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Student Employment

On Campus Employment

As an F-1 student, you are eligible to work on campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. You may work full-time during holidays, breaks and the summer.

Off Campus Employment

In order to legally work off campus, you must apply for either Curricular Practical Training (CPT) or Optional Practical Training (OPT). 

2015 Tax Information

Curricular Practical Training


CPT cannot be in a minor or previous major. CPT can be part-time (20 hours a week or less) or full-time (more than 20 hours a week).  If you are authorized for part-time CPT, any on-campus employment and your CPT together cannot amount to over 20 hours of work a week, while school is in session (this includes assistantships). If you are authorized for full-time CPT, you should not have any additional on-campus employment, while school is in session.  CPT is designed to provide work experience directly related and integral to a student's degree of study. It is not intended for general, ongoing work authorization. Traditional volunteer work (e.g. at a soup-kitchen, homeless shelter) does not require CPT. However any internship, even if it is unpaid, requires CPT authorization.


  • A student must be in valid F-1-status and have been a full-time student for one academic year (Fall and Spring semesters) before participating in CPT.
  • An exception may be made for programs that require an internship from graduate students in their first year of study. This first year requirement must be documented in the advisor recommendation letter. Programs that allow for the internship to be completed after the first year of study would not be eligible for CPT authorization under this exception. 
  • A student must have a written job offer on company letterhead before applying for CPT.  The job offer must indicate the position, the exact dates of employment, the number of hours per week and the company’s address. *This must be the location where student will be physically working. 
  • A student must continue to maintain full-time status for the duration of the CPT.  This means 12 credits per semester for an undergraduate student and 9 credits per semester for a graduate student.
  • A student must continue to make normal degree progress, as defined by their department and the Graduate School, while participating in CPT.  This could require course-work during the CPT period. Students should verify that participation in CPT will not interfere with their ability to take courses required for degree completion that may not be taught in subsequent semesters prior to the program end date indicated on their I-20. CPT should not delay degree completion beyond the program end date listed on the Form I-20. Also, CPT credits must count towards graduation.
  • Approval from the department is required for CPT.  Individual departments may have their own academic requirements for, or limitations on, participation in CPT. Examples include a minimum GPA, a pre-requisite course and/or a number of credits taken in the department's curriculum.


Integral to the Curriculum – At Bentley, an internship is not a required part of the program's curriculum, but the internship is considered integral to the academic experience. In this case, a student must register for the internship course, which must count toward graduation. The only exception is the one-time one credit CPT experience built into each program at Bentley.
Dissertation Research - A doctoral student must engage in off-campus work to complete research necessary for a Ph.D. Dissertation. In this case, a student must register for a department-specific dissertation credit and file a Certificate of Full Time Status.  The academic department’s recommendation letter must specifically indicate that this CPT experience is for dissertation research.


CPT is authorized by semester (Fall, Spring, and Summer).  Therefore, students must submit a new CPT request, including all the necessary documents, for each semester, including summer session(s).
Participation in CPT may begin on or after the first day of the semester. CPT must end before the first day of the following semester. For example, CPT can be extended through the winter break, but must be complete before the first day of spring semester. Spring semester CPT must end before the first day of summer session, and so on.

A student may participate in CPT as much as their program will allow and their academic department will authorize. However, a student will be ineligible for OPT if he/she participates in greater than 364 days of full time CPT.


CPT application is approved in-house after you have submitted the requirements.

Note: It takes 5 business days to process CPT I-20. 


CPT form filled out by you and signed by your Internship Coordinator (IC) (find it here: CPT Application Form).  Please advise your IC to use the current CPT Application form from this link, or print a copy from the link for your IC.
Copy of your job offer on the employer’s letter head with address of the job location on the page. If there is no address on the letter head or if there is an address of the corporate office rather than the actual location where you will be employed, make sure you print the address legibly on the CPT form)
Proof of your internship class registration, a screenshot of the current semester registration (semester when the CPT will occur) will suffice.

Why drop CPT requirements at CISS when you can send them virtually? These are the steps:

1. Scan CPT requirements with your phone and email documents to the

2. Application will be assigned to one of the advisors and will take 5 business days to process. 

3. Once CPT application is processed, you will receive CISS email notification for CPT I-20     pickup. Your new I-20 will have your CPT work authorization on the page 3 (old I-20) and page 2 (of new I-20). 

4. Stop by CISS to sign it. I-20 will serve as proof of work authorization that you can show your employer.

On-Campus Employment

As an F-1 student, you are eligible to work on campus up to 20 hours per week while classes are in session. You may work more than 20 hours per week during vacation breaks (spring, summer etc).  To work on campus, you must first secure a position on campus, then obtain a Social Security Number (SSN) from the Social Security Office and then submit the proper paperwork to the Student Employment and Financial Aid offices.  

