Employment Opportunities for International Students

What types of employment opportunities are there for international students?

There are several types of employment for which F-1 students may qualify.

On-Campus Employment

  • F-1 students are permitted by law to work on Duquesne University's campus up to 20 hours per week while school is in session, and up to 40 hours per week during vacation periods. Students do not need permission from the Center for Global Engagement for on-campus employment.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

  • CPT is employment that is related to a student's field of study and is an integral part of an established curriculum. Some programs require this type of training in order for students to graduate. Students must be registered for credits when participating in these internships, practicums, or co-ops.
  • Students must discuss the possibility of participating in CPT with their academic advisor first. If the advisor approves an internship, the student can then begin to search for a position. If the student finds employment, a letter from the academic advisor and a letter from the employer are brought to the Center for Global Engagement where the authorization is placed on page 2 of a new I-20. Employment without proper authorization is considered illegal employment. Students who participate in a full 12 months of full-time curricular practical training will not be eligible for optional practical training.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT) is a 12-month work authorization period that allows students to work off campus in their field of study. Most students participate after they have completed their degree. The Center for Global Engagement must recommend OPT in order for the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) to authorize the employment. Students can apply for OPT up to 90 days before graduation and up to 60 days after graduation. The process usually takes 60 to 90 days. Students will then receive an Employment Authorization Card (EAD) card which allows them to work in the United States. For more information regarding optional practical training and to see how to apply, please go to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services about OPT application.

24-Month STEM Extension

  • Students who have graduated with degrees in designated Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematic (STEM) degrees are eligible for an additional 24 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) beyond the original 12 months of OPT. Please consult the list of approved academic fields to see if you are qualfied for STEM extension.

In addition, students must be employed by an E-Verify employer in order to qualify for this extension. The three requirements are as follows:

  • Employer must be E-Verify*
  • Student must have graduated and is currently working in a STEM field
  • Student must have maintained F-1 status while on OPT

Please consult United States Citizenship and Immigration Services about the STEM Extension.

*Note: E-Verify is a USCIS internet-based system used by Social Security and USCIS. This system helps employers make sure their employees are eligible for employment. Not all companies are part of E-Verify. Please check with your employer prior to applying for a STEM Extension.