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Employment Options

Employment means the rendering of services on either a part-time or full-time basis for compensation, financial or otherwise, including self-employment. Although investing is not considered employment, working in a business in which a student is an investor is considered employment.

Please browse the different types of employment authorization on this page.

On-Campus Employment, Including Research and Assistantships

On-campus employment includes: employment located on the Susquehanna campus, and employment at an off-campus location which is educationally affiliated with the university. 

Curricular Practical Training for Internships, Co-op Programs and Work Experience for Credit

As stated in the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) regulations, F-1 students wishing to participate in an off-campus training program that is "an integral part of an established curriculum" must first obtain work authorization for Curricular Practical Training (CPT). The training, which must be directly related to the student's major field of study, is defined as "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" (federal regulation 8CFR214.2(f)(10)). This cooperative agreement is formalized through an internship, co-op., practicum or experiential learning course in which the student enrolls. 

Optional Practical Training for Off-campus Employment in Field of Study

USCIS permits students in F-1 status to work in the United States so that they may reinforce what they have learned in university and college degree programs. This benefit is called Optional Practical Training (OPT). Like Curricular Practical Training (CPT), the work must be in the student's field of study; however, OPT is unlike CPT in several ways:

  • USCIS, not OMA, authorizing this training
  • A job offer is not necessary to apply for OPT
  • The student may participate in OPT before and/or after completing the program of study
  • A student may work for one or more employers, change jobs, or look for work during the training period
  • OPT is limited to 12 months per degree level

Employment with an International Organization

F-1 students who have been offered employment with an International Organization such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund or the United Nations may apply for special employment permission from USCIS. Students may work part time (20 hours per week) while school is in session and full time during vacation periods, provided they will continue their studies in the following semester. Work permission with an international organization does not reduce the amount of curricular or optional practical training one can use.

*Note: Students cannot participate during the school year if they already have an assistantship or other on-campus employment equaling 20 hours per week.

Employment Based on Economic Necessity

F-1 students who have encountered severe economic hardship may apply to USCIS for off-campus work authorization. A student seeking authorization of this type must be able to prove that the current financial situation was the result of unforeseen circumstances that were beyond his/her control. Prior to applying to USCIS, the student must have made a good faith effort to find on-campus employment.

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