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Authorized Employment

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Employment opportunities are available for international students both on- and off-campus. On-campus employment is available through a limited number of Stratford University part-time positions. Off-campus employment is available through two programs: Curricular Practical Training (available prior to degree completion) and Optional Practical Training (available after degree completion).

The Career and Student Services Office helps students locate employment and internships.

On-Campus Employment

A limited number of on-campus employment opportunities are available within selected departments of the University. All on-campus employment is coordinated by the Human Resources Department within the school.

International students, who are taking a full-time course load and have completed at least one quarter, are eligible to work on-campus up to 20-hours per week. In order to qualify, you must successfully complete the non-credit (and free) English Proficiency course. Failure to remain in-status or not taking a full-time load makes you ineligible for on-campus employment.

You must submit a job application to the H/R Department and schedule an interview. Successful applicants will be able to start the on-campus job the next quarter.

Curricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is a required internship or practicum that is offered by sponsoring employers through agreements with the University. CPT must either be required by your degree program or you must receive course credit for the internship.

Stratford University allows CPT up to 40-hours per week if you are in-status and enrolled in a full-time course load. In order to qualify, you must successfully complete the non-credit (and free) English Proficiency course. If you participate in 12-months or more of full-time CPT, you will not be eligible for post-completion Optional Practical Training.

You must submit the following documents to the ISO to initiate the CPT application process.

  • Official employment offer letter on company letterhead, signed by prospective employer. This letter must include employer’s name, address, duties performed, and dates of employment
  • CPT Authorization Request Form, signed by you and the Student Accounts Office
  • CPT Dean's Recommendation Form, signed by your academic advisor or Dean
  • Proof of successful completion of the English Proficiency course
  • Copies of your current immigration documents

After reviewing and approving your documents, the ISO will authorize your CPT by endorsing your Form I-20. You cannot begin CPT until you have received your Form I-20 with the CPT endorsement.

Optional Practical Training (OPT)

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is intended to provide hands-on practical work experience complementary to your academic program. OPT provides full-time employment after completion of your degree.

You must be in-status, have successfully met all degree requirements, and have been enrolled on a full-time basis for one academic year. OPT employment must be in a job directly related to your major field of study. OPT is limited to 12-months, unless extended as described below.

STEM Extension -- OPT can be extended for an additional 17-months for degrees which fall under the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) classification.

  • All Master's degrees offered by the School of Computer Information Systems qualify for the STEM extension. OPT for CIS degrees can be up to 29-months.
  • Degrees offered by the School of Business Administration do not qualify for the STEM extension. OPT for business degrees can be up to 12-months.

USCIS Filing Windows -- In order to be eligible you must file your OPT application with USCIS within the filing window. At the earliest, you can file with USCIS up to 90 days before your program completion date. At the latest, your OPT application must be received by mail and accepted for processing by USCIS no later than 60 days after your program completion date.

ISO Filing -- You must submit the following documents to the ISO to initiate the OPT application process.

  • Copy of pages 1 and 3 of all previous and current I-20s
  • Copy of passport, including Visa stamp
  • Two passport-sized photographs
  • Copy of current Form I-94 (front and back)
  • Copy of employment offer letter
  • Copy of your degree (with STEM qualification, if applicable)
  • OPT STEM Extension Request Form (if applicable)
  • Copy of any previous Employment Authorization Documents

After reviewing and approving your OPT documents, the ISO will issue an I-20 with an OPT endorsement.

USCIS Filing -- After receiving your new I-20 with the OPT endorsement, you must file your application with USCIS within 30 days. In addition to the documents above, this submission will include the Application For Employment Authorization (Form I-765) and the OPT application fee (currently US $340).

Your OPT application will take approximately three months to be approved by USCIS. You cannot begin working until you have received authorization from USCIS.

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