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Internships for international students

Below are requirements for all international students who wish to pursue an internship for academic credit:

  • You must be enrolled as a full-time students in compliance with F-1 or J-1 Visa regulations
  • You must be enrolled full-time for two academic semesters (fall and spring semesters) prior to beginning an internship
  • You may enroll in 297a a maximum of 1 time and 297g a maximum of 2 times, for a total of three internship experiences. The 297a Field Project course yields 2 credits, while the 297g yields one credit. Internships can not be continued after the semester ends even if you maintain an internship with the same company. You must contact Brandeis International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) to obtain a new work authorization from. 
  • Each internship experience must be a minimum of 6 weeks in length and 100 hours.
  • You must discuss internship with your faculty advisor (internship must be related to student’s field of study). The faculty advisor must sign both your add slip for the internship course as well as the Faculty Recommendation Form
  • You must obtain an offer letter from their potential employer. This letter must be signed and dated on company letterhead (not an email) and include the following information:
    • Name of employer and physical address where the employment will occur (must contain street, city, state and zip code; cannot be a PO Box)
    • Dates of employment – must be specifically outlined with beginning AND ending date. The dates must correspond with the academic calendar. If the dates are not stated or extend beyond the last day of exams, then the student will need to get a new offer letter from the employer.
    • Paid/unpaid and the salary (either need CPT) - ISSO employment authorization is needed for both paid and unpaid internships.
    • Amount of hours worked per week – during fall and spring terms, this must be under 20 hours per week.
    • Title of your position and brief description of your duties. Student must be working in their major field of study.
    • Name and address of direct supervisor. 
  • You then need to deliver all documents to Matthew Rocker in Student Services: job offer letter, completed add slip, appropriate ISSO Advisor Recommendation Form and Faculty Recommendation form (must be filled by both you AND faculty member who must also sign the form). Matthew Rocker will then complete your CPT. (Learn more about CPT)
    • Matthew Rocker will not complete your CPT until all four pieces of documentation have been received.
  • When all three documents are received and signed by Matthew Rocker, you will then deliver all documents to ISSO so that they may authorize the CPT.
  • ISSO will review documentation and inform students by email once authorization is granted or if additional information is needed. You may only begin employment when you receive the appropriate form from ISSO indicating authorized dates for the internship. 
  • After receiving the CPT authorization from ISSO (within 2 weeks), you can begin the internship according to the dates provided on the offer letter.
  • PLEASE NOTE: Working before or after the expiration of the employment authorization is a serious violation of student visa status.

Visa Guidelines for International Students

International students who are offered an internship, must comply with F-1 or J-1 Visa regulations. Students cannot conduct “volunteer” internships according to visa regulations and they must be enrolled either in the 297a or the 297g course in order to receive one type (Curricular Practical Training) of immigration authorization. Students will be working with both Brandeis IBS and the ISSO prior to beginning the internship to insure that the proper immigration work authorization is obtained.

F-1 Visa Holders must have been in F-1 visa status for a minimum of two academic semesters before pursuing an internship. Typically, this means that you can pursue an internship in the summer after the first year of course work at Brandeis IBS. Internships must be for academic credit to receive Curricular Practical Training (CPT).

J-1 Visa Holders (exchange students) are eligible to pursue internships after the completion of the semester and should consult ISSO for more details about Academic Training (AT). J-1 Visa Holders sponsored by Fulbright, Laspau, Ford Foundation, etc must consult with the program sponsor prior to enrolling in an internship experience. 

Please note: Not all program sponsors allow for employment authorization needed to pursue an internship. It is advisable for all international students to attend an employment workshop sponsored by ISSO.

Contact the International Students and Scholars Office

Special Rules

In the fall and spring terms, the 297a and 297g Field Project course is covered by regular tuition. 

  • Any internship over 20 hours is considered full-time.
  • Two part-time internships is the maximum a student can take at one time. Each internship must be under 20 hours per week.
  • If the student is pursuing two part-time internships, the student must apply for two employment authorizations from ISSO using the same academic advisor. 
  • The two internships can be covered by enrolling in only one section of 297a or 297g (which is why it is important to have the same academic advisor).
  • Doing concurrent internships in the summer will count as one of a student's three opportunities for 297a or 297g.