Center for International Education

Optional Practical Training

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is defined as temporary employment in the chosen field of study for the purpose of gaining practical experience.

OPT employment is available to graduating F-1 students who have been lawfully enrolled full-time for a minimum of nine consecutive months. The student is eligible for a maximum of 12 months of practical training. Graduating students should apply three months prior to desired start of OPT to ensure timely processing of Employment Authorization Documents (EAD). The OPT start date must occur within 60 days of graduation. Please see the International Student and Scholar Advisor for more details.

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) Graduates

The Department of Homeland Security has revised the regulations about Optional Practical Training to include a 17-month post-completion extension for certain graduates of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields:

  • Actuarial Science (52.1304)
  • Computer Science (11.xxxx, except 11.06xx)
  • Engineering (14.xxxx)
  • Engineering Technologies (15.xxxx)
  • Biological and Medical Sciences (26.xxxx)
  • Mathematics and Statistics (27.xxxx)
  • Physical Sciences (40.xxxx)
  • Science Technologies (41.xxxx)
  • Health Professions and Related Clinical Sciences (51.1401)

To learn whether you qualify for this extension, as well how to apply, please visit OPT Extension for STEM Graduates.

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