Optional Practical Training for International Students

Practical Training (OPT/CPT) - for International Students Only

Practical training is very valuable for all students’ educational experience. International students need to get proper permits to get external jobs. These permits allow them to work during the summer (Curricular Practical Training - CPT) and also after they completed your MS degree (Optional Practical Training - OPT). Our graduate program allows optional practicum units (1 unit of CSC694/ 893 repeated maximum 3 times) which allow students to do CPT and not use their limited elective units for it.

It is the responsibility of the student to make sure the employment they receive is legal. Illegal employment involves serious consequences

Important notes:

While CS Department posts some job openings, we are not in the position to help you find the jobs – this is your responsibility.

There is a very clear separation of roles:

  1. CS Chair and student’s mentor (NOT graduate advisors) determine that the student’s work will not impede his/her academic progress. CS department is not in charge or authorized to apply for work permit.
  2. Office of International Programs at SFSU - OIP is the only institution authorized to apply for work permit to US Government. They are not authorized to make judgment whether the student’s work will impede academic progress.

Picture of the San Francisco State University Quad

Curricular Practical Training – CPT(Summer Only)

CPT is used for current students during the summer. To participate in CPT the student MUST follow the following steps once he/she obtains the job offer:

  1. Obtain add permit for: CSC 893 for graduate students, CSC 694 for undergraduate student from CS Chair and get the signature on OIP forms.

    This will be approved more or less automatically (assuming student has no other academic issues like probation). This will be granted only upon the following conditions are satisfied, which will be assessed by the CS Chair:

    • The work is up to full time, max 40 h/week (must be in writing in the offer letter)
    • The work will not impede student’s academic progress (this might require e-mail from mentors of student’s supervised class)
    • The student is in good academic standing
    • Students must follow the instructions for practicum, see Course Requirments 893/694 PDF and enroll in CSC 893 or CSC694
    • Necessary forms are signed
  2. Student applies for work permit to OIP.

To receive a grade in CSC 694/893 student must write a report specified in Course Requirments 893/694 PDF


Optional Practical Training – OPT

Graduate Students

OPT is applied when student is about 95% finished with his/her culminating experience work or later. To participate in OPT the student MUST follow the following steps once he/she obtains the job offer:

  1. Student’s mentor and CS Chair determine if 95% or more of culminating experience work has been completed and sign the necessary OIP forms.
  2. Student visits OIP to get necessary permissions.


Undergraduate Students

They must be very close to graduation, see CS office for details.