Optional Practical Training (OPT) Instructions

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined as “temporary employment for practical training directly related to the student’s major of study”. You may be authorized up to 12 months of OPT per educational level. If a student begins a new academic program at a higher level, the student is then eligible for another 12 months of OPT. For example, if a student completed OPT after a Bachelor’s degree, and then enrolled for a Master’s program, the student is eligible to apply for OPT after completing the master’s program.   Please Note: Students in certain qualifying majors may be eligible for an additional 17 months of OPT in addition to the regular 12 month OPT. Those majors are: Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). For more information please refer to the OPT 17 month Extension Instructions for STEM Degree Holders on our website.

OPT Eligibility:

To qualify for OPT you must:

  • Be enrolled for at least one full academic year
  • Be in valid F-1 status
  • Be in good academic standing
  • Seek employment in your area of study

A job offer is not required to apply for OPT, but the student is expected to work or be actively seeking employment in the student’s area of study after the Employment Authorization Card (EAD) is issued.

Types of OPT:

  • Pre-completion OPT (before completion of studies): Limited to 20 hours a week (part-time) while school is in session and student still has coursework to complete, or full-time during summer vacations. For more information, schedule an appointment with an advisor at International Services
  • Post-completion OPT (after completion of studies): is granted for full-time use only.


For more information and to read about the application process OPT Form‌.