Employment, Volunteering & Internships - The University of Tulsa
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Employment, Volunteering & Internships

Please choose your visa type: F-1 or J-1

J-1 Exchange Students

Academic Training

Academic Training is for students on a J-1 Visa who wish to gain practical experience in their academic field while in the U.S. Academic Training Request Form and visit the ISSS office for more information. Academic Training must be approved through one of the SEVIS officers in the ISSS office prior to beginning employment.


Students on a J visa must have employment authorized in SEVIS prior to beginning work either on or off campus. Please come to the ISSS office for the approval and to complete forms for a Social Security Number (SSN). SSNs are required for everyone who works in the United States.


A J-1 student is allowed to volunteer through TU’s True Blue Neighbors. If interested in volunteering, come to the ISS office to consult one of the trained immigration officers who will be able to discuss volunteer opportunities with J-1 international students.

F-1 Students


An F-1 student is allowed to volunteer through TU’s True Blue Neighbors. If interested in volunteering, come to the ISS office to consult one of the trained immigration officers who will be able to discuss volunteer opportunities with F-1 international students.


If you are interested in participating in an internship you must receive approval from the SEVIS officers. The internship must meet the requirements of the Curricular Practical Training as outlined in the CPT section and be approved prior to participation. If CPT is approved, a new I-20 will be issued reflecting the authorization.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

The purpose of CPT is to allow students to gain practical experience in their field of study while pursuing their educational objective. CPT is defined by the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services as employment that is an “integral part” of a student’s course of study. Employment must be directly related to the major area of study and enhance the student’s academic development. In order to be eligible for CPT, students must be enrolled on a full-time basis for at least one full academic year.

Spring or Fall CPT: Allowed only if an internship is required* for the degree currently being pursued and listed on I-20. Students must be enrolled in a full course of study during both fall and spring semesters. Restrictions on the number of part-time hours will vary.

Summer CPT: Students may work full-time (40 hours per week). Students are REQUIRED to be enrolled in an internship class or a class that directly relates to the major and the internship. This must be for credit and can be for 1-3 credit hours. Please note that students who participate in 12 months of full-time CPT will no longer be eligible to participate in OPT.

To see if you qualify to apply for CPT and to obtain the application, please schedule an appointment with one of the SEVIS officers in the International Student Services Office.


F-1 students are allowed to apply and work on-campus for up to 20 hours a week during the school year and 40 hours a week during breaks (Thanksgiving break, winter break, spring break and summer break). On-campus employment does not require ISS approval but you will need to come to ISSS to complete forms for a Social Security Number (SSN). SSNs are required for everyone who works in the United States.

F-1 students are not allowed to work off-campus without SEVIS approval. Unauthorized work will result in the termination of immigration and other negative consequences.

OPT or Optional Practical Training

Optional practical training is temporary employment authorization that allows F-1 students to gain practical work experience (on- or off-campus) by applying their academic knowledge to a position directly related to their area of study. There are two types of OPT: Pre Completion and Post Completion. Both types of OPT require an application to be submitted to the U.S. government. The application must be approved and Employment Authorization Document (EAD) received before any work can begin.

Pre-Completion OPT

An F-1 student may be authorized to participate in pre-completion OPT after he/she has been enrolled for one full academic year. The pre-completion OPT must be directly related to the student’s course of study. Please note that any period of pre-completion OPT will count against the time you are allowed for post-completion OPT. Those in STEM fields cannot apply for the STEM extension from a period of pre-completion OPT.

Post-Completion OPT

An F-1 student may be authorized to participate in post-completion OPT upon completion of studies. The post-completion OPT must be directly related to the student’s major.

It is recommended that post-completion OPT applications be submitted prior to graduation to allow sufficient time for the government processing. You can apply for OPT as early as 90 days before graduation and as late as 50 (to allow time for mailing and processing) days into your 60 day grace period. Your post-completion OPT start date must begin within the 60 day grace period following your program end date/graduation. OPT approval takes about 90 days, so you should apply sooner rather than later in order to get the full 12-month benefit.

The ISSS office makes filing for OPT as simple and smooth a process as possible for our F-1 students. You will meet two times with your SEVIS officer to discuss OPT. During the first appointment the SEVIS officer will go over the OPT process and all documentation required for filing. For the second OPT appointment you will bring all of the required documents. Your SEVIS officer will review all of your documents, recommend the OPT in SEVIS, issue your new I-20 and make sure that everything is in order for filing. At the end of the second appointment you will be able to walk out of ISS and straight to the post office to file your application.