Student Employment

As an international student in the United States your primary reason for being here is to obtain an education. However, for many different reasons, international students find that they need to work while they pursue their education. If you find yourself needing employment while in the United States, the Office of International Programs (OIP) is the office that will provide you with the information to keep you in legal status.

On-Campus Employment

The most common form of employment for international students is on-campus employment, this means any employment where you receive a check directly from Valparaiso University. The first step is for the student to find a department that will hire him/her. That can be done a few different ways. The student can go to individual departments to ask if they are looking to hire anyone. Or, the student can check the Financial Aid website for student employment:

Once the student has a department that will hire him/her then the student should come to the OIP. Our office will give the student a letter that MUST be signed by the hiring department.

Once the letter is signed, it must be returned to the Office of International Programs. Our office will then generate a letter that the student will take to the Social Security Administration to obtain a Social Security Number (SSN). After the student has acquired a SSN, they should return to OIP  to find out when they can complete their Human Resources paperwork.

Internships & Cooperative Programs

F-1 students who wish to participate in an off-campus training program that is "an integral part of an established curriculum" must first obtain work authorization for Curriculum Practical Training (CPT). The training must be directly related to the student's major field of study, which is defined as "alternate work/study, internship, cooperative education, or any other type of required internship or practicum which is offered by sponsoring employers through cooperative agreements with the school" (federal regulation 8CFR214,2(f)(10)). This cooperative agreement is formalized through an Internship/Practicum/Co-Op course in which the student enrolls.

To pursue CPT, please set up an appointment with an advisor in the Office of International Programs (OIP). Additional information is also available on OIP’s website.

J-1 students, please see an OIP advisor for more information on off-campus internship authorization (Academic Training).

Work After Graduation

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is designed to provide a student in F-1 status with an opportunity to gain actual employment experience in the student’s field of study, as listed on the I-20. OPT is different from CPT in the following ways:

  • A job offer is not needed before applying for OPT
  • US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), not OIP, authorizes the training
  • It takes 3-4 months to receive authorization
  • Student may work for one or more employers, change jobs, or look for work (up to 90 days) during OPT
  • OPT is limited to 12 months per degree level (exception for some STEM majors); it does NOT mean 12 months after each undergraduate degree or each masters degree, if you do multiple undergraduate degrees or multiple masters degree. (See an international student advisor at OIP for details)

H1 Work Visa

The Office of International Programs does not handle H1 work visas for students. For more information about this and other work visas please visit the Department of State’s website at the following URL:

Additionally, you can visit the following U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) page and go to the link “Working in the US”:


For more information about employment, please click this link.