Leap Technologies Opt Dissertation


All student employment on campus at SHSU is coordinated through the Career Services, Jobs4Kats. 

All international undergraduate and graduate students are eligible to work on campus during the academic year.  During the fall/spring semesters, students are limited to 20 hours per week.  However, during the summer semester(s), international students may work 40 hours per week without being registered for class.

Before an international student can be employed, he/she must obtain a social security number. 

There are three steps to this process:


1) Get a letter from the employing department which includes.

  • Title of position
  • Start date
  • Name of supervisor

2) Get a letter from the Office of International Programs addressed to the Social Security Administration, verifying:

  • Dates of employment
  • Classification as F-1 student, with SAM ID and SEVIS numbers

3) Take both letters to the Social Security Administration office.  The nearest office to Huntsville is in Conroe at 600 Sgt Ed Holcomb Blvd., Conroe, TX 77304


International students may not work off campus unless specifically authorized by the Office of International Programs. 

CPT -- Curricular Practical Training

PreconditionsStudent must have beenlawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at an INS (DHS)-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for CPT.  Exception exists for graduate students whose programs require immediate curricular training.  Available only while student is in F-1 status, before completion of the educational objective.  Students in English language training programs are ineligible for CPT.
LocationStudents may engage in CPT only for the specific employer, location and period approved and recorded by the DSO in SEVIS.
DurationDepends on the specific period granted by the DSO.  May be granted by DSO in increments of no more than one year, or until expected date of employment completion, whichever is shorter.  No cumulative maximum, except that it can only be approved before completion of the academic objective.
Hours per weekCan be approved for part-time (20 hours or less) or full-time (over 20 hours).
Field/level of workMust be an integral part of an established curriculum, in the student's course of study.
Offer of employment Must have an offer of employment from an employer offering work that qualifies as curricular practical training.
Effect on other workUse of full-time CPT for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training.  Use of part-time CPT does not affect eligibility for Optional Practical Training.
Approval processMust receive written authorization from DSO, who records authorization in SEVIS and issues SEVIS I-20 with notation, before work begins.  USCIS approval is not required.
MiscellaneousMust continue to maintain a full course of study in F-1 status during the period of employment, but exceptions may exist for some CPT.


OPT -- Optional Practical Training

Watch the OPT Presentation

Checklist for OPT

PreconditionsStudent must have been lawfully enrolled on a full-time basis at a DHS-approved school for one full academic year before being eligible for OPT.  Available both before and after completion of the educational objective, but different rules apply to pre- and post-completion OPT.  Students in English language training programs are not eligible for OPT.  F-1 and F-3 "border commuter students" are eligible only for OPT following completion of the course of study.
LocationStudents may engage in OPT for any employer for the duration of OPT authorization, as long as the employment qualifies under OPT standards.
DurationCumulative maximum of 12 months per educational level.  Part-time OPT is deducted from the 12 month limit at 50%.
Hours per week 20 hours/week limit for pre-completion OPT done while school is in session and student still has coursework to complete.  Over 20 hours/week can be requested for pre-completion OPT done during official school breaks or after student has completed all coursework required for the degree while the student is completing a thesis or dissertation.  For post-completion OPT, only full-time OPT can be requested.
Field/level of workMust be directly related to and commensurate with the level of the student's course of study.
Offer of employmentNo offer of employment is required, but the student is expected to work or be actively seeking employment after the OPT EAD is issued.
Effect on other workPrior use of full-time Curricular Practical Training for one year or more eliminates eligibility for Optional Practical Training.
Approval processMust apply for and receive an EAD from USCIS with assistance of DSO before work begins.  EAD application must be properly filed with USCIS before the student's program completion date.  Student must begin application procedures sufficiently in advance to allow the DSO to update the SEVIS record with the recommendation, and to ensure that I-765 accepted by USCIS prior to the student's program completion date.
MiscellaneousIf doing pre-completion OPT, must maintain a full course of study during the period of employment (unless done during school breaks).  Degree candidates that have completed all coursework must continue to make normal progress towards completing the thesis or dissertation required for their degree.


The Office of International Programs (OIP) is responsible for all international students and scholars once they arrive at Sam Houston State University. We are glad to assist each department here at SHSU in bringing international students, visiting scholars/researchers and international faculty members to our campus.    

International students and scholars that have questions regarding their time here at SHSU can always visit us in OIP, we are located in the Farrington Building, room 116.  You can send us an email at oip@shsu.edu or call us at (936) 294-4737.   

OIP provides information on most immigration issues and concerns for all international students and scholars here at SHSU.  We are glad to help with other issues such as cultural adjustment, language barrier, financial problems, and health related matters during your time at SHSU.  OIP offer several events during the year for all international students and scholars at SHSU. 




Contact Information
Dana Van De Walker
Recruiter and Special Programs Coordinator
 d.vandewalker@shsu.edu  936.294.2746 F116 D
Justin Ball
Interim Director of International Programs
 jball@shsu.edu  936.294.4607 F116 c


International Student Advisor



Students who have completed coursework but are working on dissertation or thesis have a choice of applying for Pre-Completion OPT or Post-Completion OPT.

  1. Carefully review the information on this website and/ or attend an OPT Workshop.
  2. Pay the $100 Practical Training Fee*.
  3. Submit to the International Student Services Office (ISSO):
  4. Within three business days you will be sent an email that the OPT I-20 is ready for pickup. You will give mailing instructions when you pick up the I-20.
  5. Compile the application, make a copy for your personal file and mail the application to USCIS.
  6. USCIS processing time is 2-3 months.

*Due to the additional Practical Training requirements instituted by Homeland Security on April 8, 2008, UT Dallas students are required to pay a $100 Practical Training fee. This fee is separate from the USCIS application fee.

According to the USCIS website, the application mailing address is determined by the address listed on the I-765.

Mail to the Dallas Lockbox if your I-765 address is to one of these states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Hampshire, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Puerto Rico, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, U.S Virgin Islands or West Virginia.

Mail to the Phoenix Lockbox if your I-765 address is to any other U.S. state.

Dallas Lockbox
U.S. Post Office – USCIS
P.O. Box 660867
Dallas, TX 75266Courier deliveries – USCIS
Attn: AOS
2501 S. State Hwy 21 Business
Suite 400
Lewisville, TX 75067
Phoenix Lockbox
U.S Post Office – USCIS
P.O Box 21281
Phoenix, AZ 85036Courier deliveries – USCIS
Attn: AOS
1820 E. Skyharbor Circle S
Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034

Students on post-completion OPT must report changes in employment and all periods of unemployment to the UT Dallas ISSO. Email or mail the UT Dallas OPT Reporting Form to meet this requirement. You will be sent an email when the report is complete, within three business days.

NOTE: Changes of address reported on the OPT Employment Report Form affect only the SEVIS immigration system. To update your address in the student information system, do so through Galaxy (current students) or the Registrar’s Office (alumni).


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