International Students

Interested in a JBS program?

Contact the International Students and Scholars Office to schedule an appointment with an ISSO advisor to discuss your options.

International Students

Q. Are you interested in a JBS program?

Q. Can an international student pursue a JBS program that includes an internship?

Q. If a course in a JBS program is related to my major, but the course is not offered under my major's program offerings, can I still pursue that JBS program?

Q. Can I pursue a JBS program, and its off-campus work/internship/volunteer service component, if the experience is not directly related to my declared major?

Q. If the experiential learning component is volunteer service, am I required to obtain employment authorization to pursue that experience?

Q. I want to pursue a JBS program but I am unsure whether or not I need to first obtain employment authorization from the ISSO. Where can I get help?

Are you interested in a JBS program?

International students (undergraduate and graduate) who plan to enroll in a JBS program should call the ISSO (x63480) and schedule an appointment with an ISSO advisor.  Why?  Because some of the activity you do during your JBS program may require employment authorization from United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS).

Can an international student pursue a JBS program that includes an internship?

Yes. International students with  a visa status that allows for off-campus employment authorization can pursue a JBS program with an internship component related to the major field of study. Students have to limit the internship to under 20 hours per week.  Employment authorization is required whether or not the internship/practicum/work experience is paid or non-paid position. There are limitations on the amount of employment authorization time a student can receive from the USCIS under the F-1 Practical Training authorization or the J-1 Academic Training authorization. The limitations can depend on whether or not the internship/experience is part-time or full-time.

Students need to work with the ISSO to request and obtain the necessary employment authorization BEFORE beginning the internship or work experience.  Beginning the internship or work experience before obtaining employment authorization is a serious violation of visa status.

If a course in a JBS program is related to my major, but the course is not offered under my major's program offerings, can I still pursue that JBS program?

Yes, it may be possible. Students interested in pursuing a course offered on a JBS program that is not listed in their declared major, but for which they may be able to receive the credit towards their program as the experience is related to their major, should meet with an ISSO Advisor to see that (a) the experience being pursued in the JBS program is directly related to their declared major, and (b) if the course credit can be received through a related internship course offered in their major. Each student's situation is different, so speaking early with an ISSO Advisor is very important.

Can I pursue a JBS program, and its off-campus work/internship/volunteer service component, if the experience is not directly related to my declared major?

No. Immigration regulations governing student visas specifically state that a student may only pursue an internship or work experience "...in a position that is directly related to his or her major area of study." [8 CFR 214.2(f)(10)].

This is a very important distinction since many students have multiple majors, and minors (and programs, such as the Legal Studies Program), where a student may not be eligible for employment authorization.

If the experiential learning component is volunteer service, will I require employment authorization under my visa status to pursue that experience?

Contact an ISSO Advisor if your JBS program contains any activity viewed as a "volunteer' service.

The term "volunteer" is very broad and is not addressed in immigration regulations. The U.S. government defines employment as providing any service in which you or someone else providing a similar service receives anything in return. "Anything" includes a paycheck, free meals, a subway or bus pass, etc.. 

Special projects for which Brandeis has contractually affiliated agreements/projects for students, faculty, or staff to volunteer their time may not require employment authorization.

I want to pursue a JBS program but I am unsure whether or not I need to first obtain employment authorization from the ISSO. Where can I get help?

International students (undergraduate and graduate) who plan to enroll in a JBS program should call the ISSO (x63480) and schedule an appointment with an ISSO advisor. 

The ISSO also offers weekly Employment Workshops throughout the academic year to discuss options for pursuing internships, work experiences, practicum, and volunteer service. The Employment Workshop schedule is available on the ISSO Web site and is emailed to students via the ISSO ISSOnews electronic newsletter. 


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