A number of on- and off-campus employment and internship opportunities are available to international students during their years of study at Drew University. Students requiring a visa to study in the United States, however, must obtain special authorization in order to participate in off-campus employment and internships.

The Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) programs allow F-1 students to pursue part-time or full-time employment, respectively, in a field  related to the student’s primary course of study. J-1 students may pursue off-campus work opportunities through the Academic Training (AT) program).

Consult the information below as you contemplate the best options to complement your course of study.

On-Campus Employment

Working On Campus

All Drew University students are eligible to apply for on-campus student employment. Many students from the U.S. and abroad hold positions in various university offices and academic departments. While they are ineligible for federal work-study positions, students requiring a visa to study in the U.S. may work in other positions on campus without special authorization, part-time (up to 20 hours per week) during the academic year, and full-time during breaks and the summer months.

Work positions open to students are frequently advertised through the Student Employment page maintained by the Office of Financial Assistance. International students interested in employment in a particular office or academic department should contact the appropriate manager or administrator to inquire about the possibility of non-work-study employment.

Useful Links


Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is defined by US Citizenship and Immigration Services as employment which is an integral part of an established curriculum, including alternative work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the institution.

Students MUST have approval from both their academic department and International Student & Scholar Services before engaging in any off-campus internship experience.  You should allow two weeks to one month to complete the forms and discuss the internship with your advisor or Career Development staff. 

All undergraduates must make an appointment with Stephanie or Laura to discuss CPT.  Students will need to register for an internship and complete a Learning Contract through the Center for Internships and Career Development.

All graduate and theological students must make an appointment with Stephanie or Laura to discuss CPT.  Please email sbias@drew.edu to make an appointment.

Student Eligibility

  • Must have completed one academic year in full-time F-1 status
  • Must have an employment offer letter for one of the following types of CPT:
    1. Required Internship expected of all students in the degree program and necessary for the completion of the degree.
    2. To satisfy an internship elective that is directly related to student’s course of study and counts toward completion of the degree.
    3. To engage in research that is necessary and integral to the completion of the doctoral dissertation.

Special Considerations

  • Curricular Practical Training may be full-time or part-time (20 hours a week or less); however, a student is still required to be registered full-time while on CPT.
  • A student who takes advantage of full-time CPT for 12 month or more is NOT eligible for Optional Practical Training.
  • The CPT authorization is employer specific – if the employer changes, USCIS must be notified and a new I-20 created.

Application Procedure

  • Schedule an appointment (email larthur@drew.edu or sbias@drew.edu) or stop by the Welcome Desk in the Tilghman House. Please bring the following documents to the appointment:
    1. Job offer letter including the following information on employer’s letterhead: Job description, student’s name, employment start and end dates, hours/week, and supervisor’s name.  The employer should also add a statement that it agrees to cooperate with the school in achieving the curricular purposes of the employment/training.
    2. Academic Department Recommendation Form for CPT (completed by academic advisor or faculty member teaching/overseeing the internship course).
    3. Registration for internship must be approved so that ISSS can verify the enrollment information on CampusWeb.


Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is off-campus work authorization issued by United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) for work experience in your field of study.  Students must be in F-1 status for an academic year to be eligible for OPT.  Both pre-completion (to be used before graduation) and post-completion OPT may be available.  However, students are eligible to apply for one year of OPT per degree level (with an exception for students in the STEM fields).  If 12 months of OPT are used before graduation, post-completion OPT will not be available.

For further information, consult the USCIS guidelines for OPT.

Student Eligibility

Students who have been in F-1 status for one academic year are eligible to apply for pre-completion OPT as early as 90 days before the employment start date.  For Post-completion OPT, students may apply up to 90 days before the program end date (graduation or completion of studies for graduate students).

Types of Employment Allowed

The following activities are considered allowable employment on both pre-completion and standard post-completion OPT, provided that the job is directly related to the student’s program of study.

  1. Regular paid employment in a position directly related to the student’s program of study.  For post-completion OPT, the work must be for at least 20 hours per week.
  2. Payment by multiple short-term multiple employers.  “Students, such as musicians and other performing artists, may work for multiple short term employers . The student should maintain a list of all employers, the dates and duration.
  3. Work for hire. When a student performs a service based on a contractual relationship rather than an employment relationship.  Students should be prepared to provide evidence showing the duration of the contract periods and the name and address of the contracting company.
  4. Volunteers or unpaid interns. Students may work as volunteers or unpaid interns (the work should not violate any labor laws). The work should be at least 20 hours per week. A student should be able to provide evidence, acquired from the student’s employer, to verify that he or she worked at least 20 hours per week during the period of employment.

Special Considerations

  • You remain in F-1 status while you are on OPT, so you must continue to follow all regulations that govern your visa status.
  • A maximum of 12 months of OPT may be granted for each degree level completed in the U.S. (e.g. bachelor’s, master’s, PhD). (Exception:  17 month STEM extensions)
  • A student who takes advantage of full-time CPT for 12 month or more is NOT eligible for Optional Practical Training.
  • Report any change of address or employment updates to Drew University ISS. In case of address change, send an email to Drew University’s Immigration Services Coordinator with the following information:
    •  Current Address (must notify ISS within 10 days of moving)
    • Change of Employer (address and start date)
    • Unemployment (date that job was lost)
    • Change in Immigration status
    • Departure from the U.S. if earlier than the date on the EAD •
  • USCIS recommends that students maintain evidence, for each job, of the position held, proof of the duration of that position, the job title, contact information for the student’s supervisor or manager and a description of the work.
  • If it is not clear from the job description that the work is related to the student’s degree, it is highly recommended that the student obtain a signed letter from the student’s supervisor or manager or the employer’s hiring official stating how the student’s degree is related to the work performed.

