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Policy Guidance for Practical Training and Other Status Requests

Solar Energy

Practical Training is a benefit of F-1 status whereby students can engage in temporary employment for the purpose of gaining practical experience directly related to his or her major field of study. If the student has been in lawful status for one full academic year, he or she may be eligible for 12 months of training. There is both curricular training and optional training. Curricular training must be an integral part of the student's study and tied directly to the semester begin and end dates. It may either be included in the credit hours toward his/her major or be an elective credit course. Optional training is permitted for 12 months after completion of coursework and may allow graduate students within their thesis, master's program or dissertation to be employed for the purpose of research toward their degree.

The requirements detailed in this document ensure a student on an F-1 visa maintains his/her status and operates within the parameters of the Code of Federal Regulations, and makes certain he/she will not be subject to Department of Homeland Security immigration penalties.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) are permitted while the student is still within his or her studies with the recommendation of the advisor to help determine the usefulness of the employment for the student, and ensure the student has been maintaining successful progress toward completion of his/her degree. CPT cannot be authorized once the student has completed all requirements for his/her degree, including dissertation or thesis.

Requests from students who have not yet completed their degree, such as requests to help maintain their status, complete an internship (paid or unpaid), or requests for practical training prior to graduation will first be recommended to International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) by the Graduate Program Director (GPD) or Chief Academic Advisor for the student.

Individuals who have completed all course work and have been awarded a degree are eligible for OPT and do not need a recommendation. These former students must submit to ISSS their academic transcript from ODU which shows the date their degree was awarded and their field of study.

Requests that may be put forward to a GPD or Chief Academic Advisor are:

  • I-20 status extension requests
  • Curricular Practical Training requests
  • Optional Practical Training request