student should attach proof of tuition payment to avoid automatic deregistration due to non-payment. 
  7. AFTER registration, student submits approved CPT ApplicationEmployer Agreement , Job Offer Letter and summer tuition payment receipt to OISS;
  8. OISS processes CPT authorization on SEVIS and issues new I-20 that bears CPT dates, employer info and statement of CPT as an integral part of the curriculum;
  9. Student may ONLY start working AFTER new I-20 is issued.
  10. Student receives grade/credit for CPT on transcript to be granted by Academic Department.  

Complete CPT Application Packet:    

Failure to Comply with Regulations:

It is your OWN PERSONAL responsibility to comply with all immigration regulations which apply to F-1 students, including employment regulations. Working without the proper authorization is a serious violation of your nonimmigrant status in the US. If you fail to comply with your responsibilities, you may not be eligible for benefits normally granted to F-1 students and may jeopardize your stay in the US. Prior to accepting any employment in the U.S,, we advise you to consult with OISS.

- Adopted December 2012

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment directly related to an F-1 student’s major area of study and is commensurate with the level of education being sought. An F-1 student may be authorized 12 months of OPT for study at one education level and may become eligible for another 12 months of OPT after changing to a higher educational level. An F-1 student with a degree majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) may apply for an extension of an additional 24-month OPT while in a valid period of post-completion OPT. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training.

Pre-completion OPT

Post-completion OPT

24-month STEM OPT Extension

Reporting Requirements during Standard Post-completion OPT and STEM OPT

Key Contacts

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