F-1 visa holders do not require authorization from our office in order to work on-campus and are eligible to apply the moment they arrive. Work is limited to 20 hours/week while school is in session; more than 20 hours/week is permissible during school breaks and the summer semester.
Curricular Practical Training (CPT)
Students must have been lawfully enrolled as a student on a full–time basis (graduate 9 credit hours) for at least one academic year. This means that you must have completed at least two semesters during which you should have established and maintained good F–1 status. If your program requires immediate participation, there are exceptions for some graduate students.
CPT consisting of 20 hours or less per week is considered part–time. Any employment over 20 hours per week is considered full–time. Students who engage in one year (12 months cumulative) or more of full–time CPT are automatically ineligible for Optional Practical Training (OPT).
For more information regarding CPT, please see an International Student Advisor.
Optional Practical Training (OPT)
What is it?
Optional Practical Training (OPT) grants an eligible F-1 student an opportunity to work full-time for twelve consecutive months (anywhere in the U.S.) in a field that is related to their degree program at each degree level (Bachelors, Masters and Ph.D). Students remain in F-1 status at the University of St. Thomas even though they may be working elsewhere in the U.S. Students with only their thesis option left should consult with an International Student Advisor.
Like CPT, students must have been lawfully enrolled as a student on a full-time basis (graduate 9 credit hours) for at least one academic year. This means you must have completed at least two semesters during which you have established and maintained good F-1 status. If you have completed 12 months of full-time (more than 20 hours/week) CPT you become automatically ineligible for OPT.