Academic Training (AT) is a benefit given to J-1 students and allows them to gain practical experience that relates to the field of study indicated on their DS-2019. AT is approved by the Office of International Services in accordance with guidelines established by the Department of State. OIS will issue a new DS-2019 for Academic Training which outlines the type of authorization (pre or post completion) and the dates of employment.
A general condition of AT is that the student is “primarily in the US to study rather than to engage in Academic Training.” Therefore, your AT should not exceed the amount of time spent studying.
- Pre-Completion AT takes place prior to the DS-2019 end date.
- Post-Completion AT takes place after the DS-2019 end date.
Time Limitations on Academic Training
Undergraduate & Masters: An undergraduate or masters level student can engage in up to 18 months or the period of the full course of study, whichever is less.
Doctorate: A doctoral student can engage in up 36 months of Academic Training.
Note for Pre-Completion AT: Available up to 18 months which will be deducted from the total 36 months. The remaining 18 months will be granted following the completion of the program.
Non-degree student at USC: Non-degree students are eligible to participate in academic training. Non-degree students are limited to a total of 24-months in the US. Non-degree students are restricted to complete all study and any authorized academic training within the 24-month period of eligibility. Time spent in AT cannot exceed time spent in program.
J-1 students not sponsored by USC (For example: IIE, BSMP, etc): The Academic Training request should be submitted directly to your program sponsor, not OIS.
Academic Training Guidelines
- Paid or unpaid employment requires authorization through Academic Training
- Part-time or full-time. Please note that all AT is counted as full time, even if employment is on a part-time basis.
- If employed full-time it must meet the following guidelines: 1. During official university breaks (summer, winter, spring) 2. Student has completed all coursework and reached the thesis/dissertation stage 3. Student has graduated
- Pre-completion or post-completion. AT is used to pursue practical experience in a student’s field of study before and/or after graduation. Pre-Completion AT will be deducted from the 18 or 36 months allotted.
- Academic Training is employer-specific, meaning that students must have a job offer letter to apply. Therefore, self-employment is not permitted.
- All AT requests must be approved by OIS before employment may begin.
- Start date must begin within 30 days of the DS-2019 end date. However, time authorized for Academic Training will begin the day after the DS-2019 end date.
- Must have completed at least one semester on J-1 status with a USC issued DS-2019.
How to Apply for Academic Training
- Complete the J-1 Student Employment Request form, have it signed by your academic advisor.
- Attach a job offer letter on company letterhead which includes:
- Company name and address
- Job title and description (salary, if applicable), hours per week, start date and end date
- Supervisor’s name, phone, and email address
- Offer letter must be signed
- Submit to front desk staff at OIS.
Application Deadline for Post Completion AT:
Fall Semester – December 1st
Spring Semester – May 1st
Selecting a Start Date for Post Completion AT: The employment start date must begin within 30 days of the DS-2019 end date. However, time authorized for Academic Training will begin the day after the DS-2019 end date.
Selecting an End Date for Pre Completion AT: The employment end date for pre-completion AT must be before the end date on your DS-2019. A new application must be submitted for post-completion AT.
OIS Processing Time: 7 business days
Travelling while on Academic Training
Required documents to re-enter the US while on Academic Training:
- DS-2019 endorsed for travel; travel signature cannot be more than 6 months’ old
- Valid J-1 visa
- Valid passport
- Students are encouraged to carry a copy of the job offer letter and latest pay stub while travelling during periods of authorized post-completion Academic Training
If a student’s J-1 visa is expired, they will need to renew it before reentering the United States. Be sure to bring all of the above listed documents in addition to the visa renewal procedures in the Visa Renewal section.