Unemployment During OPT

  • During post-completion OPT, a student (including STEM students) may not be unemployed for an aggregate of more than 90 days. If a student receives a 17-month STEM extension, the limit on unemployment is raised to an aggregate of no more than 120 days.
  • Weekends and time spent outside of the U.S. are counted towards the period of unemployment.

Travel While on OPT

  • Student who needs to travel outside the U.S. before receiving the EAD must have the receipt (I-797) from USCIS.
  • If Student has received the EAD but has not started work, you must have letter from prospective employer to prove you have employment.
  • Student must present the following documents upon re-entry to the U.S. while on OPT:
    • Form I-20 endorsed by ISSS within the preceding 6 months
    • An unexpired EAD card
    • Proof of employment

Application Procedure

All documents required for the OPT application are listed below.  Students should make an appointment to discuss OPT and employment dates with ISSS.  Once the I-20 for OPT is created, students are responsible for mailing the completed application to USCIS.

  • Make appointment to discuss OPT with ISSS office (University Commons, Room 110)
  • USCIS Forms should be completed online, printed, and then signed and dated.  (Handwritten forms are easily rejected by USCIS which causes long delays in processing.)
  • ISSS office will request the OPT I-20 and review all application materials with the student (this appointment will take approx. 30 minutes).
  • Application must be received by USCIS within 30 days after the I-20 for OPT is created.
  • The start date for post-completion OPT must be within 60 days of graduation or program completion.

Items Required for the OPT Application

  • Completed Form G1145
  • Completed Form I-765
  • $410 fee (Check or money order made payable to U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  Do Not send cash.)
  • Two passport-style photographs that are 2×2 on a white background, and taken within the last 6 months (CVS, Walgreens etc. will do this)
  • Photocopy of your new I-20 endorsed for OPT (pages 1 & 3) from ISSS.  Be sure to sign your new I-20!
  • Photocopies of all previously issued I-20s
  • Copy of your I-94 record (now available at the U.S. Customs and Border Control website)
  • Copy of the visa stamp in your passport
  • Copy of the identity pages in your passport
  • Copy of any previously issued EAD cards (You will have this if you were granted OPT in the past.)

Make a copy of the entire application for your records. 

Helpful Tips for Completing Form I-765

  • Question at top of form:  I am applying for:
    Check box “Permission to accept employment”
  • Question #3:   Address in the United States.  It is important that you use an address where you can receive mail for the next four months.  Do not use a friend’s address.  The U.S. Postal Service may not deliver a government document (or any mail) unless you are the official resident at that address.
  • Question #10:  I-94 Number (Now you can retrieve from the US Customs and Border website.)
  • Question #11:  Have you ever applied for employment authorization from USCIS?  This DOES NOT include CPT.  Select NO unless you have received an EAD for other off-campus work authorization.
  • Question #16:  If you are applying for post-completion OPT, the answer is ( C ) ( 3 ) ( B ).  For Pre-completion OPT, use (C) (3) (A).
  •  Sign and date the form in blue ink.  Keep your signature within the black lines.  It will be scanned and included on the EAD card.

Mailing the OPT Application

  • Your application must be received by USCIS within 30 days after the I-20 for OPT is created (refer to the signature date of the DSO on page one of the OPT I-20).
  • It is recommended that you use certified US mail, UPS, or FedEx so that you have a tracking number to ensure that USCIS receives your application.
  • If your return address on the I-765 is in NJ, NY, PA, CT, mail the application to the Dallas Lockbox:

For U.S. Postal Service, First-Class and Priority Mail Express deliveries*:
PO Box 660867
Dallas, Texas 75266

*send with certified mail, return receipt requested

For Courier service deliveries such as FedEx, DHL or UPS*:
Attn:  AOS
2501 S. State Hwy. 121 Business
Suite 400
Lewisvile, TX 75067

*request tracking number with this service

J-1 AT

Academic Training

Academic Training allows J-1 students an opportunity to apply knowledge gained in the classroom to a practical work experience off campus. The work authorization may be part-time or full-time, depending on the student’s academic program.

Download the Drew ISS AT Application Form (PDF)

Student Eligibility

  • Student must be in valid J-1 status and in good academic standing at the school named on the Form DS-2019.
  • Academic training must be done with a specific employer.
  • The proposed employment must be directly related to student’s major field of study.
  • Written approval must be obtained in advance by the student for the duration and type of academic training.

Special Considerations

  • The duration of academic training cannot exceed the length of the academic program.
  • Part-time and full-time academic training are counted the same against the total time allowed.
  • Academic training is normally limited to a maximum of 18 months. (Exceptions apply to students with mandatory internship requirements and for PhD students who are offered post-doctoral training positions).

Application Procedure

  • Schedule an appointment (email larthur@drew.edu) or stop by ISS during advising hours. Please bring the following documents to the appointment:
    1. Job offer letter including the following information on employer’s letterhead: job description (goals and objectives), student’s name, employment start and end dates, hours/week, and supervisor’s name.
    2. J-1 Student Academic Training Recommendation Form (completed by academic advisor, dean, or department chair).
  • If all requirements have been met, ISS will issue a letter authorizing academic training for a specific period of time, and if applicable, issue a new DS-2019. The authorization letter and DS-2019 should be presented to the employer.

Extension of Academic Training

If a student is eligible for an extension of the academic training, please contact International Student Services at least one month prior to the expiration date of the training authorization.

Travel Abroad and Reentry

If you are graduating and plan to travel outside the U.S. before you begin academic training, you must apply for the work authorization before you leave the country. You will not be allowed to re-enter the United States in J-1 status after graduation without the academic training endorsement on the DS-2019. A valid visa stamp and a signature for travel are also required to return to the U.S.