Carnegie Mellon University

Employment Opportunities for F-1 Students

As an F-1 student, you have multiple work authorization options available to you that will enhance your academic experience while at Carnegie Mellon. Each option is unique and offers different benefits to you as a student and different eligibility requirements. Below you can learn more about each option and how to apply.


On-campus work is done for Carnegie Mellon and paid for by the university. This type of employment can include a number of different positions across campus and does not require work authorization for F-1 students.

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student-working-robot.jpgCurricular Practical Training (CPT)

Curricular Practical Training (CPT) is temporary employment authorization for F-1 students who need work experience as a curricular requirement for their major field of study. CPT allows you as a foreign student to work in the U.S. while still pursuing your academic studies full-time.

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student-working-drone.jpgOptional Practical Training (OPT) and STEM OPT Extension

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is work authorization for F-1 students to apply the knowledge gained in your degree program to off-campus work. The work must be directly related to your degree level and major field of study.

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student-on-the-cut.jpgEmployment Based on Severe Economic Hardship

Employment Based on Severe Economic Hardship is work authorization for F-1 students whose financial situation has changed unexpectedly. This U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) program is designed to address situations where a financial need beyond your control arises, which was unforeseen when you applied to Carnegie Mellon and after all other potential employment opportunities have proven insufficient.

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Volunteer opportunities exist separate from employment and are open to Carnegie Mellon students. Volunteers donate their time or services, usually on a part-time basis, for the public good. Usually, volunteer positions focus on religious, civic or humanitarian objectives, for religious, charitable or similar non-profit organizations.

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