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Internships for

International Students 

This page provides information for international students who wish to earn internship credit as part of their academic program or enroll in an internship course after graduation. 



This information is intended for both undergraduate & graduate students.



There are two separate programs for international students who want to intern. These programs and the process for participation are outlined on this page and in the downloadble documents found in the links for each program:





Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is for international students who want to earn internship credits that will be applied toward the completion of their degree requirements.



Optional Practical Training (OPT) is for international students who wish to remain in the U.S. to earn internship credit after graduation.



The procedures and paperwork for both programs are outlined below.






Curricular Practical Training (CPT)


CPT Overview


CPT is a paid or unpaid training opportunity granted by US Immigration. It must be an integral part of the student’s program of study.



To qualify for CPT, the training must be required for a specific course or it must be offered through cooperative agreements with the school. At MTSU, an audio internship is required for the completion of RIM 4010 Recording Industry Internship: Technology or MRAT 6360 Graduate Internship. 



CPT must be taken prior to the completion of the student’s degree.



CPT may be full-time or part-time. If the CPT is full-time (greater than 20 hours per week), it will be considered against the student’s OPT allowance. If the CPT is part-time, it does not impact OPT.



CPT Process


  • Register for the course (4010 or 6360)



  • Obtain a letter from your Internship Coordinator that the internship is an integral part of the course for which you are registered and compliments your degree program, include the course number and the professor’s approval of the internship provider. The MTSU Office of International Affairs has indicated that your signed 4010 or 6360 Internship Appliction will serve this purpose.



  • A letter from the employer or internship provider. It must be on company letterhead, an original, signed by the hiring authority, state beginning and ending dates (which must be within the semester term dates), include a detailed job description, number of hours to work per week, and salary/wage, if applicable. Include a copy of your signed Confirmation Form with this letter.



  • Email International Admissions for an appointment to review all of these documents.



You may not begin work until you have been approved by the International Admissions office, and have received an I-20 noting the CPT approval.







Optional Practical Training (OPT)


OPT Overview


OPT is an opportunity made available by USCIS for international students to gain up to 12 months (27 months in some circumstances) of practical work experience related to their field of study.



Typically, OPT is authorized after completion of the student’s degree, though in some instances, it can be granted pre-completion.



Students granted OPT authorization are still considered F-1 visa holders, and must continue to keep their school updated with changes in address.



OPT Eligibility


Students must have been enrolled in classes for at least one academic year prior to application. 



Work authorization must begin after all degree course work has been completed.



During post-completion OPT, the student must remain employed. If the student is unemployed for more than 90 days, cumulative, the student will be out of status and required to leave the US.



OPT Process


USCIS checklist:





  • Fill out USCIS Form G-1145, if you would like notice by text or email of your approval



  • Form I-94



  • Photocopy of passport– photo page, any renewal pages and amendments



  • Photo copy of visa



  • Photocopies of ALL I-20s issued


  • Obtain Two (2) passport photos. On the back of the photos, print name and SEVIS number with a pencil.



  • Photocopies of any previous employment authorization documents



  • A check or money-order payable to Department of Homeland Security in the amount of $380



  • Email International Admissions to schedule an appointment to review your packet



  • Mail your completed packet to USCIS via Certified and Return Receipt through the US Post Office (this will let you know when they have received your packet)




You may not start working until you have received your actual Employment Authorization Document from Homeland Security. While your OPT application is pending, you are considered in legal status.



Be aware, you will need to apply for OPT 3 to 4 months prior to your completion of studies.



IMPORTANT NOTE: All US Immigration and MTSU paperwork MUST be completed and approved BEFORE an international student can be permitted to intern.