Many office jobs for international students generally become available 2 months into the semester.  If you want a job at the start of the semester, you may apply at the Bookstore (in Collins Hall, near Dunkin Donuts) or at Dining Services (3Rd floor of La Cava Center).The hiring process for these positons is different from other on-campus positions.

How to Apply for an On-Campus Job

How to Obtain a Social Security Number (SSN)


Optional Practical Training

To request Optional Practical Training (OPT) employment authorization, you will need to submit an application to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Service (USCIS).  Click here for a Power Point presentation that explains the process of applying for OPT. Processing time is approximately 12 weeks. 

Please allow at least five business days for processing. We will email you when the application is ready to pick up.

STEM Optional Practical Training (OPT) Extension

Certain F-1 international students are eligible for a 17-month extension of their current OPT work experience, allowing them to apply for a “STEM OPT Extension.” STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) eligible majors correspond to specific ‘CIP codes’ issued by the U.S. government.  At Bentley the list of STEM eligible majors can be found here.

For more information about STEM OPT Extension, click here.

Academic Training

J-1 exchange visitor students may engage in paid off-campus employment in the United States to gain professional training before and after completion of their academic program if the employment is directly related to their coursework. This type of employment is called academic training.

To participate in academic training, you must:

  • Be in good academic status before applying
  • Obtain advance, written authorization from the Cronin Office of International Education for academic training for wages or other remuneration
  • Begin academic training no later than 30 days following the completion of your studies
  • Obtain formal authorization for non-paid internships

As a J-1 exchange visitor sponsored by Bentley, you may receive academic training for the amount of time equal to your time enrolled at the university (18-month maximum). One-semester exchange students are eligible for four months of academic training, and one-year exchange students are eligible for nine to 12 months.

Academic Training Application Procedures

To complete your academic training application, you must:

1. Obtain a letter of recommendation from your academic adviser from the Cronin Office of International Education. The letter must include:

  • The goals and objectives of the specific employment opportunity
  • A description of the employment opportunity, including its location, the name and address of the supervisor, number of hours per week, and dates of the training
  • How the training relates to your major field of study
  • Why it is an integral or critical part of your academic program

2. Call us to schedule an appointment with a staff member. Be sure to bring to your appointment the recommendation letter and the employment offer letter.

We will provide you with written authorization for the proposed academic training upon review and approval from the Cronin Office of International Education.

Employment for Severe Economic Hardship

You may be eligible for general off-campus employment authorization if you are facing severe economic hardship caused by unforeseen circumstances beyond your control, such as substantial currency fluctuations, medical bills, and substantial or unexpected expenses.

Employment is limited to no more than 20 hours per week during the fall and spring semesters. You may work up to 40 hours per week during annual breaks (summer, winter, and spring).

Requests for this type of employment authorization must be submitted to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS). We will assist you in submitting the application. Please review the following information carefully.

Eligibility Criteria

  • You are in good academic standing and are maintaining a full course of study.
  • You can demonstrate unforeseen economic hardship.
  • You cannot find an on-campus job or practical training opportunity that meets your financial need.
  • You have been in F-1 status for one full academic year.
  • Your employment will not interfere with your studies.

Application Procedures

  1. Compose a letter for the USCIS in which you describe the nature of your unforeseen economic hardship.
  2. Attach supporting documentation to your letter, such as news articles, letters from sponsors, and documents from financial institutions.
  3. Complete Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization
  4. Have two green card-style photos made according to the photo guidelines
  5. Schedule an appointment with a CISS adviser, who will review your application and enter your employment request into SEVIS. You will be provided with a new SEVIS I-20 for submission with your application.
  6. When you come for your appointment, please bring with you:
  • Letter for the USCIS
  • Passport, original Bentley I-20 (plus all previous I-20s issued to you from Bentley or other institutions you have attended), and I-94 admission/departure card printed from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website
  • I-765 form
  • Personal check in the amount of $380 and made payable to Department of Homeland Security
  • Two photos (print your name and I-94 number on the back in pencil or lightly in pen)
  • If you have received work authorization from USCIS in the past, you will also need to send copies of your prior work authorization card/application

Please allow at least 12 weeks for the USCIS to process your application. You can begin working after USCIS has approved your application and you have received your Employment Authorization Document (EAD). If granted, your employment authorization will be valid for up to one year. You can submit an application to renew your work permission, provided you still meet the criteria at the end of one year.