Unless enrolled in a graduate level program with first term internship requirements, Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is available to F-1 students after one academic year of study. To be authorized, CPT must be integral to the program of study. If you are interested in applying for CPT, please schedule a meeting with International Student Services.
For more information, please visit Study in the States.
F-1 students may apply for an aggregate total of 12 months of Optional Practical Training (OPT) at each educational level. OPT differs from CPT in that the student must pay a fee and submit an application to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).
Pre-completion OPT allows F-1 students to gain training - directly related to their program of study - prior to degree completion. Pre-completion OPT is limited to 20 hours per week while school is in session and up to 40 hours per week during breaks and annual vacation. If you are interested in applying for pre-completion OPT, please complete Rush University's I-20 Request for OPT Recommendation to begin the process. Pre-completion OPT is not commonly used by Rush F-1 students, since many students prefer to utilize this OPT time following graduation.
Post-completion OPT refers to any portion of OPT used for training - directly related to the program of study - following degree completion. Post-completion OPT applications must be received by USCIS 90 days prior to and 60 days proceding degree completion. To begin the process of applying for post-completion OPT, please complete Rush University's I-20 Request for OPT Recommendation. While a student is on post-completion OPT, they must work in a qualifying position at least 20 hours per week, or full-time. No more than 90 days of unemployment are allowed on post-completion OPT.
Students approved for post-completion OPT must report employment changes upon the change. Students on post-completion OPT may also directly report address, phone and employment changes through the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Portal. Visit SEVP Portal Help for step-by-step guidance on using the portal.
For more information on OPT, please visit Study in the States.
The STEM OPT Hub on Study in the States is a resource for students and employers of STEM OPT students.
Eligibility: Students who have already been approved for 12 months of post-completion OPT, have earned a degree listed on the STEM Designated Degree Program List, are employed in or have a job offer for a job directly related to their program of study from an employer enrolled in the E-Verify Program, and are within 90 days of their post-completion OPT end date are eligible to apply for a 24-month STEM OPT extension. To begin the application process, please complete the Rush University's I-20 Request for STEM OPT Extension.
Reporting Requirements: Students approved for the STEM OPT extension must check in with their Designated School Official every six months.
- STEM OPT Change of Employer - use this form to report any changes in employment while on STEM OPT
- STEM OPT 6-Month Validation Report - use this form to check in at 6 and 18 months post your OPT STEM extension start date
- STEM OPT Annual Evaluation - this form must be completed one year post OPT STEM start date and again just prior to your end date
- STEM OPT Material Change Report - use this form to report any material changes to your I-983
Students on post-completion OPT may also directly report address, phone and employment changes through the Student Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) Portal. Visit SEVP Portal Help for step-by-step guidance on using the portal.
International Student Services Armour Academic Center, Suite 440 600 S. Paulina Chicago, IL 60612
Hours: Monday - Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Phone: (312) 942-2030